Any less-expensive ways to get a legit Win10 key for virtualization?

I need to virtualize Windows on my Mac for infrequent use. Are there any legitimate ways to get a key for that that don’t involve handing Microsoft $140?

I sometimes use the machines at Modern.IE.

1 Like

You should be able to install Windows 10 and skip the “gimme the activation key” prompt, then use it for a while. Sooner or later it will not let you skip that prompt, but then just get rid of that VM and start over with a new one.

1 Like

So that’s basically just a free 90-day-limited Windows VM?

Essentially, yes. It’ll become more annoying to use after awhile, similar to a fresh install, like Quorm said. They’re convenient to download.

Check Amazon for Windows 10 and you might be surprised how much a genuine key will cost you. Switch countries if needed. Make sure you choose digital delivery

You could also take advantage of the “Windows 10 Enterprise Evaluation” ISO that Microsoft offers for completely free:

It is free for business IT users to try, not for home users. Your IT department would be extremely upset if a regular employee signed up for this without their consent (and they would tell you “no”, regardless).


Oh, is the OP doing this in his workplace?

If you know an employee at Microsoft you get 50% discount I guess. I got this for Win 2000 years back.

Considering how long ago that was, do you think that such a discount is still being allowed?

I honestly don’t know. But its an option to check for a cheaper way to get hold of a copy.

You don’t seem to understand terms of service at all. It says it for IT professionals, just to sign up you have to give your company info. It’s not just so anyone can try Windows. But as said, the question is how to get a copy of Windows for cheap, not a free demo.

1 Like

The link that @tjluoma shared includes “Buying from third party”. I actually purchased two licenses from Kinguin, and both are working fine. I used them to run on Parallels.

I went with the “download, don’t activate” option, and it works just fine.

My use is really infrequent. I keep a Windows VM around to maintain familiarity with the OS so I can help friends and students troubleshoot.

1 Like

Been doing the same for a good 5 years. The only recurring cost being a parallels update from time to time.

Tried Kinguin today, and got sold a banned VLK. I opened a refund case with their support, so we’ll see what they have to say. :slight_smile:

I have bought valid OEM license keys from Amazon for as low as 10€ or something like that. I guess they are reselling them so I understand this may be a bogus license.

I just didn’t activate windows 10 and it works fine. From the article @tjluoma shared, they say:

If you don’t activate Windows 10, you won’t be able to change Personalization options in the Settings menu. That means you can’t choose personal desktop wallpapers, slideshow backgrounds, Start, taskbar, Action Center or title bar colors, light or dark color schemes, font choices or lock screen options.

So if you don’t need to customize the look/feel, which I didn’t in the Parallels VM, it was free.