Hyper-V Server 2019 (Free) as a Virtual Machine and Application Server

New Contributor

Hyper-V Server 2019 (Free)

Hyper-V Server 2019 (Free) - Can be installed as a virtual machine?

Can I legally install other products like SQL Express on Hyper-V Server 2019 (Free)?

I tested Hyper-V Server 2019 (Free) with SQL Express and other programs, everything works the same as on a paid server with a GUI, therefore are there any license provisions that limit the installation of this server only on physical hardware? or prohibit the installation of other roles or third-party applications ? I have already searched many sites, read the EULA included with Hyper-V Server 2019 (Free) and I do not see any mention of such restrictions anywhere.


Thank you for your help.

8 Replies

Might need to check the documentation for host hypervisor as to nesting compatibility.  As to SQL Express you can check the operating systems compatibility here.  

SQL Server 2019: Hardware & software requirements - SQL Server | Microsoft Learn 





@AndrzejSTG just checking if there's any progress or updates? please don't forget to mark helpful replies.




@Dave Patrick 


The hardware and software requirements contain information that you can install SQL Server 2019 on Windows Server Core 2016, 2019, 2022. Hyper-V Server 2019 (Free) is a Server Core 2019 with the Hyper-V role preinstalled. My tests confirm this, installation from the command line and configuration in powershell is all that allows you to run SQL without problems.


Hyper-V Server 2019 (Free) is described as an operating system that is often designed to reduce company costs. Everywhere there is information that it is a free and activated system and does not require additional activations. The EULA included with Hyper-V Server 2019 (Free) does not contain limits.


If anyone knows where to find documentation describing the limits, I would be very grateful for the help.

@Dave Patrick Thank you

I read the Microsoft License Terms for Windows Server 2019 and found this:


2. Definitions

  • g.      Operating System Environment. An “operating system environment” is:
    • I. (a) Physical operating system environment is configured to run directly on a physical hardware system. The physical operating system instance used to run hardware virtualization software (e.g., Microsoft Hyper-V Server or similar technologies) or to provide hardware virtualization services (e.g., Microsoft virtualization technologies) is considered part of the physical operating system environment.


3. How to License Server Software

  • d. Running Instances of the Server Software
    Windows Server Standard
    • ii. If you run all permitted instances at the same time, the instance of the server software running in the physical operating system environment may be used only to:
      • run hardware virtualization software,
      • provide hardware virtualization services,
      • run software to manage and service operating system environments on the licensed server.

  • l. Limited rights versions. If the software version you acquired is marked or otherwise intended for a specific or limited use, then you may only use it as specified. You may not use such versions of the software for commercial, non-profit, or revenue-generating activities.


The fact that Windows Server 2019 Core Hyper-V is installed on everything and is activated immediately for free does not mean that you can use it for whatever you want. The license above rather indicates the purpose of this named system.

Using Windows Server 2019 Core Hyper-V as a file server or SQL server, which has nothing to do with virtualization, will be a rather blatant violation of the free license.

The case is different when we use the above roles and applications to manage a virtualized environment.


What do you think about it ?

best response confirmed by AndrzejSTG (New Contributor)

Legal licensing issues cannot be resolved by anonymous forums users. Your lawyers would not be happy with that. The best we can do is point you towards documentation. Your lawyers may be able to provide a legal interpretation, otherwise you could contact microsoft directly.  



That's right :)
Thanks for your help.