Microsoft Allows All Vista SKUs to Be Virtualized

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2008-01-21 Print this article Print

Broader industry adoption and security issues fueled the new policy, according to company officials.

Microsoft has done an about-face on its previous about-face and has now decided that it will allow all versions of Windows Vista to be licensed for use in a virtual machine environment.


The software maker will announce this change of heart at its Virtualization Deployment Summit in Bellevue , Wash. , on Jan.22.


Virtualization lets a single machine run multiple operating systems, creating greater flexibility and efficiency for customers.


The revised Vista end-user licensing agreement now states that "instead of using the software directly on the licensed device, you may install and use the software within only one virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system on the licensed device."


"When used in a virtualized environment, content protected by digital rights management technology, BitLocker or any full volume disk drive encryption technology may not be as secure as protected content not in a virtualized environment. You should comply with all domestic and international laws that apply to such protected content," it says.


This is a reversal from June 2007, when the company announced it was standing firm on its more restrictive virtualization policy.

Microsoft is buying desktop virtualization company Calista. Read more here.  

Shanen Boettcher, Microsoft's general manager for Windows product management, told eWEEK that the about-turn is a response to ongoing feedback from customers.


Larry Orecklin, Microsoft's general manager for server infrastructure, added that customers have shown increased interest and usage of virtualization over the past six months, and that Microsoft can provide guidance to ensure customers have a secure infrastructure. "We think the market is now ready for this," he said.


Microsoft will also now offer support for Office as a virtualized application and let customers run multiple versions of Office side-by-side on the same device by offering support for Office 2003 and Office 2007 when running in Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 and SoftGrid Application Virtualization 4.2.


Up until now this was supported by the SoftGrid team, but not the Office team itself. "The support customers will now receive will be the same whether Office is physically or virtually installed, and we expect the industry to follow us on this front," said Orecklin.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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