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NOTE: Windows OEM licensing terms have changed!

by John.Wilkinson / December 19, 2009 5:33 AM PST

Recently, Microsoft modified the licensing terms for OEM editions. Previously, purchasers were permitted to apply OEM licenses to their own computers provided the licenses were purchased with qualifying hardware. However, the Windows OEM System Builder EULA now prohibits purchasers from applying OEM licenses to computers they are building for themselves, friends, family members, etc. As explained in the revised license comparison, "[OEM licenses] must be preinstalled on a PC and sold to another unrelated party." (Emphasis added.) These revised licensing terms apply to all OEM versions of Windows currently sold, including Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Please keep these revised terms in mind when building your own computers, as well as when advising others who are contemplating building their own computers and/or purchasing a new OEM license.


Additional Information/Editorial: Is it OK to use OEM Windows on your own PC? Don't ask Microsoft [Ed Bott, ZDNET]

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Sounds devious
by RCF_Rose / December 19, 2009 10:26 AM PST

My first question would be when it comes to validating your copy of an OEM on a self built PC how do they know if the PC is self build or purchased? They don't ask any pertinent questions, they just validate it.. If indeed it's a hard and fast rule concerning the use of the OEM why is there no effort made to determine who it is asking for validation?

As pointed out in the article you linked to, even using the M$ search engine he couldn't even find a retail version of the operating system he was looking for, only OEM versions. And the detailed information on the use was nowhere to be found. The average Joe will buy the OEM. I did. Knowing that it couldn't be used on another PC if/when that PC died.

Is this now just a hook M$ can/may/will use to declare your OEM copy invalid somewhere down the road and require you to purchase another license if you wish to continue using it? Or a way to force you to upgrade?

The whole thing sound devious and underhanded to me. I think this will just encourage more people to use cracked copies of the operating system they want.


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by Dango517 / January 5, 2010 2:13 AM PST
In reply to: Sounds devious

Sounds like M$ and its partners are getting a little too cozy.

I'd agree with your statement. "The whole thing sound devious and underhanded to me."

M$ provides an OS, not hardware. The Hardware a consumer uses is none of they're concern. If I buy a stand alone OS it should be good on any machine I use it on whether I move it on not. What i can't do is copy it. That they were allowed to link there OS to a machine at all is a mistake. A mistake that needs to be corrected. This change should effect Mac as well.

They'll be sued over this one.

There is hope I suppose .......... the Google OS. If M$ wants to pull this stunt they better hurry and even then it will not last long. Whether by Google, A Mac OS or software made in India, china or Russia they will be releasing they're unfair stranglehold on the consumer soon.

This will bring them down:

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It seems the Google OS may be here
by Dango517 / January 5, 2010 9:42 AM PST
In reply to: Yep,

by mid year 2010. My guess is it may "go to press" early. There is no mention of it's ability to run custom PC builds. Whether or not it will come in time to save the "mom and pop" PC build shops or Mass component distributors like Newegg is yet to be seen. They may not have to cash reserves to see them through in a difficult economy. Sound like Google needs a delay in M$'s plans.

The Google OS:

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Not a threat...
by John.Wilkinson / January 7, 2010 1:45 AM PST

With Chrome OS only supporting specific hardware configurations, the average user will not be able to install it without first relying on third-party developers creating/adding the required drivers and software interfaces. And without the ability to install programs like you can on the average operating system, it's only sufficient for those who rely solely on cloud-based computing; all others will have to manage a dual-boot setup or purchase multiple computers, defeating the purpose of having a bare-bones OS. And since it's a free download, Newegg will not be selling the OS, so its availability does not benefit such retailers in any way.


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No one knows yet!
by Dango517 / January 8, 2010 8:42 PM PST
In reply to: Not a threat...

It hasn't been released yet. Nothing but speculation at this point.

My guess is they'll go all-the-way with a Linux base, including the Linux hardware drivers (those work, by-the-way) and there chrome applications. I see it like this, you turn on your PC and go straight to the Internet bypassing the Desktop using the Google OS. Nearly all of us do that anyway or would like to, most of us good straight to our mail when we turn on our PCs. Everything in the Windows OS can be accessed from the taskbar. Looks like Google is side stepping the desktop and moving the taskbar to the top of the Window. Simpler easy, less time consuming then just open applications from there.

The Internet is such a low level application these days it's almost a joke, it's becoming an antique relic that runs at a nails pace, uses few PC resources and an intermittent connection. The high end these days are the virtual world communities, Second Life being there flag ship. Virtual Worlds are so far ahead of the Internet it pathetic.

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(NT) CORRECTION: snails pace
by Dango517 / January 8, 2010 8:48 PM PST
In reply to: No one knows yet!
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Not true...
by John.Wilkinson / January 9, 2010 2:36 AM PST
In reply to: No one knows yet!

1.) Google has already released a preliminary version for public download, though hardware configurations limit its potential userbase.

2.) They already stated that they have no intention of turning it into another full-fledged Linux distro. They are designing it specifically for accessing web applications through a simplistic, browser-centric OS.

Bottom line: If it's not an online application with online storage, you'd better have another operating system available.


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You didn't think this would show up either
by Dango517 / January 9, 2010 2:56 AM PST
In reply to: Not true...
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by PCRefurbMan / November 3, 2011 4:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Yep,

This is exactly why my refurbishing shop went looking for an alternative to use. And to make it harder, when you sign the OEM agreement MS requires that you ONLY install Windows.

So when the contract was up we didn't renew it. Instead we have been installing "Replacement for Windows" when refurbishing. You can also get it for personal/hobbiest use and legally install it on as many computers as you like. It's called both R4W and "Replacement for Windows". It's somewhat like Windows 7 the way it uses icons on the taks-bar, so my customers love it.

In all honesty I'm not even sure all Microsoft's stipulations are even legal, but they did make it just too difficult for us to deal with them any longer.

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Windows OEM licensing terms have changed!
by BrandonKByrne / October 8, 2012 3:07 PM PDT
In reply to: Yep,

If I sell a computer with windows 7 OEM installed on it and that computer main board becomes damaged and the original board is not available so a suitable replacement is used under warranty period of the computer.

Will this void Microsoft windows 7 OEM license?.

From what I have read the license is attached to the main board & CPU components. This would force windows 7 Into
de-activation mode

As a reseller, Our comsumer laws makes me responsible to repair, replace or refund the money. So this becomes a very important problem as in today's technology motherbords are being superseeded within months.

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Which OEM license?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 8, 2012 3:19 PM PDT

If you mean that builder version MSFT has issued new codes. If you mean HP, that license dies with the motherboard.

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Spot on.
by 6061t6 / February 2, 2010 2:12 PM PST
In reply to: Sounds devious

I now have a Validation request even though i validated my system six months ago. i feel that it's a away in for microsoft to force you to upgrade to windows 7, i find it to many issues especialywhen microsoft are going to put out a new program like Vista & windows 7. Now i am trying to remove the Validation request's & now matter what i do i cant remove it, unless i re-install my XP PRO copy & office copy, but lose current data.

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Common issues...
by John.Wilkinson / February 3, 2010 3:17 AM PST
In reply to: Spot on.

Common causes of such validations woes are:
1.) An illegitimate installation, regardless of the user's knowledge. (Shady companies often sell illegitimate copies.)
2.) Another person using your product key, often through the use of key generators.
3.) Hardware changes that make it appear as if you have switched machines without re-activating.
4.) Software that interferes with WGA and other validation technologies.

These are issues that have long been faced; it's not an attempt to force an upgrade to Vista/7. Instead of attempting to circumvent the validation, let it validate. If it fails, call the toll-free number to have Microsoft resolve the issue. And as an alternative to reinstalling XP, perform a repair installation, an option that leaves your programs and files intact while repairing most OS corruption issues.


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work around
by Zolar_1 / March 3, 2012 11:18 AM PST
In reply to: Sounds devious

Ok, you build a computer for someone else then they sell it back to you for the same price you sold it to them for.

Anyway, I go by the EULA that is included with the software disk NOT what microsh1t decides to do on a greedy whim.

A contract is a contract. And buying an OEM disk with an included EULA is a contract. The only way microsh1t can alter the terms is if they do it in YOUR favor, not theirs.

This is exactly why I use Linux 99% of the time. No BS or other hassles with EULA's and such.
I run XP for only 3 programs - 2 for my spouse and one for my kid.
I have no plans on buying any microsh1t software ever again.

If I spend hard earned money on software of any kind I would gladly donate it to the free software developers - they make theirs because they want to, not for greed.

Running an AMD cpu with 4gb ram and multiple hard drives including two SSD HD's (not impressed by them either)

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by padyboy / May 27, 2013 9:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Sounds devious

I have a valid product key, but never received os disk with my desktop.
M$ now refuses to provide me with the disk, passing the Buck$ to the manufacturer, who has labelled this computer as "obsolete" and refuses service. Angry
DEVIOUS is an understatement!!!!!!


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OEM Licensing
by bilyo / January 5, 2010 1:25 AM PST

From what I've read, it seems that the final answer on this is not clear, with most of the confusion generated by MS misinformation. If it is true and becomes enforced, I foresee a lot of Open Systems OS converts in the future.

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I agree...
by John.Wilkinson / January 5, 2010 2:06 AM PST
In reply to: OEM Licensing

I too found significant quantities of contradictory information supplied by Microsoft customer support representatives, Microsoft MVPs, and moderators of the Microsoft Answers forums, as well as third-party bloggers, forum posters, etc. As a Microsoft MVP myself, I contacted my lead, who queried the appropriate teams and relayed the clarification/final answer. Hopefully this information will be disseminated through more effective and proactive means in the coming months, long prior to legal enforcement.


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Just checked NewEgg and one can still buy OEM
by Steven Haninger / January 5, 2010 6:58 AM PST

Windows XP, Vista and 7. It would seem that, in order to make this threat legitimate, MS would have to first stop etailers, retailers, etc. (I can also buy these as my local Microcenter) from selling individual media/license kits. Although signs in my local store clearly state that the software kits are "intended" for use on pre-built systems with the OS already installed, it makes no real sense to have open displays of these. To make this work without looking fuzzy, MS would need to yank all of these copies and make them available only through distributors who followed their rules. This would probably mean that a minimum number of licenses would be needed to make a purchase. OEM builders buy in bulk and hobbyists rarely would do that.

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Sales will continue...
by John.Wilkinson / January 7, 2010 1:37 AM PST

I agree that the ability to enforce the new terms is lacking. However, OEM licenses will continue to be sold in places such as Newegg in order to accommodate small system builders. The small town shops, individuals that build computers and sell them online, etc. do not buy in the bulk quantities supplied directly by Microsoft to HP, Dell, and the like, making Newegg the prime shopping ground. Microsoft has stated they will be working with such retailers to display the terms and conditions more prominently, but it remains to be seen how the new policy will be enforced.


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by Zolar_1 / March 3, 2012 11:26 AM PST

I bought on retail version of XP Pro (A whopping $400 too), an OEM version of XP Media Center, and an OEM version of XP Home. Does that make me a hobbyist or a builder?

With each one I built a whole computer, except the home version which is still unopened. I plan on putting that on a hodge-podge piecework computer with the fewest new parts I can buy. Probably donate that one to a needy family. At least they could use it to get the skewl work done...

Who else is tired of Microsoft raping everyone? They live extravagant lifestyles and we struggle to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads.

We need to toss out ALL copyright laws and start over, this time doing them in favor of the consumer.
Like having them expire 3 years after inception. This included movies, music, the works.
Innovation and creativity would no longer be stifled by unfair laws. Also, anything that once could have been copyrighted would be barred from obtaining a patent. Patents should expire every 5 years.

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We need to toss 'all' copyright laws out?
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 3, 2012 8:38 PM PST
In reply to: hmmm

So that would mean the death of the music and film industry then. No-one gets paid for their work as everyone else is stealing it.

Nice move.

As to Microsoft and their extravagant lifestyles, your choice here. No-one is forcing you to be "raped" by Microsoft.


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Currently sold?
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / January 5, 2010 8:40 PM PST

John, member bilyo posted in this thread and you answered. He's also posted his own discussion here;

Both myself and Jimmy assured him that Microsoft couldn't make retrospective changes to their licensing terms, but bilyo raised an interesting observation. He pointed out that your post above mentions "These revised licensing terms apply to all OEM versions of Windows currently sold".

I can't believe that Microsoft means all XP OEMs sold from whenever in the past, and that's why the word 'currently' was used. But 'sold' can be in the past tense as well, so that 'currently sold' could apply to all OEMs that have been sold to date.

I know that interpretation has to be wrong, but is it?

Your insight would be most welcome. Really! Devil


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by John.Wilkinson / January 7, 2010 1:55 AM PST
In reply to: Currently sold?

Retrospective changes would be outrageous, as such would effectively make potentially millions of installations invalid, and thus illegal. By "currently sold," I mean copies of Windows that you bought/buy from the time of the change onward; those licenses currently being sold. The licenses sold while the previous terms were in effect would remain constrained by the previously-agreed-to terms. Hopefully that clears up the ambiguity.


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Not sure about clear
by RCF_Rose / January 7, 2010 2:57 AM PST
In reply to: Clarification...

By "currently sold," I mean copies of Windows that you bought/buy from the time of the change onward; those licenses currently being sold. --- John Wilkinson

Since the licensing terms for OEM editions have already changed and are in effect then if I purchase an OEM copy of XP from any one of a dozen sellers today I have an illegal copy? Then why are they out there for sale? Are the sellers breaking the law?

And if I install an OEM copy on my home build PC will Microsoft validate it? And if they do doesn't that make it legal?


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Sorry, didn't read carefully ...
by RCF_Rose / January 7, 2010 3:08 AM PST
In reply to: Clarification...

one of your former posts:

OEM licenses will continue to be sold in places such as Newegg in order to accommodate small system builders. The small town shops, individuals that build computers and sell them online, etc. --- John Wilkinson

OK, I can claim to be an individual that builds computers and sells them online. LOL Full of holes. Isn't anything simple anymore?


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by albacore1 / January 8, 2010 8:00 PM PST

What about the OEM Pre-installation Kit or (OPK) that microsoft provides to system builders. What is it and don't you need it to install any OEM vs. of windows?

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Not sure what the OPK is,
by RCF_Rose / January 8, 2010 9:02 PM PST
In reply to: OPK

I guess a system builder would know. I installed my OEM like any other Windows OS, I plopped the CD in the tray, closed it and away it went. I would have preferred a retail version and would have purchased one except that XP Pro 64 bit is only available in the OEM version. Now I wish I would have just gone with the retail 32 bit and I would be able to use it on another PC when this one dies. I have Win7 running in a Virtual Box (the one they had for free download that will die in June) and I'm not sure I will ever want to upgrade to it.


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(NT) Thanks for the clarification John
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / January 7, 2010 3:30 AM PST
In reply to: Clarification...
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by capstonebpo / January 10, 2010 7:57 PM PST

All said and discussed, I don't think that this would be allowed as a big issue.
There got to be some 'blending' in this new development and the end user's ease which I feel would be arriving soon.

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Just testing the waters
by dfichtner / June 10, 2010 11:13 AM PDT
In reply to: OEM

I think MS is just testing the waters and attempting to push the limits, hinting that they plan to nudge-out OEM licenses in the near future. That would be a shame, because big manufacturers like HP and Dell could, in theory begin to charge more for their machines if they attempt to secretly collude.

MS knows this won't fly, and would create bad press if forced. They just want to scare people.

What they really need to be more concerned about is piracy. Nearly everyone pirates here in Asia. I actually had a difficult time purchasing a legitimate copy of Vista for my wife's computer, and even it had been opened.

If MS puts these draconian OEM ideas into place, piracy will be encouraged, as will other OS's.

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