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Microsoft Virtual Machine

Microsoft VM Availability

In early 2001, Microsoft settled its lawsuit with Sun Microsystems. Later that year, with the release of Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft began to distribute the Microsoft virtual machine (Microsoft VM) for Java as a downloadable component of Windows XP from http://www.microsoft.com as well as through Windows Update. For some Windows XP users, this meant that the first time that a user encountered a Java applet in Microsoft Internet Explorer, the application would automatically prompt the user to install a Java virtual machine. This install on demand (IOD) system worked well.

In March of 2002, Sun Microsystems sued Microsoft, alleging in part that distributing the Microsoft VM in Windows XP to customers who wanted it via the Web was not authorized by Microsoft's license and therefore constituted copyright infringement. Although Microsoft disputes Sun's claim, Microsoft chose to stop IOD as requested by Sun, and did so as of July 10, 2002. Practically speaking, for Windows XP users who do not have the Microsoft VM and want a copy, there was a short period from July 10 until the release of Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) during which Windows XP users were unable to get a virtual machine from Microsoft.

While this was a change that Microsoft did not want to make, it impacted only a small number of customers. Customers who have the Microsoft VM already installed on their machine will still be able to get important security updates through Windows Update. IOD is also still supported on operating systems other than Windows XP, which included the Microsoft VM in their default installation, to ensure that Microsoft customers get critical updates to the Microsoft VM.

As mentioned above, Microsoft includes the Microsoft virtual machine as part of Windows XP SP1. This means that any Windows XP licensee who does not already have the Microsoft VM will receive the Microsoft VM as part of this service pack.

Customers, including independent software vendors, who have built applications using the Microsoft Visual J++ development system and Microsoft SDK for Java tools, can redistribute the Microsoft VM with their applications. The licenses for these products grant rights to redistribute the Microsoft VM in conjunction with and as part of those applications. Customers should consult their End User License Agreement to determine the scope of these redistribution rights. Visual J++ and SDK for Java licensees who need a copy of the latest version of the Microsoft VM for redistribution to their customers can once again obtain this update from the Microsoft SDK for Java home page (http://www.microsoft.com/java/sdk).

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get the Microsoft VM now?

It is most likely that your system already has the Microsoft VM on it if you are running any operating system other than Windows XP. If you have Windows XP and your computers manufacturer did not preinstall the Microsoft VM, or you did not download the Microsoft VM from Windows Update or http://www.microsoft.com prior to July 10, your system may not have the Microsoft VM on it. To get the Microsoft VM, you will need to install Windows XP SP1.

But there is a quantity of sites where you can simply download the original Microsoft VM. See Microsoft VM download links for details.

More FAQ

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