Win Server VHD - software activation?

Category: azure management


Raindog308 on Mon, 05 Mar 2012 21:34:45

I am a MSDN ultimate member and thought about creating a Win Server 2008R2 VHD and running it on Azure.

But how does software activation work?

I can download Win Server 2008R2 Enterprise and create a VHD in VirtualPC, but when I upload it to Azure and run it there, will Windows think it's on different hardware and want to activate, or...?  Should I activate it when it's booted locally on VirtualPC, or activate it when it's running in Azure?

I ask because I may run it a while, then shut it down, then run it later, and in the meantime the hardware underneath will obviously change...though perhaps that's all virtualized from a SA perspective...?


Sandrino Di Mattia on Mon, 05 Mar 2012 21:50:37

Hi Raindog,

You can download the license terms here: 

The parts 1-a and 1-b are the most important for you. They say you can use any number of copies of Windows 2008 R2 on a Windows Azure role. The only things you can't do are the following:

  • Remote Desktop Services
  • Rights Management Services   

And also take a look at the following blog post: 
This blog post says that your VM Role will be activated  automatically, regardless of which key you used.

Hope this helps,


Alex Belotserkovskiy on Tue, 06 Mar 2012 03:03:38


You can upload your WS2008R2 and then license price will be included into compute hours.