Microsoft has done a complete 180 on its policy concerning virtualization and Windows Vista. When the new operating system became available to the public a year ago, Microsoft’s end-user license agreement only allowed the pricey Business and Ultimate versions of Vista to be run on a virtual machine. However, as eWeek reports, Microsoft has now altered its policy to include the cheaper Home Basic and Home Premium editions of Vista in its list of operating systems that can be virtualized.
eWeek quotes the revised license agreement as saying, "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." The agreement goes on to warn that Vista’s BitLocker full-drive encryption technology may not be as secure in a virtualized environment.
Microsoft reportedly intended to allow all versions of Vista to be virtualized from the start, but something made it change its mind last year. Microsoft’s Server Infrastructure General Manager Larry Orecklin told eWeek yesterday that customer interest for virtualization has increased over the past six months, adding, "We think the market is now ready for this." The move should notably benefit users of Apple’s Intel-based Macs, who can use software like Parallels to run Windows and Windows applications from within Mac OS X instead having to dual-boot.