Installing Vista in VirtualBox

I installed VirtualBox, and I want to install Vista on it. I just have the copy of vista that came with my computer. I made the back up disks for it, and tried to use them to install it in the virtual box, but it said it was unable to install in that machine.

After that I looked in my windows partition and found the product ID for the vista copy. My question is: Can I download a copy of Vista and then use the product ID of my copy to make the installation in the VirtualBox? Are there any technical or legal reasons not to do this?

On Thu, 21 Jan 2010 21:46:02 +0000, Krulo wrote:

> Are there any technical or legal reasons not to do this?

Technically I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, but for legal advice, you’d
have to consult a lawyer. :slight_smile:


Jim Henderson
openSUSE Forums Moderator

I recently installed Vista 64-bit inside VirtualBox just to test it out, and it seems to work just fine so far (even in Seamless Mode), only without the Aero effects.

I’ll bet you a cookie that the back-up disks that you created were specific to the original machine. They check for the exact same hardware. So, when you try to install in a VM, the virtualized hardware “looks” different and the installer assumes you’re trying to install a pirate copy on some other machine.

Sigh. I love proprietary software. :sarcastic:

After that I looked in my windows partition and found the product ID for the vista copy. My question is: Can I download a copy of Vista and then use the product ID of my copy to make the installation in the VirtualBox? Are there any technical or legal reasons not to do this?

Like Master Henderson says, I’m not a lawyer, but personally, I’d be surprised if it was legal. And besides, it probably won’t work, anyway. Windows has all sorts of cute and annoying ways of tying the ID code to a specific release.

I hate to tell you this, but if you want Software Freedom with the ability to run some Windows software, you’ll probably have to bite the bullet and purchase a copy of Vista or Windows 7 to install into VirtualBox. That’s wrong, and you shouldn’t have to do that, but it’s the easiest way.

The obvious alternative would be to install a second hard drive, install OpenSUSE on that, and then go into your BIOS and make that second hard drive the primary boot disk. That will also cost money, and you have the inconvenience of dual-booting, but at least you won’t be paying another Micro$oft tax to Redmon. :slight_smile:

You could phone Microsoft and explain the situation. Provided you run Vista on the same machine, in a VM, without simultaneously running it in dual=boot mode (ie running the same copy of Vista twice) they should enable you to reactivate your copy with a new product key.

From what I’ve heard – and this is just hearsay – Microsoft won’t be that helpful. The reason why they encourage manufacturers to make hardware-specific “recovery” packages, instead of plain-jane install DVDs, is (once again) to discourage privacy. Simply put, I can’t take the DVD that came with my HP and install it on, say, a Dell or an Asus. It’s HP-specific, and further, HP Support will have set it up so that it rebuilds the machine to factory-original specs.

(Or, to put it in plainer terms: how are you going to PROVE to them, over the phone, that you’re not actually making a second copy?)

As for the OP’s idea of “downloading” XP and trying it that way, first, I’m a little puzzled. I wasn’t aware that there was any way to legally “download” Windows XP. (The operative term is, “legally.”) If you call Microsoft and say, “I’ve got this XP kit that I downloaded from, but honestly, I have a valid XP license, can you help me make it work?” do you really think they’ll do that? :slight_smile:

Now we’re left with using another XP install DVD (maybe borrowed from a friend, for example). The activation and key code(s) are embedded in the DVD and are unique to each one. You can download license recovery programs that will recover the keycode, for example, but they require that you insert the DVD and let it churn for a few minutes. The code is imbedded and is unique to that DVD. So … the license code that the OP has for his/her current XP installation won’t work with the other DVD.

This is why I made my sarcastic ( :sarcastic: ) comment about proprietary software. This is what they don’t think about. In their fervor to prevent piracy, all they really accomplish is to make it extremely difficult on those of us who just want a known-good backup, should we have reinstall after a hard drive or motherboard change.

To the OP: you can also Google the possibility of using your existing Windows XP install in a new VirtualBox. It’s a pain in the neck, and you have to hack the registry to get it working, but you might consider that if you just don’t have the $$$ to drop on a new XP install DVD.

or go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect forty billion dollars … lol!

Thanks for your help and comments.

I though I could just download a trial copy of vista from the microsoft site and then activate it with my code, but looking at the microsoft site there doesn’t seem to be an easy way of doing that. All the other solutions look too complicated to me, so I think I will just keep my dual-boot setup.

That’s just nonsense. Assuming Vista came preinstalled with the computer, and has been activated the usual way, and is therefore absolutely legal, MS are not going to nail you for wanting to reinstall it on the same machine in a VM. It all depends on the licensing terms for the Vista version he has: if it’s one of those OEM “recovery disks” it might not be possible and MS might not play along. But certainly, in the case of a full install version, people reinstall all the time, even on fairly different hardware, and MS revalidate their copy by phone.

It does sound as if the OP only has an OEM recovery partition, and in that case MS may well decline. But there’s no harm, and certainly no risk of going to jail, in trying.

I dislike these arrangements, and Microsoft in particular, as much as anyone else, but there’s no point in becoming hysterical.

I know this thread is long ‘dead’, but in the event someone is seeking this information… I just wanted to toss out there that I have a HP laptop that had the recovery partition. This partition became corrupted, as did the main install. I called MS and they mailed me an agnostic reinstall disc with no problem. As the previous poster stated, there is no harm in asking. And even if one is not the biggest fan of MS, they can be helpful.