Linux Host + Windows 7 or 8 Guest (using VirtualBox and OEM Windows software)?

Discussion in 'Virtualization' started by cr4sh, Jun 22, 2014.

  1. cr4sh

    cr4sh MDL Novice

    Aug 10, 2013
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    Hi,

    I hope I'm not cluttering up the forum. I've been reading for a while but I'm still confused. I hope someone can give me some advice.

    First, here is my situation:
    -I have a Dell XPS 13 that came pre-installed with Windows 8. I want to switch to Ubuntu 14.04 but I still need Windows for a few things. I would prefer to use a VM environment instead of dualboot.
    -I have a Dell USB flash drive with the Dell Win 8 OEM software
    -I also have an old version of a Win 7 Dell dvd (from an old laptop)
    -I also have Win 7 and Win 8 non-OEM ISOs

    So here's what I've done:
    -I've extracted the the SLIC 2.1 ".bin" and ".xrm-ms" files using the "oemdump" software
    -I've extracted the MSDM table using "RW Everyting"

    So here is what I would like to do:
    1. My preferred solution would be to install Windows 8/8.1 as a guest using VirtualBox on an Ubuntu host. It seems that I will need to do something with the MSDM table info in order to get this to work.
    2. Alternative solution. I could install Win 7 as the guest if this will be easier than Win 8. It seems like this has something to do with the SLIC files I extracted using oemdump.

    Ok... so that's where I'm at right now. I can't figure out if there is a way to make this work and what steps I need to take next. Thanks for any help you can provide
     
  2. EFA11

    EFA11 Avatar Guru

    Oct 7, 2010
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    #2 EFA11, Jun 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2014
    you could simply install Windows 8.x by untouched ISO (I prefer Enterprise) as guest and use Microsoft Toolkit to activate and save the trouble messing with slic/msdm etc etc etc.

    Install in VM -> activate -> Enjoy
     
  3. kelorgo

    kelorgo MDL Addicted

    Oct 29, 2012
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    First of all, let's cover the legal side (it's always good to know whether and how you're breaking it):

    The EULA for OEM versions of Windows prohibit transferring it from the PC it came installed on, to another PC. In a few countries (e.g. Germany) this clause has been invalidated by the courts, but generally it holds up in most places. According to Microsoft's interpretation, transferring from physical hardware into a VM constitutes transfer from one PC to another, even if the VM runs on the same PC that the software originally came on. Therefore technically speaking, it is not legal for you to transfer an OEM copy of Windows into a VM.

    Therefore, it is the case that no matter what you do, generally you won't be able to legally activate an existing OEM copy inside the VM. You might as well therefore look for the most convenient solution.

    You will have indeed run across a number of techniques discussed on these forums to get Windows to activate (whether OEM or Retail, in a VM or outside). Bear in mind that a lot of these techniques are discussed out of curiosity, for the challenge and as academic exercise, and don't necessarily represent the most convenient solution. Also some people (almost religiously) prefer specific techniques because they feel it somehow gives a "cleaner" solution.

    Let's look at a (very brief) summary of the techniques available to you.

    * Windows 8/8.1: Only KMS-based techniques are viable. There is no known method using an MSDM table that always guarantees successful activation, and for various reasons it's best to avoid experimenting with it (unless you really know what you are doing). A number of tools on this forum provide quick and painless KMS-based activation, such as the Microsoft Toolkit that EFA11 linked for you.

    * Windows 7: Two categories of solutions: SLIC-based OEM activation and KMS-based activation. For historical reasons (SLIC-based methods were developed before KMS-based), people generally still use SLIC-based solution. Getting SLIC-based solution working in a VM is straightforward, but you need to know a bit about what you are doing. Successful SLIC-based activation in VM consists of:
    1) Adding the SLIC table to the VM BIOS. Depending on virtualisation software used, this can be as simple as adding a single line to the VM's config file pointing to a dump of the SLIC table (as is the case with VirtualBox).
    2) Installing an appropriate OEM version of Windows in the VM.

    If after reading this you prefer Windows 7 and SLIC, ask and people will point you in the right direction.
     
  4. cr4sh

    cr4sh MDL Novice

    Aug 10, 2013
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    You guys are awesome. Thank you so much for the advice. After some additional searching I found what looks like a non-OEM (retail) Win 7 key that I haven't used in about 4 years. Now I need to decide if I want to use Win 7 or Win 8. I'm going to be running this on a laptop with 8gb RAM and would prefer to keep 3/4 of it for the host OS (and only give 2gb to the windows guest). I think I might go ahead and try the win 8 route (as outlined above) and see how it goes. It's supposed to work better with lower spec'd systems. Are there any big disadvantages to Microsoft Toolkit? Updates perhaps?
     
  5. EFA11

    EFA11 Avatar Guru

    Oct 7, 2010
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    the tool kit needs to run once every 6 months to reactivate, that is how MS has designed Volume activation (180 days). If you allow the toolkit to set its schedule it will do it on its own after a reboot or every 24 hours (I think 24 hours?). I am hard pressed to think of any disadvantages to volume activation.

    Windows Updates are no issue, run them as auto update if you like, and set it and forget it. The only thing you do have to do is set the autokms.exe in c:\windows\autokms\ as an exclusion in your antivirus software (they call it keygen and 200 different names). It is however a completely harmless piece of software (to everyone except MS). No system files are edited or harmed in the system with volume activation from the toolkit since it is only emulating what MS has designed volume activation to look for when activating, an activation server.

    Updates to the toolkit are as needed and only get it here from its author to prevent getting a tampered toolkit. The author is always checking the toolkit thread and helping with support for it.
     
  6. kelorgo

    kelorgo MDL Addicted

    Oct 29, 2012
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    2Gb of RAM is sufficient for Windows 8/8.1 in a VM, even if it's 64-bit version. Your bottleneck will likely be your hard drive speed, as laptop hard drives are not very fast. However, once Windows is installed/configured/updated etc. things will run smoothly.

    Small clarifications to add to EFA11, just in case:

    Volume activation means KMS-based solution.

    The Microsoft Toolkit itself generally doesn't need updating. If it worked, it will keep working, unless you install a completely new version of Windows (e.g. Windows 9 instead of Windows 8.1).

    To achieve the once-every-180-days reactivation, you can either rerun the Toolkit every 180 days, or enable the AutoKMS option.
     
  7. cr4sh

    cr4sh MDL Novice

    Aug 10, 2013
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    #7 cr4sh, Jun 24, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
    (OP)
    Awesome. The hard drive speed won't be an issue as I'll be using a brand new Samsung SSD that is arriving in the mail in a few days. The SSD swap gives me the opportunity to switch back to Ubuntu (which I switched away from when I bought this laptop with Win8 pre-installed). I just need the VM so I can run a few programs in Windows that I need for my current job. I know that I could also set up a dual boot, but I'd really prefer not to install Windows directly on the new drive. If I thought Win 7 could preform as well as Win 8 in a VBox virtual environment, I'd use it instead since I do not use any of the Metro/Modern features of Win 8. In fact I was able set up Classic Shell to, for the most part, reproduce the Win 7 experience. It does seem like Win 8 is faster though, so that's my main reason for wanting to use it.

    Thanks again. I'll make sure to come back and report if I encounter any problems with this set up.