Re: virtual machine
Downloading a Windows ISO is not even sort of illegal. Get it from Microsoft and absolutely nowhere else. Go to microsoft.com and search on windows 7 iso. Or windows <your version> iso. If you get it anywhere else it's almost certainly tampered with. Edit: You don't have to log in, you don't have to give an email address.
After you install it you have 30 days to get a license. If you don't put one in it will say "non-genuine Windows" on the lower right corner but it will still run.
Likewise, you can search microsoft.com for authorized license vendors to be sure you're getting the real thing.
There are multiple license terms for pretty much any Microsoft product. You can buy one that fits your application best. At one point I got one for my work that was specifically aimed at VMs, it let me change the CPU type and memory and all that without freaking out.
You can call a number from the Microsoft site to help you choose which version might work best for you. Only you know your circumstances (student, vm on linux, software-development-only, etc), and the number you get the guys won't even sell you a license so they'll never know what you wind up with. They're there only for advice. Be absolutely honest no matter how crazy your intended application is. Remember that if you call that number, they know you're at least TRYING to be legal. If you can't do what you want, they'll tell you that and probably tell you what's pretty close to that.
Here's a bit of anti-FUD about Microsoft: Anyone who tries to be legitimate gets all sorts of help. They don't want to hamper your business, so they offer ISOs online. You can set up your computer as soon as you finish the download, you can configure it and get it up to get your business (or your home) going. Buy now, pay later. Some of the licenses are crazy expensive (sql server enterprise for example) and others are unbelievably cheap, like student or non-profit licenses.
They also KNOW about virtualization. There's not a single fortune 500 business that doesn't make heavy use of virtualization. That's speculation on my part but I'd put money on it. They know that you could be using Linux as your host, they know about cores and sockets, they know better than most of us how it all works. It's OK.
Last edited by 1clue; January 13th, 2014 at 02:02 PM.
Help stamp out MBR partition tables. Use GPT instead!