Windows 10 virtualized licensing RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have a question regarding windows 10 retail licensing. We have a software package that requires us to run its master copy on a windows 10 machine, instead of server 2016. For uptime reasons we want it to run as a single virtual machine on our virtualized vSphere environment with vMotion enabled. The only time there will be anybody logged on to this machine is to apply updates or troubleshoot. Do we need a retail license for every physical host it might run on (because of vMotion), or is it suffice to buy one license, since it is a single VM with only a single simultanious user working on it? To me, the EULA article 2 leaves me with a bit ambiguity, and I want to make sure we do not run in licensing problems.
    Tuesday, June 26, 2018 7:32 AM

All replies

  • You can't just buy a single retail license for Windows 10 when you virtualize like that. You need software assurance also, at a minimum, since you're running it on that server instead of a local system.

    Please see this post written by an MS employee:

    Also, it's recommended you contact a authorized reseller as "they told me in the forums" doesn't really hold up.

    Tuesday, June 26, 2018 4:49 PM
  • Hi,

    The EULA says clearly 

    "Use in a virtualized environment. This license allows you to install only one instance of the software for use on one device, whether that device is physical or virtual. If you want to use the software on more than one virtual device, you must obtain a separate license for each instance."

    You need to purchase retailed licensing since you have several physical hosts.

    It are running a server, the common assessment that Windows Datacentre license is the most practical method to license your VMs within an ESX cluster is the correct one if you want the VMs to freely move in between physical ESX hosts via VMotion as a part of DRS initiated VMotion or otherwise

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    Wednesday, June 27, 2018 2:21 AM
  • The link you provided is for running a VM locally, with ESXi, you're not doing that, you need to have VDI licensing as well.

    From my link, see:  "Windows 10 can be purchased via Retail (FPP) to run in a VM locally on the device. Windows 10 FPP licenses can be used in type 2 hypervisor scenarios (i.e. client Hyper-V, Boot Camp, Parallels, etc.) on the device. Only the primary user may remotely access Windows running locally on the device, and FPP licensing does not provide the license rights to access Windows remotely from a server."

    Also, Windows Datacenter licensing does not cover client OSes, only server OSes, so that will be no help for running Windows 10 VMs. See:

    "As Windows Server Datacenter permits an unlimited number of instances of the server software to run in virtual OSEs,..."

    To the OP, as you can see there is so much incorrect information posted, it's always best to go through a licensed MS reseller to get your licensing. 

    Wednesday, June 27, 2018 2:59 PM
  • Hi,

    Did you get conclusive answer to this? I am in a similar position.


    Wednesday, July 4, 2018 3:51 PM
  • I think it may be a retail license per host but tbh I’m completely lost also. I have a similar scenario with a software application License Manager and a two host cluster.
    Saturday, November 9, 2019 11:44 AM
  • If you're not accessing it locally, you need more than a retail license for Windows 10.

    This gives you everything you need:

    Here's the MS link for using remote virtual machines: 

    Monday, November 11, 2019 6:35 PM