8 Replies Latest reply: Jan 12, 2015 11:21 PM by headsoft
mneonew Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

At the moment I have my 15 inch MBPr equipped with a fresh Windows 8 System Builder License on a boot camp parition. I would like to use the boot camp partition with VMware Fusion, so that VMware boots and uses the boot camp partition while in Mac OSX.


I am terribly scared that this will make my legally purchased Windows 8 license invalid.


I have looked through the Windows support forums and the VMware support forums, but without concrete yay or nays. I therefore ask this community whether anyone has experience with this.


Will Windows 8 System Builder License become invalid when you use an activated Boot Camp Parition as source for VMware Fusion?



  • BobTheFisherman Level 6 Level 6 (12,055 points)

    When you use a Bootcamp installed Windows you are not reinstalling another copy of Windows when you access Windows from within Fusion. Windows thinks it has been installed again on different hardware when you do this but all it takes is a call to the automated Microsoft licensing line. You will be presented the number when you try to activate Windows from within Fusion. You will still only have one installation of Windows accessable natively or from within Fusion so only one license is required.


    Keep in mind that Windows 8 is not supported in a Bootcamp partition.


    Detailed instructions on how to use a Bootcamp installed Windows from Fusion is included on the Fusion site.

  • mneonew Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    When I do this, will Windows be activated on both the VM and on Boot Camp?


    so: Windows is now activated on Boot Camp. I go to VMware and activate it there with a phone call. Then I want to go back to Boot Camp. Will Windows then again need reactivation?


    I ask this since I would like to work in VMware most of the time, but occasionally it will happen that I need all the processing and RAM power my macbook retina has got to give.

  • BobTheFisherman Level 6 Level 6 (12,055 points)

    You will have one installation of Windows that will be activated. Read the detailed instructions on the Fusion site.

  • mneonew Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have tested everything and I can now report back on the experiences I have had.


    To use a Boot Camp Partition in your VMWare Fusion you will need to do the following:


    You WILL need two Windows 8.1 System Builder Licenses OR a Windows 8.1 Dreamspark license, in case your institution/Microsoft allows you to use this license (this is two licenses especially for virtualizing)


    - Install Windows 8.1 on your boot camp as usual with a valid license. Be sure to activate it before proceeding.

    - Boot into VMWare Fusion, say you want to use your Boot Camp Partition.

    - If you have Windows 8.1 System Builder License, enter your second license key and activate. If you have a Dreamspark Windows 8.1 license, you don't need to do anything.


    Note: Remember that Applications that rely on a hardware profile (such as Office 2013, or certain professional apps) WILL need to have two separate licenses to operate correctly in both VMWare Fusion and Boot Camp.

  • BobTheFisherman Level 6 Level 6 (12,055 points)

    Your information is not correct. You only need one license/activation key to use Boot Camped Windows and Office as the virtual machine guest operating system and Office installation. Read the instructions. There is only one install of Windows and Office in this scenario requiring only one license.

  • mneonew Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I read from the VMware site:


    "However, note that the total number of allowed activations depend on the software package and the licensing agreement for the software. If you have previously activated this software on another computer (or in a Boot Camp partition), or if you exceed the number of activations allowed, you may have to contact the manufacturer to request an additional activation or license."


    After following all the instructions on the VMware website, Windows still refuses to reactivate and is only valid and activated when I start it up via Boot Camp.


    System builder licenses can only be activated once per hardware profile. They may be transferred, but are not meant for 'simultanious' usage. From the Microsoft System Builder License terms:


    "Can only be used as the OS on a PC you build for personal use, or as additional operating system running in either a local virtual machine or in a separate partition, subject to additional terms."


    As for transferring licenses for SBL:


    You may transfer the software to another computer that belongs to you. You may also transfer the software (together with the license) to a computer owned by someone else if a) you are the first licensed user of the software and b) the new user agrees to the terms of this agreement. To make that transfer, you must transfer the original media, the certificate of authenticity, the product key and the proof of purchase directly to that other person, without retaining any copies of the software. You may use the backup copy we allow you to make or the media that the software came on to transfer the software. Anytime you transfer the software to a new computer, you must remove the software from the prior computer. You may not transfer the software to share licenses between computers. You may transfer Get Genuine Windows software, Pro Pack or Media Center Pack software only together with the licensed computer.


    I conclude from this that a SBL is not the appropriate license for my kind of setup; VMware booting the Boot Camp partition. A true Full Version of Windows may work (don't have one so I can't tell), while the aforementioned Dreamspark license is confirmed to work. I don't know why they have these weird licensing schemes (SBL vs. Full Version?). Furthermore AFAIK, true Full Versions that are NOT SBL are not for sale in Europe (though there is a clear distinction in the US. It may be different now for Europe, too).


    What kind of Windows license do you have, BobTheFisherman?

  • BobTheFisherman Level 6 Level 6 (12,055 points)

    Did you contact the Microsoft licensing/activation number as described in your post? You only have a single installation of Windows i.e. the installation on your Boot Camp partition. Yes when you try to access this from the virtual machine it thinks it is installed on another computer, but it is not. All you have to do is follow the process described by contacting the number provided for activation. Choose the menu option to indicate you only have one installation, which you do. You will automatically receive another activation key. Use this and you will be all set. There is nothing illegal nor nefarious in this process. The license is for a single installation on a single computer, which is what you have. All you are doing with the VM is accessing this single installation. When you use Windows from Boot Camp or from the VM you are using the single installation of Windows. When you access Office from Boot Camp or the VM you are using the single installation of Office.


    Myself and many other have Windows installed using Boot Camp and then accessing this single installation from a VM.

  • headsoft Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'd just like to post my experience since there seems to be a lot of conflicting arguments about whether or not you can have Windows 8 activated on both Boot Camp (native boot) and VM (sharing Boot Camp).


    I have Windows 8.1 Pro SBL and I had no problems activating both. Recently I upgraded to the Media Centre pack and I did the upgrade inside the VM. When I did a native boot into Windows it was no longer activated. I called Microsoft and they gave me an activation code. I rebooted into the VM and it remained activated.


    From what I understand as long as VMWare Tools is installed before you activate Windows on the native side it will remain activated once you boot back into the VM.