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OEM software for sale online, is this legal?

by no9to5wdm / October 30, 2004 7:22 AM PDT

This may sound crazy that I even think of doing this, but I received several e-mails regarding the sale of Most Major software products CDs at much lower prices at:
The software is shipped from Europe. Has anybody heard any feedback on this company?

I was told before that OEM (by my computer repair co.) that the OEM can't be sold, only with major items like new mother board for major upgrades then it is much cheaper, or with a new computer.

I purchased a new HP Pavilion computer but did not realize that the software that came with it was only trails for 60 days. It was my understanding that the software on a new computer was part of the package deal, plus several trails of other types of product software. (It just listed the software on the box, MS Office 2003,MS XP academic versions, I didn't see anything about trail, except for MS works was a trail). Now I find that there is no MS Office 2003 or MS XP student/teacher, CDS as it was already loaded. Which really upset me, it was $1450. The main software that makes the computer work should be part of the package. Now I have to go pay several hundred additional for the software.

I feel as if I was riped off by HP. Yes I sent an email to HP also. No answer yet.

I was told before that OEM (by my computer repair co. that the OEM can't be sold, only with major items like mother board, then it is much cheaper. Has anyone had this come up before?

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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by Steven Haninger / October 30, 2004 7:47 AM PDT

Your best response will come from the software developers themselves as they hold ownership and copyright. They make the rules about distribution and licensing. However, US laws will run into enforcement challenges if infractions originate overseas. Since the site states the software comes from Europe, such is the case. Much software also comes from Asia and has been reported as bogus distributions. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That's almost axiomatic. As far as trial and limited versions which come with brand name PCs, that's been done for a long time. It's a marketing thing to increase the perceived value of the purchase. This one reason I would never buy a "computer in a box" system.

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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by no9to5wdm / October 30, 2004 10:59 AM PDT

Thanks, that is what I was thinking. Again I get smart after the fact in buying a PC. Should have checked with the forum first.

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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by jonjon1946 / November 5, 2004 4:10 AM PST

If you are looking for an operating system that doesn't cost a lot (rare these days) go to and you shall find there a number of FREE operating systems that can be down loaded, among which is Slackware 9.1 . There as other distributions that can be had for a pittence compared to Micro-soft. You may want to try SUSE Linux 9.0, the choice of almost all of the big name servers in use today. Take your pick! Linux is the foundation for many first rate OS's that support GUI (graphic user interface, i.e., icons..point and click) as well as command line types. It is helpful to have a broadband connection for downloading as you are downloading installation CD's. But please be advised that some of the download sites use modems to connect to the internet. I down loaded from one such site and it took 36 hours to complete. You will need cheksum, available on the site, to verify the accuracy of your selection once it is complete.

Many of the Linux systems come complete with many applications included, e.g. OPEN OFFICE and games, that Microsoft and others will gladly sell to you for an extra fee for the windows OS's. You can order many of the Linux OS's already on CD for a really low price, in some cases the cost of materials. Linux is a member of the OPEN SOURCE NETWORK as is, where you can get free downloadable app's for Windows OS's as well, such as Mozilla Firefox which is a superior browser that, in my opinion, out-performs IE. And if you search the various Linux associated sites you can find instructions on how to install your choice of Linux OS's.

Help is available on-line and/or from the built-in help supplied with the OS. There is even an OS named KNOPPIX that remains resident on and runs from CD-rom that can be used in an emergency to access even WINDOWS files and the internet if your windows or other OS crashes. Linux is very user friendly OS and barely distinguishable from Windows when operating, except it seems to me to be a lot more reliable.

If you check out these computer shows, such as you can find windows xp pro for a lot less than retail but more that a typical Linux OS.

I am currently running WIN XP pro on my own machine, and that is because I bought it before I found out about LINUX. I have my hdd partitioned for Linux and a Linux OS is my option. I do use XP pro most of the time because that is what I am used to and I have a lot of app's that will only run in a windows environment. But when Windows fails...

I hope that you find this info helpful. Good luck!

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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by newrican / November 5, 2004 6:05 AM PST

Most of the OEM or DSP software that is for sale on online shops are legal, although you really have to make sure that they are. Some shops will sell the item only if you buy with hardware, others will tell you that it is your responsibility to comply with the law and buy the hardware. One great site where I usually go to is

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by S Barringer / January 13, 2005 12:49 PM PST

It must be sold with some kind of hardware, and sometimes it can be nothing more than a mouse or something inexpensive like that.
However, you sound like you want the full works installed on your computer, in which case I would go for the "full retail version". It has all the goodies in there that you might want. Along with it you will get the manual, COA, possibly a boot disk (depending upon the OS). And, you won't be required to buy any hardware.
Do not buy anything from overseas as much of it proves to be bogus software. Buy from a seller that you can go back to in the event of a problem. If you buy from overseas and you're not happy with what you get, 99% of the time, you'll be out of luck.
With a local retailer or nationally known seller with a good reputation, you'll get value for what you pay for.
As another member said, "If it sounds too good to be true......"
OEM gives you nothing but the CD. Nothing else. That's great for people who do builds on regular basis and have boot disk or boot CDs on hand, and all the other stuff used for clean installs.
Hope that helps.

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by m.s.king / February 13, 2005 7:39 AM PST
In reply to: OEM

In regards, I am not defending OEM, however I do not buy your logic. If it is less expensive, there must be something wrong with it, and the only way to learn is through tech support and manuals. After several years spending hours on the phone with $5/hr tech support flunkies reading to me ill thought procedures written by $6/hr flunkies, I realized that usually by the end of the call, I was telling them how to solve the problem. I have never recieved a check or as much as a thank you. I do not call them and my computer(s) (& network) runs just fine. Why pay the extra - to SUPPORT "TECH"?

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Full versions
by the Otter / January 28, 2005 5:09 PM PST

Quote: As far as trial and limited versions which come with brand name PCs, that's been done for a long time. It's a marketing thing to increase the perceived value of the purchase. This one reason I would never buy a "computer in a box" system.

This is certainly true, but if you want a machine with a lot of full versions right out of the box, just get a Macintosh. They come with Mac OS X (which is also much simpler and more powerful than M$ Windows, not to mention it doesn?t look like someone at Fisher-Price designed the interface) , but more importantly (in this case), they come with a barrage of full versions:
? TextEdit for basic word processing
? AppleScript for system automation
? iCal for calendaring/to do: lists
? iChat for instant messaging
? DVD Player for, well, playing DVDs
? iMovie for making your home movies come to life
? iDVD for burning DVDs
? iPhoto for organizing and simple editing of photos
? iTunes for music, including free tunes every week!

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I beg to differ
by Rob Bond / November 3, 2005 11:30 PM PST
In reply to: Full versions

Maybe you should get out more dude.

Some links:'''''''''''',10801,104778,00.html''''

I could probably find more if I needed to. So, it seems viruses and security flaws HAVE in fact been found in the past five years. You can talk all you want about how OSX is 'built to be secure' but it clearly isn't impervious to attack. I can't say as to why more viruses do not pop up, but it makes sense to me that if you're going to spend time writing any sort of malicious code or searching for loopholes, you may as well do it on the OS that most of the world uses.

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What do you need?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 30, 2004 8:21 AM PDT

For instance, I use Open Office from for my Office needs. It's what I use and the price is right.

I also have moved to using CDBurnerXP from because it does what I need without complaining about me changing a CDRW drive (OEM software issues).

Hope this helps,


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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by AlanPhipps / November 4, 2004 6:35 PM PST

I have purchased OEM Software before and have expereinced no obvious problems. My OS is Windows XP Pro and I get legal updates and support OK, however, I did damage the original disk and this is where OEM lets you down. Microsoft will not replace the CD - they say it is the PC Suppliers problem, and the supplier won't either. Luckily I have made a back up copy, so it is not very important. The issue is that OEM should be supplied with a PC via a reputable Manufacturer or supplier. I bought my copy of XP from an online cheapo shop, (as you do) and they have no mechanism for replacement. I think my problem is pretty minor though, as you can always copy the orginal disk and if the Manufacturer supports the software then there is no issue. I hope this answer helps defuse your concerns.

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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by derekgaus / November 4, 2004 7:04 PM PST

I don't know about legality but I recently purchased an OEM version of Windows XP Pro without having to purchase any major hardware. It took some shopping around and all software retailers told me that they couldn't sell it to me. I then tried some outlets that assembled computers, some of which told me the same thing. However, perseverance paid off and I eventually found an outlet that had no problem with selling me an OEM version with no associated hardware purchase.

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So where did you get it and how was it?
by sm2123 / January 31, 2005 5:35 AM PST

Where exactly did you end up buying the software and did you have any problems with it?

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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by Mahayani / November 4, 2004 7:29 PM PST

I looked at the site and it appears to be legal. (i.e. not pirated software)
They appear to be operating in the "grey" market. That is, they sell excess inventory of old software.
You will notice everything is 2004, but new 2005 versions are out on most everything (i.e. Norton Internet Security).
As for the operating systems, you are supposed to buy some hardware with the OS. A motherboard is not required. Usually resellers go with a hard drive, which doesn't require building your system from scratch.
As for this particular site selling XP Pro for so cheap, with no hardware requirement, I can only imagine they are selling the original version 2600, prior to XP1 or XP2.
It is uncertain if Microsoft will legally go after this "grey" market, since it is likely that someone (some system builder company, maybe even a major one) actually legally purchased this software, but now finds it antiquated with the release of SP2.
I myself have three extra OS's sitting around, doing nothing, but it is hard (not very nice) to market an operating system that is over 2 years old, outdated by hundreds of plugs to its security holes.
If Microsoft were to pursue this "grey" market, they might find that one of their major clients (computer manufacturers) dumped their excess old operating systems to this or other marketing companies.
The software, already being paid for, enters the market legally to reduce the loss of manufacturers.
I can't swear to it, but the site you mention doesn't appear to be pirating.
P.S. One nasty thing that some computer builders do is to buy licenses without the OS CD. It is cheaper for them. Then they give you a "restore CD"!! WORTHLESS!!!!! You will lose all you data, pictures, songs, documents, EVERYTHING!!! The game of these nasty PC builders is to require you to go back to them, where they can charge exhorbitant prices to save your data.

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Restore CD
by S Barringer / January 13, 2005 1:08 PM PST

Restore CD's have their use, but in a case of real trouble, you'll need the OS CD because as all of us know, sooner or later, you will find yourself reinstalling your OS. We're talking Windows here. If it's Linux, it's a lot more stable and reinstall is almost a nonissure.

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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by Mahayani / November 4, 2004 7:39 PM PST

I just reread your message. Who actually sold you the PC???
I don't think HP would sell directly to you without the OS CD.
As for the other softwares, yes they are probably just trials.
Yes complain to HP!!!
You might want to contact your attorney general about who actually sold you the PC and see if you can rip them a new A-ole.

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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by knightsga / November 4, 2004 8:24 PM PST

Having looked at a customer's HP PC, I found that the OS is backed up on the "D" drive and no OS disk came with the system. You are the mercy of HP as you cannot make a backup of the "D" drive. During copying, the system will balk and terminate your disk copying. Does anyone have a solution to that problem?

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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by Glanmire / November 4, 2004 9:08 PM PST

HP does supply the software in the form of a utility that will burn cd's from images on the hard drive. You can also get the CD's from HP for a shipping charge only. I recently had to restore a customers computer for them and they did not have CD's for the OS. The customer had attempted to restore the computer and I could not access the utility to burn the CD's. I contacted HP they shipped the CD's for an $8 shipping charge. My advice read the documentation that comes with your system and create the CD's immediately. Also many companies are installing a utility such as PC Angel or Phoenix first ware these utilities reside on a protect partition on the hard drive and can be used to restore your system when Windows won't start. Manufacturers are doing this to cut support costs. I agree you should get the CD's and Microsoft requires OEM's to provide the CD's with your purchase. HP has found a way to cut costs and still meet that requirement. Q: Why does one purchase an HP? A: Price

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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by Firefly21645 / November 6, 2004 12:12 PM PST

To Glanmire:
Maybe Hp sold YOU the CDs for an $8 shipping fee, but they're not that generous with their consumers! My HP Pavilion had no Recovery Disk(s) when I bought it, nor was there anything in the instruction manual (which I read cover-to-cover) regarding how to make same. I recently ran into a problem where HP Tech Support told me I'd have to save all my data, completely uninstall WinXP, then re-install it with Recovery Disks. They offered to sell them to me for $99.95, plus S & H. It was cheaper to go to Best Buy and buy WinXP myself. It really ticks me off that I had to buy the same OS that was already installed on my PC, for a problem that was a defect in my computer that occurred TWO DAYS after my warranty expired! What a rip-off!!!

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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by mike68zz / November 7, 2004 11:59 AM PST

The most important part of the operating system is the product key. All Windows disk are the exact same with the exception of release dates and service packs updates and so nobody yells at me I will say that xp is not the same as say windows 98 or even xp pro however if your computer came with a COA (certificate of authentcy) the product key will be printed there it is a series of numbers and letters 5 to a section and 5 section long, you can barrow a disk from a friend and use this key to reinstall the operating system. After the install you will have to activate windows again just as you did when you first got the system, If this reinstall is on the same machine then there will be no problems however if you try it on another system it will not activate because Microsoft records the motherboard and cpu during the first activation you can get around this by calling microsoft if this was an upgrade and you can prove that you are not using this on another system. One other note
if your ststem was built by a major manufacter ie dell, HP, gateway ect. the key will only work with thier hardware I called gateway once about this and was told that I did not accutaly own the operating system in question and that they did there for I could not use the operating system in another build without their permission I guess that is why the system was regiestered to a gateway user and not to my name to see this just right click on the my computer icon and select properties to see who your machine is registered to also there you will see another number about 20 digits long if your machine was buitl using an oem operating system the number will have the letters OEM in it and microsoft will not supply free support for this software you will have to back to the manufacture or pay microsoft for support.

I hoped this helped

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Could not copy D-Drive?
by governrcad / May 18, 2005 6:18 AM PDT

I use Drive Image7, which is able to copy anything, including all sorts of XP system data, which seems to be inaccessible to various file management software I have used.

So far, there has been no reason for me to restore my C-partition with XP System files, but I assume that Drive Image7 would have no problem doing it.

Is your D-Drive a CD device?

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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by jacquesg926 / November 4, 2004 10:23 PM PST

Usually you purchase OEM software when your building a brand new computer. The versions are full versions and are totally legit. They usually have a stripped down version of the manual and come shrink wrapped.

The problem with trial versions of XP are that they're designed to give you a glimpse of what the product is and once the trial is over, you have to purchase the retail version.

The versions of XP you can buy from Europe are cheap they're is just one problem. You usually cannot download the Service Packs.

I would probably call the store you bought your PC from to find out why you got the trial version. You'd get a much quicker response than waiting for HP to email you back

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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by xfloaterx / November 4, 2004 10:26 PM PST

Your HP probably did come with a FULL version of Windows XP. Windwos XP must be activated within 30 days or it will cease to function. If on the side or top of the PC you have a COA "Certificate of Authenticity" then you will need to activate Windows using the 25 digit key on the COA. The other software may be trial - but may also need to be activated.

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by S Barringer / January 13, 2005 1:24 PM PST

In addition, if you fiddle with the innards of your computer and change the hardware (new video card, etc), you will have to call MS and reactivate again.
They did this to stop people from using on OS CD to install on many different computers, saving themselves a ton of money on an operting system for each new computer.
It's illegal to do that, but it didn't stop some people.

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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by TechHeadBob / November 4, 2004 10:46 PM PST

I am a pretty and smart guy.. not in that order.
For the past 16 years I have built white boxes and developed software.
I have always bought cd's at their full price with the understanding that I can get upgrades at a nominal price. It was also the right thing to do. But lately it seems the upgrades are only a few dollars less than the full price. It's the old story, "Upgrade or die".

Every software company is nickel and dime'ing me to death and my kids need shoes!

So, against all of my common sense I finally sent money to company "XYZ" in Europe. My reasoning was what the heck, it's only $300.00. I won't mention what software I me paronoid, you might be in my computer right now, and I don't even know it...

One month later I received two cds with key codes.
I installed them and both cd keys registered with no problems. Obviously everthing changed at the moment. I sat their in total disbelief. I kept saying to myself, "How can this be..."
The cd's are professional looking in everyway.
Really I thought some kid with an ink jet printer was kicking these things out in basement in Prague. Wrong.
Surely the back of the cd was going to be blue with the obvious burn ring. Wrong.
This is the real deal. I even received a paper cover for each cd with the cd key on it.
I honestly can say I saved over $2,000.00.
I don't care how they do it but they do it.
Hey, if Dell can bundle XP Pro from Microsoft for $30.00 why can't I cash in too.

Although, during the month of waiting I pleaded with them to send me the cd keys. I already have the original cd's here.
But they were not willing to send them via email.

One minor drawback, because this is OEM software, you don't get two free support calls to India. I know this is a let down but time heals everything Happy

So, if you are not in a hurry it's worth every penny.
I have since purchased many more cd's with no problem.

One last thing, me and my kids really went to the shoe store!

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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by ricbrink / November 5, 2004 3:02 AM PST

All this comentary, but not answers. It is illegal for the company that purchased the oem version from the vendor to resell it outside their agreement with the vendor. When Dell pays $30 for a copy of XP Pro that it puts on your new PC, it can only sell it to you with that new pc. IT's not a CD they get from MS, it's a paper sticker with your cdkey on it. Since Dell didn't buy a cd, they can take the current version of XP Pro and put it on your new PC, give you a backup disk and be happy until the next major OS release. At that time, MS will allow they to trade in the stickers of new ones. See, Dell doesn't "buy" the CD's up front, they sell you a license to "use" windows on that box. You didn't buy a copy of XP Pro, you bought the right to use XP Pro on that box of hardware. IT's a contract you purchased, not a piece of software.
When you go down to circuit city and get boxed software off the shelf, you are purchasing a contract and a version of the software at the same time. The CD in the box is your's to use (within the law) as you see fit. The "contract" in the box from MS says they will give you updates, support, etc. for some period of time. They may ever promise to replace the disk if it's damaged or lost.
Get the differnce?
When you buy a XP CD from that guy in Prague, sure it's a real microsoft Cd with key. But there's no license agreement (ie, contract) in the box. So what you have is a copy of a disk. I can buy legal copies of MS XP Pro Disks for $10 each by the thousand, from companies right here in the US of A. Totally legal. They are just like the one you paid $50 for. And like them, they have no license agreement. Why is this possible? Because Microsoft sells the license separate from the media. There other senarios where people can get copies of the CD's, even with a license paper in the package.
So the answer here is that OEM cds for Microsoft OS are illegal copies if they don't come with an agreement between you and microsoft that is your contract to use the software.
When you buy a ticket to a movie, it doesn't give you rights to take the film from the theatre, video tape the show, or otherwise make other use of your personal use of that one show. Your movie ticket is valid for one show only. If you use it, you can't give it to a friend or sell it in the parking lot afterwards at a discount. Like the movie ticket, OEM versions of MS XP are good for that PC only. Can you buy a ticket and give it to someone else? Sure. Can you resell a movie pass to someone else? Sure. But they better be in line behind you. Because once you leave the theatre (and the show time passes) your ticket is worthless. Just like you right to resell an OEM license that you got at an auction from XYZ computers when they went out of business. That box of stickers and CD's doesn't come with a contract between you and microsoft that allows you to resell them. They have expired when XYZ computers went out of business. Can you get away with it. Probably. That doesn't make it legal.
As a legal MS partner, I can sell you a copy of XP Pro. I can buy it at discount direct from Redmond and have it shipped to your house. I can build you a PC with the OEM version. It will come with papers proving I paid for it and MS will give you support (limited as are all OEM versions). You will be the legal owner of the right to use the software. Stockholders will get paid, Bill will get money to help him "keep up with the Saudi princes".
The people I feel most for, are the ones who paid a real price for boxed software. Install it and are happy for a few weeks. Then, when they try to update, or register, they find out the key they used isn't real. They've been sold bootleg, pirate copies. Did you know that microsoft has often made good on these bootleg licenses? Why? The people had a receipt from a legal dealer of the software. That "contract" between you and microsoft is what you paid for. Microsoft will stand behind that contract (through the vendor).
I know this lession in the morality of how you buy software isn't going to change the buying habits of most of you. But what you do is wrong, most often illegal, and hurts the industry just a little each time you do it. It's a "death by a thousand cuts". But it's killing the industry none the less. The growth of Linux is the obvious proof. Millions of people feel that XP Pro is too expensive. But rather than steal a copy, they find an alternative. For you $50, you can get a copy of SUSE or RedHat in many retail stores. It comes with a manual, and a place to get updates and help with installing it. If your old pc with Windows 95 still works, you can download copies of hundreds of Linux distributions for free. Burn a copy to cd and build that new UberPC you want.

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UberPC by ricbrink
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 5, 2004 3:25 AM PST

I gotta get me one of those... O'yeah! I do have one. I'd got Suse 9.1 on a P4 2.0 GHz 512M RAM and more box. It's very nice and stable.


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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by KEITH-1 / November 6, 2004 1:00 AM PST

Boy, thats got to be the biggest load of rubbish I've ever read.
Welcome to the FREE MARKET. When you pay full purchase price for somthing you own it. You don't own the copywright or patent just the one copy.
If you want to introduce a system like you have described then you will have to convince the govt to enact a licencing law (you can't just wright your own)until then your stuck with the current system.

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Older PCs in the closet?
by S Barringer / January 13, 2005 1:41 PM PST

For those of you who have perfectly functioning PCs that you put in the closet (retired) because MS OS's require more than the old PC can handle (RAM, harddrive size, etc), you can save yourself the expense of having to buy a PC that can handle the bloated MS systems by getting a Linux distro that will run perfectly on older hardware, and without a doubt be a more stable OS. (Goodbye
blue-screen of death.) (Goodbye to incessant reboots.)
A large segment of the Internet runs on UNIX AND Linux OS's. That should tell you something.

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Hurting the industry
by miketerri / June 11, 2006 8:37 AM PDT

We are talking about massive distribution for a product that costs pennies to make and sells for 200.00 a shot, and, for all the hoopla about greater security, really seems to have been instigated in order for Microsoft to guarantee that every single computer ever built must incorporate a brand new 200.00 purchase. If I want to upgrade my motherboard, I would have to pay Microsoft yet another $200.00 as well! So much for that aspect of my economy. I'll stick with my old system all the longer because of that.

And we are being forced to use this product because certain other applications are phasing out Win98. It's not that I have an actual need for win Xp . The need is being manifested by ''the industry''.

Considering the massive massive massive distribution, we are talking about, it's hard to buy that people that have to struggle to pay for ordinary living expences are ''hurting the technology industry'' business if they don't forgo the essentials of life for a week or two in order to pay 200.00 for an unwanted system that is being forced upon them.

Considering the massiveness of the distribution and the small cost of production, it's hard to belive that Microsoft couldn't make a profit selling the product for a price that is comprable for the cost of a music cd.

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Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
by albertodesigns / November 7, 2004 6:59 AM PST

to techheadbob
there are many e-mails i am receiving from cheap oem software sites. can i get a site recommended from any member who has dealt with and bought from one. i am willing to buy,however,i am kind of apprehensive !

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