Windows 2012 Datacenter Edition Hyper-V Licensing


  • Hello,

    I would like to clarify the "Unlimited VMs" licensing for Windows 2012 Datacenter Edition Hyper-V.  Does this mean you can host an unlimited amount of Windows VMs without having to purchase Windows Server product licenses? Doug

    • Edited by Doug Joherl Wednesday, January 02, 2013 4:52 PM
    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 4:49 PM


All replies

  • Hello 

    take a look

    should help you understand all..


    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 5:04 PM
  • Correct.  To clarify:

    • There is no limit on the number of VMs that you can create in Windows licensing (the support limit still applies). But the SKU you buy changes how many copies of Windows Server you can install for free on that host. This number is unlimited when the host is licensed for the Datacenter edition.
    • The virtualization rights are non-transferable.  You may not license HostA and "loan" "some" guest licenses to HostB

    There is no license mobility for OEM. There is license mobility if:

    • You buy OEM and attach Software Assurance
    • You buy volume licensing

    To license for Live Migration, vMotion, or high availability (HA) you license the hosts for the maximum number of VMs that -can- run on a host, even for one second.

    See for more.


    • Edited by Aidan FinnMVP Wednesday, January 02, 2013 5:09 PM
    • Proposed as answer by Cincy13 Friday, April 17, 2015 6:42 AM
    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 5:08 PM

  • you see i didnt suggest him another post.. :)


    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 5:13 PM
  • Thanks for the info.  How do I obtain a product key for my VMs on Windows 2012 Hyper-V?  I would like to add a Windows 2012 Standard server VM to the host.  Doug

    • Edited by Doug Joherl Wednesday, January 02, 2013 6:23 PM
    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 6:23 PM
  • Hello

    Please can you be clear..

    do you already have a windows 2012 server license ? if yes what ?

    if you have a windows 2012 server standard license, used as hyper v host then you can run two vm instances free on it.

    P.s. you can buy at your local microsoft partner for example or on the internet.
    • Edited by Ales75 Wednesday, January 02, 2013 6:34 PM
    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 6:29 PM
  • I have a licensed Windows 2012 Datacenter host with a Windows 2012 Standard VM on it.  I don't have a license key for Windows 2012 Standard, though.  How would I obtain a product key license for my Windows 2012 Standard VM?  Doug
    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 7:13 PM
  • Hello

    ok.. well you can use your datacenter product key or use the kms generic i suppose

    take a look here

    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 7:43 PM
  • Hello

    for your convenience and future use 

    follow this..


    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 8:02 PM
  • Generally, you'd contact the vendor that sold you the Datacenter license for other editions of Server keys.
    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 10:31 PM
  • for your convenience and future use 

    follow this..

    Well, that post just tells you how to build a VM.  Nothing more.  It implies there is a second post that will tell you how to clone it.  But, unless it uses sysprep or differencing disks, the end result will not be a supported installation.  If it uses sysprep, it will require activation.  If it uses differencing disks, that is fine for labs, but not recommended for production.

    It will be interesting to see if he has a second post.


    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 10:51 PM
  • Hello

    yes i would use as i did, sysprep then whenever you need new vm just enter the PK, at least for small enviorement its enough.

    so we can continue the post...

    After you created your ready for clone virtual machine, go into :  C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep

    Click sysprep.exe, on the following gui choose : 

    1) Enter system out of box (OOBE)

    2) generalize 

    3) shutdown

    let sysprep work, then the vm will shutdown.

    At that point copy the virtual machine vhd wherever you have a repository and use it as many times you need.


    keep always that copy in  the repository and in vhd properties mark it as read only. better..


    • Edited by Ales75 Wednesday, January 02, 2013 11:33 PM adjust
    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 11:17 PM
  • If you have further needs in customizing or personalizing images.. i would start reading trough here.


    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 11:34 PM
  • Hi Doug,

    If the product key you have is a KMS key, you can setup KMS host to activate the guest Windows Server 2012 Standard.

    However, for licensing related questions, we highly recommend to contact you vendor or Microsoft Volume Licensing specialist for help.

    Hope this helps.

    Jeremy Wu
    TechNet Community Support

    Thursday, January 03, 2013 3:54 PM
  • Hi guys, if you have a Windows Server 2012 Datacenter host and your running Hyper-V you can have unlimited number of datacenter virtual machines activated with the hosts key.  It's super simple.

    no sys prepping required.

    I use this method during my testing and you only need to activate the very first virtual machine, after that the clones activation remains intact.

    I'm sorry about the dead link above, the updated link is below and it's only one part now.

    Thursday, March 21, 2013 5:13 AM
  • I have installed an DataCenter Edition Server 2012 R2 as well, using my Dreamspark Key and the Host is fully activated. Now I want to run several Server 2012 R2 VMs on (for example Direct Access, VPN, IIS) but I dont know how to activate them.

    When I try to activate using my normal Standard 2012 R2 Key (which was activated before) I get an error that something is wrong with my key. 

    Für now the VM runs fine but shows a "not activated"...

    How to proceed? Thankx

    Wednesday, January 01, 2014 4:13 PM