I bought a computer with Windows 10 pre-installed. I then also installed Linux on the same computer so that I can choose between Windows or Linux at boot time (dual booting). I also have it set up so that Linux can see Windows files, including C:\Windows\Fonts. I personally like the Windows/Microsoft fonts better than the free alternatives, so I want to use them while running Linux.

According to the Microsoft License Terms:

Applicability: This agreement applies to the Windows software that is preinstalled on your device, or acquired from a retailer and installed by you, the media on which you received the software (if any), any fonts, ...

License. The software is licensed, not sold. Under this agreement, we grant you the right to install and run one instance of the software on your device (the licensed device), for use by one person at a time, so long as you comply with all the terms of this agreement.

Device. In this agreement, “device” means a hardware system (whether physical or virtual) with an internal storage device capable of running the software. A hardware partition or blade is considered to be a device.

Under restrictions (what's no allowed) it list these things that I'm not sure apply:

(i) use or virtualize features of the software separately;

(iv) work around any technical restrictions or limitations in the software;

(v) use the software as server software ... or install the software on a device for use only by remote users;

Would any of those restrictions apply to what I'm doing?

  • The fonts are not “the software” and have their own license.
    – Dale M
    Jan 10, 2020 at 0:17
  • Sure, this is valid - if you completely ignore every other term in the license that might also apply. Have you checked those also?
    – user4657
    Jan 10, 2020 at 1:09
  • @DaleM Under "applicability" (section 1a) it says that the license covers fonts. Jan 10, 2020 at 1:19
  • 1
    Well, would it? What has your lawyer told you?
    – user4657
    Jan 10, 2020 at 2:05
  • 3
    @Nij "What has your lawyer told you?" The OP would be better off by purchasing a separate license of the fonts than wasting his time and money asking some overpriced lawyer. The latter might not even have a clue of what "partition" means. Jan 10, 2020 at 9:24

1 Answer 1


If running Linux on same physical computer as Windows, can one legally use Microsoft's files?

Apparently not. The fonts would be considered a feature of the software.

Even mounting the Windows file system in your Linux partition, as opposed to copying the fonts, would violate the terms of the license. That is because the terms of the license allow the inference that the licensed copy of Windows 10 is mutually understood as the active partition at the time of using its features.

Therefore, using the fonts from elsewhere (including a different partition insofar as the license considers it a device on its own) constitutes using the feature separately.

  • 1
    Can you provide cites for this interpretation? It certainly doesn't seem to follow from the extracts the OP has posted. Jan 10, 2020 at 13:34
  • @MartinBonnersupportsMonica "It certainly doesn't seem to follow from the extracts the OP has posted". Please be more specific and elaborate where you think there is a departure or discrepancy: the fonts being considered a feature of the software? the issue regarding the active partition? other? Jan 10, 2020 at 14:49
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    OK, I see where you found "feature of the system". I missed that. I think your main problem is that you appear to think "hardware partition or blade" means the same as disk partition - I think it has a very different meaning, and the OP has a single "device". Jan 10, 2020 at 14:55
  • @MartinBonnersupportsMonica "I think your main problem is that you appear to think "hardware partition or blade" means the same as disk partition". No, I wouldn't get into that unsettled technicality. My point is that, based on the agreement, the Windows components from the OP's copy are not supposed to be mounted on a foreign instance (in this case, Linux). Doing so would qualify as using the feature separately insofar as it would be the other instance/OS (Linux) what handles the fonts, not the Windows kernel/module(s) associated to the license. Jan 10, 2020 at 15:40
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    "hardware partition"/"blade" are very different things than a disk partition - they likely describe either use of a virtualization system or a multi-cpu system with shared storage. Both would enable you to run the windows and linux system CONCURRENTLY, not either/or as in a multiboot system with just disk partitions. Mar 22 at 9:41

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