I am working on a team developing a client-side application. We work in a Linux environment, but the server we work with can only be run from a Windows environment. As such, each developer is being set up with a virtual machine, running on Oracle VM Virtual Box.

Would it violate the terms of use or licensing for the developers to use the virtual hard drive from Windows XP Mode with Oracle VM Virtual Box?

  • 2
    As always with such questions, you best ask a lawyer.
    – user7043
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 17:27
  • 1
    I'm going to say yes, obviously, that is not it's intended purpose. That said, if it's for development and not production, it probably doesn't matter.
    – Fosco
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 17:40
  • 1
    Does that even work? I think you're better off installing xp directly into a vb vm. Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 18:01
  • 2
    I fully agree with @GrandmasterB. Just install XP directly on a VM. If you are worried about licensing costs, just buy one of the lower-tier MSDN subscriptions. You'll get essentially unlimited XP licenses. Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 18:20
  • I'd just like to point it out that MS licenses don't always reflect the law, instead sometimes they take liberties that don't apply and cannot be enforced in your jurisdiction, and they know. Still, they leave that vague sense of FUD their salespeople liked so much.
    – ZJR
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 20:54

3 Answers 3


IANAL If you need legal advice, by all means seek it, this is not legal advice.

If you install a copy of XP licence into a VirtualBox on a machine that it would otherwise be legal to install that licence on, and the licence is not in use on another machine, and you are not using the virtual hard drive on more than one machine, I think you're ok.

For example you probably shouldn't use XP Home or XP Embedded Editions in a VirtualBox, but your copy of XP Professional on the shelf should be fine.

My reasoning is that it is legal to use software like Parallels to run Windows OSes on Mac hardware, I don't see a big difference here.

Again, this is strictly opinion.


Always consult a lawyer.

That said:

Best case: Purchase a Windows XP Volume License and install it on as many machines as you need.

Worst case: Purchase an Individual License for EACH computer.


You should buy a Windows XP OEM disk and set up your VM with that. Use a different legal key for each developer's VM.

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