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Windows Vista Enterprise: Licensing FAQ for Virtualization


Q. What does licensing rights to 4 virtual operating systems mean and why is this valuable for customers?
A. Customers who deploy Windows Vista Enterprise receive a new benefit: the ability to install up to four copies of the operating system in a virtual machine for a single user on a single device. This new benefit, coupled with the free availability of Virtual PC provides Enterprise customers with the most economical means to address application compatibility and other scenarios using virtualization. Customers who do not deploy Vista Enterprise and wish to use the operating system in a virtual machine are required to purchase a license of Windows Vista for every copy installed in a virtual machine. Customers who deploy Vista Enterprise receive 4 installs in a virtual machine in addition to the installation on the device as part of only one license.

Virtual PC 2004 is available for download by all customers and the additional operating system right will become available in conjunction with the volume licensing availability of Windows Vista (11/06).

Q. What are the business scenarios of four additional operating systems per user?
A. Business scenarios include:

  • Application compatibility remains a valuable scenario for companies with vital legacy applications during migration to Windows Vista
  • Development and testing – Running several operating systems in virtual machines improves efficiency and cost for testing and developing applications that run on various operating systems
  • Training scenarios – Companies can preset various training scenarios on a variety of operating systems
  • Help Desk scenarios- Help desks will now require only 1 physical machine to solve multiple OS and application issues

Enterprise customers can exercise their downgrade rights to run several different operating systems within virtual machines with Windows Vista Enterprise as the host. The addition of four virtual operating systems is designed to cover a majority of customer scenarios.


Q. What are the requirements for using the licensing rights to 4 virtual operating systems benefit?
A. Requirements are as follows:

  • Customers may run any prior version of Vista Business (XP Pro, 2KPro, or Win98) or even WinFLP on the same PC at the same time
  • The licensed device may only be used by 1 user at a time; the guest virtual machines may not be accessed remotely by another user.
  • You may not play or access content or use applications protected by any Microsoft digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other Microsoft rights management services or use BitLocker in a virtualized environment.
  • Additionally, Microsoft advises against playing or accessing content or using applications protected by other digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other rights management services or using full volume disk drive encryption in a virtualized environment.
  • You may use Vista Business, Vista Enterprise, Vista Ultimate or any prior version in any of the 4 virtualized environments
  • Only Vista Enterprise, Ultimate, or third-party product may be used to run the hardware virtualization software and to service the virtual hardware systems

Source:? technet

Microsoft, Windows Vista, Vista Enterprise, Licensing, Licensing FAQ for Virtualization

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