Troubleshooting licenses

This document shows you how to resolve issues with importing and migrating virtual machine (VM) instances to Compute Engine that have a misapplied license. For example, learn how to resolve issues with a VM that has an on-demand license, such as, instead of a bring-your-own service (BYOS) or bring-your-own license (BYOL), such as

Before you begin

Check a VM's license

After you import or migrate a VM to Compute Engine, you can check the license the VM has using the Google Cloud Console or the gcloud command-line tool.


  1. In the Cloud Console, go to the VM instances page.

    Go to VM instances

  2. Click the name of the VM you want to check the license of. The instance details page opens.

  3. At the bottom of the page, click Equivalent REST.

  4. View the "licenses" field to see the VM's license.


  1. To view the license for the VM, run the gcloud compute instances describe command:

    gcloud compute instances describe VM_NAME

    Replace VM_NAME with the name of your VM.

    View the licenses field in the output to find the VM's license.

Understand license strings

A Compute Engine VM's license can be one of the following types:

  • Free: the VM's license does not incur a charge.
  • On demand: the VM's license incurs a charge from Google Cloud.
  • BYOL/BYOS: the VM's license was procured from the operating system (OS) vendor before being brought to Google Cloud.

    For more information about working with byol and byos licenses or subscriptions, contact your Google Cloud account representative.

BYOS and BYOL license strings are appended with byol or byos. If the VM's license is not appended with byol or byos, the VM's license is a free or on-demand license. For information about which license models apply to specific VM OS versions, see Operating system details.

Mitigate incorrect license imports/migrations

If you tried to import or migrate a VM into Compute Engine with a BYOL or BYOS license, but the VM's license string is not appended with byol or byos, then your license was not successfully imported/migrated with the VM. To resolve this issue, do one of the following: