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Vista licensing curbs multiple PCs, virtual machines

updated 04:35 pm EDT, Thu October 12, 2006

Windows Vista Licensing

Though protests are already being made regarding the use of Windows Genuine Advantage as a "kill switch" for systems believed to use pirated copies of Windows Vista, the latest version of Microsoft's Windows Vista licensing agreement is raising the ire of critics for imposing even tighter usage restrictions, writes ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley. As discovered by the journalist, Microsoft's new terms of use (PDF) sharply limit the number of times a Vista license can be transferred between PCs. Unlike Windows XP, whose agreeement (PDF) does not restrict the number of successive installs, Vista may only be transferred once by the original owner to a new system, and can only be transferred to different owner a single time. This is likely to cause problems for both computer upgrades and the exchange of older systems between family members. "If your new PC dies or has a hardware failure," says Kingsley, "then not only is it time for a replacement but also time for a new Vista license too."

Click through for news of potential problems that may also affect the use of virtualization with Vista.

Also causing extra concern is the restriction of certain Vista editions from legally running in virtual machines such as Parallels Desktop. Under the current license, users of Vista Home Basic or Premium "may not use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system," according to the document, while owners of the much costlier Vista Ultimate see no such limit. Though the wording has conflicting interpretations, says Kingsley, the wording may block either of the less expensive versions from legally running within a virtual environment.



By Electronista Staff
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