Reusing Windows 10 licences

Discussion in 'Windows 10 Upgrade and Installation' started by sarthur, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. sarthur

    sarthur New Member

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    Hi,

    I need to be able to create and distribute secure Windows 10 VMWare virtual machines. I will be encrypting and restricting the VM's using Workstation Pro.

    I will be providing them to contractors at my company and once they complete their work I need to be able to re-use the activation key and trash the VM they were using.

    I am concerned that once the contractor finishes their work, I won't be able to remotely access their VM and manually uninstall the activation key.

    Will I be able to simply re-use the key by doing online/phone activation or does anyone have another solution that could work for my scenario?

    Thanks in advance,
    Sean
     
  2. ussnorway

    ussnorway Windows Forum Team
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    You would need to own the hardware (laptop/desktop) that the contractor has this vmware image installed on to make this senario legal in most countries

    The type of licence you use will answeer this question... a normal single licence or oem = no but Microsoft can walk you over that if you call them up.
     
  3. sarthur

    sarthur New Member

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    Sorry you've lost me there. I'm most likely paying for a Windows 10 retail licences, surely where it is installed would not cause legal issues as long as only one key is used at one time? I see you're from Outback NSW, I'm in Sydney. Does Australia have these copyright issues?

    Ok thanks. Do you think volume licencing would solve this problem? We are a SMB and I don't know if we will be able to obtain VL keys
     
  4. ussnorway

    ussnorway Windows Forum Team
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    Ok lets' say you hire me to do a "job" and I install this vmware image for that job… for the sake of simplisics we'll assume you're happy with my work, have payed me for it and we part as mates;
    1. How are you going to remove that image? Sure I've wiped it from my laptop but I also make a backup just in case my lappy got busted/ stollen and two months from now I install that key.
    2. You MAY be entitled to remote into my machine during the time I'm working for you but it's my system and I could have other clients documents or risk'K images of an old girlfriend so whom gets sued when those images end up on Facebook?
    3. Is the reason you need an image in the first place because some of that content is private? What's to stop me taking my laptop to the pub and selling it for cash/ drugs… what if I install some crap 3rd party program/ game that buggers the network settings or changes the company data, are you going to pay to fix my laptop and if I get my shop to do it does he/ she keep back ups of your data that was on it?
    Don't see any reason why not... then again, a reconditioned Asus laptop from Asus Australia sells for about $300 with the Windows installed... I get them posted but you could prob just goto a shop and grab 5 of them in the lunch break. Hell centerlink would give you 5 just because you have a work 4 t'dole kid in the mix... they'll be crap old HP or Lenovo toss outs but do you need any thing decent?
     
  5. sarthur

    sarthur New Member

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    It will be a VMWare restricted VM with an expiry date set. The expiry is synced to a time server so cannot be avoided.

    We will remote directly into the VM and hence will not have access to the contractors host machine with their personal data

    The VM will be locked down with the applications they need for their job, they won't have permissions to install anything.

    There is nothing to stop someone from sharing company information unless you sit over their should during all the work they do and then press the delete key yourself. At the end of the day there is a slight level of trust that needs to be placed.

    Besides, we will have a software agent installed that will "phones home" with metadata that will help us track if any company data is leaked.
    At the end of the day, if someone is techy enough they are going to be able to get around most restrictions. The point is to have an auditable environment for use on BYO devices and also to supply Mac and Linux users with reusable Office/Windows licences.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  6. BIGBEARJEDI

    BIGBEARJEDI Honorable Member
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    Hi,
    I think Norway has addressed most of your issues. What you may need to be concerned with, even with purchasing of volume licensing from Microsoft, is the hardware issue is not under your direct control, but rather in the control of various "contractors" who many of which you admittedly tell us won't even by on the PC platform (Mac & Linux machines). Microsoft has different licensing issues which need to be looked at when running on non-PC (X86/AMD/VIA) hardware; and even yet more different licensing issues when running VMware or another VM vendor such as Silas with W10 keys. Open licensing and Enterprise licensing is considerably different outside of the US; I worked in companies where we shipped similar configurations (Win2k+VMware) on both Unix & Linux platforms to Europe and Asia. Not sure what "SMB" means, but if it's like a Microsoft Platinum or Gold Partner or a Developer, you'll need to contact Microsoft directly to avoid patent and licensing infringements in your country as Norway mentioned.

    You're biggest issue should be that your licensing of W10 keys is "authorized" and "approved" directly by Microsoft Legal Department for use in your country (Australia right?). The best and only way to do this is to contact your local Microsoft Office in your Country (I know you have one down there, as I've talked to them before), and get in touch with your Microsoft Rep in that Office. If you're VMware-W10 deployment is going to involve more than 250 licenses (250 computers with VMware+W10 licensed key installs); you had better be talking to that that Rep prior to shipping or installing any W10 anything. If you are under that number of planned installs, you still need to talk to an MS Rep and you may need to get one assigned to you. This is a process that many folks aren't willing to do, as they don't want an actual MS employee in their "home shop". I've done this for many, many companies over the years, and there is just no way around it, unless you wish to invite litigation on your W10 licensing violations from both the SPA and from Microsoft's legal army (some say they have more lawyers than most countries entire actual army). I myself am not an attoryney, but I've dealt with MS licensing issues going back to 1987 and have never run afoul of MS by doing this. If your scheme is to bypass MS by reusing keys on non-employee hardware, then by all means do so and don't take my advice. That's up to you.

    Talk to a MS rep if you have one already, or get one especially if your licensing target is above 250 units, and MS will take care of all the legal mumbo jumbo for your country location, and give you big discount pricing (often better than a Microsoft distributor) for your licenses. As a past member of SPA, I would be remiss not to give you this advice and warning. Be aware also that Microsoft annually changes their infringement suits based on licensing quantities being resold; that 250 unit number was old-from 2001-and they frequently change it. Again your local MS rep can give you current unit quantity levels. Even if you ship less than the 250 units I mention hypothetically, you still stand to gain by dealing directly with MS on the volume licensing of the needed W10 licenses. Things like being able to setup a customer-specific download portal for your licenses through Digital River or similar, that Microsoft can monitor your in use unit count with, or providing you with a custom VMware+W10 keyed license image are things they can do. I also heard recently that MS acquired the VMware folks, and so it would be easy to provide packaged downloads with both already setup for you-for a custom fee. This could also be done through a VAR (Value Added Reseller). We did some similar stuff with our customer VM-based images as I said; and shipped on 3 continents. The discounts can be BIG; we used to buy Win2k+VMware license combos for like $42 per seat through MS; that's almost $100 cheaper per seat than buying retail license keys for $100 a pop plus whatever the per seat VMware license fee is you are currently paying.

    Hope that provides some additonal insight. I don't think MS will like your sub-licensing VM scheme however, due to the no-control issue on the hardware ownership, but that's just my opinion. If you fly under their Radar, you may get away with it; as they are quite busy with much larger infringment lawsuits from the big corporations worldwide; they may not come after you--at least not right away.

    <<<BIGBEARJEDI>>>
     
  7. sarthur

    sarthur New Member

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    Hi Bigbearjedi,

    Thanks for all the information, it is really valuable.

    By "SMB" I meant small-to-medium business.

    At this stage I have deployed 1 virtual machine successfully to a contractor and have had no activation issues. I can't see us having any more than 10 licenced virtual machines floating around at once so I don't think we would be on MS' radar but I think I will contact them to find out their opinion anyway.

    Thanks again, and I'll let you know if I face any issues.
     
  8. BIGBEARJEDI

    BIGBEARJEDI Honorable Member
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    You're welcome; glad to help. Your current quantity would most likely put you under the MS radar for now.:D

    Looking forward to hearing how it works out for you.

    Cheers, Mate!
    <<<BBJ>>>
     

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