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Virtual Windows Vista users will have to pay for the high-end OS

With the release of Windows Vista on Tuesday, the final end-user licensing agreement (EULA) is reaching the eyes of the masses – for those who actually care to read through it instead of blindly clicking “next.”

One particular clause found in specific versions of Windows Vista is catching the attention of many Mac users, particularly those using Parallels Desktop software, which allows Mac users to run the new Windows OS on their systems. The Parallels Virtualization blog found that only the higher-end versions of Vista permit the use of virtualization software.

The EULA for Vista Home Basic and Home Premium Editions is quite clear in its stance on virtualization:

“USE WITH VIRTUALIZATION TECHNOLOGIES. You may not use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system.”

On the other hand, the EULA for Vista Business and Ultimate Editions allows virtualization, but with some boundaries:

“USE WITH VIRTUALIZATION TECHNOLOGIES. You may use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system on the licensed device. If you do so, you may not play or access content or use applications protected by any Microsoft digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other Microsoft rights management services or use BitLocker. We advise against playing or accessing content or using applications protected by other digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other rights management services or using full volume disk drive encryption.”

For most Wintel PC users, the limitations set forth in the EULA for the Home versions of Windows Vista are meaningless. But for Mac and Linux users, the restriction to the top tier Windows Vista SKUs means a greater investment is required to virtually run the new OS. Microsoft believes that the main users of virtualization technology are businesses who can afford the added cost.

“Most customers using this technology are primarily business users addressing application compatibility needs, or technology enthusiasts,” said a Microsoft spokesperson to MacCentral. “So virtualization will be supported in Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate and Vista Business SKUs. Home users have rarely requested virtualization and so it will not be supported in Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic and Home Premium SKUs.”

Update 2/1/2007: Contrary to what we heard from Microsoft spokespeople, apparently the interpretation of the EULA posted above doesn’t present the whole picture of the license. As detailed in the Windows Server Division Weblog, the limitations to the Vista Home editions stems from restrictions to multiple installations. The mere fact that the Business and Ultimate Editions of Vista allow for greater freedom with the number of installations is the reason behind the permission for use in virtualization technologies. Microsoft has yet to offer official clarification on the subject at this time, but that’s the deal with the EULA as we understand it.

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RE: One more reason...
By Proton on 2/1/2007 8:27:11 PM , Rating: 2
Remote Assistance can be used for your fixing relative's computer scenario. That is in Home Premium version.
I installed Vista in a Virtual machine with Home Premium. It warns that it is not supported, but it lets you install and use it.
Just like on Windows XP Home, not supported but works just fine.
Parental controls are in the Media Center application so you can at least control what can be watched. (I haven't tried out this feature yet, since I don't need it.)

RE: One more reason...
By smitty3268 on 2/1/2007 8:53:45 PM , Rating: 2
The last I heard, Remote Desktop was NOT included in Home Premium, only in Business/Enterprise/Ultimate versions. Has this changed?

RE: One more reason...
By AndreasM on 2/1/2007 9:00:48 PM , Rating: 2
Remote Assistance != Remote Desktop

RE: One more reason...
By Nekrik on 2/1/2007 9:06:31 PM , Rating: 2
That hasn't changed, but there are still methods to offer assistance to remote users (such as remote assistance), and I think there's a few new tools but I haven't checked them out yet.

RE: One more reason...
By JCheng on 2/2/2007 3:47:01 AM , Rating: 2 is just awesome--as long as the computer you're trying to fix is connected to the Internet you could probably talk a monkey through getting the remote end set up. Firewalls/NATs are a non-issue as all traffic can be reflected through their server (if necessary).

Works like a charm on Vista, I spent an hour on it last weekend removing a corrupted copy of McAfee AV from my brother-in-law's laptop.

RE: One more reason...
By borowki on 2/1/2007 9:51:53 PM , Rating: 2
My understanding is that the Remote Desktop client is included, but not the server. So someone running the Home edition can terminal into a computer running Business editio but not vice-versa.

On a completely different note, Microsoft provides a Remote Desktop client for OSX as well.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini

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