Vista licensing terms won’t restrict enthusiasts

While Microsoft is making no secret of the fact that Windows Vista’s licensing terms will only allow one transfer of the operating system to another machine, the company has revealed that enthusiasts who upgrade their PCs often may not be as inconvenienced by those terms as some might think. The guys over at Bit-Tech have heard straight from the horse’s mouth that Microsoft will only require users to re-activate their copy of Vista if the main hard drive and one other component of their PC is changed. Furthermore, users who go through such upgrades will be allowed to re-active their copy of Vista up to 10 times. Microsoft may or may not decide to allow additional re-activations at its own discretion. For smaller upgrades like graphics cards, processors, or memory, Microsoft is quoted as saying that Vista won’t need to be re-activated at all.

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    • kilkennycat
    • 13 years ago

    The Windows Vista RETAIL EULA ( Basic/Home/Ultimate) Section 15a specifies that only a Single re-activation is allowed – no exceptions are stated. This is a legal document ‘signed’ by the licenseee when the OS is installed. Thus this restriction is binding on BOTH parties. If Microsoft permits even ONE legitimate licensee with a valid, legitimately purchased and fully working copy of the Retail Vista to re-authenticate more than the stated ONE time (for more than one different hardware configuration that is recognized by Vista as ‘different’), then section 15a becomes ‘de facto’ legally void. Following such a violation by Microsoft of their own EULA, any denial by Microsoft of subsequent requests for more than one activation from other legitimate licensees of Vista becomes the basis for a class-action lawsuit.

    Microsoft have created their own legal nightmare by replacing the (unlimited) number of ‘workstation computer’ transfers in the Retail WindowsXP EULA with the Retail Vista EULA Section 15a. Must have been added by Steve Ballmer, when he got around to something other than throwing chairs. Certainly he will have signed-off on it. Microsoft should give him a real job – janitor, car-park attendant……

    Would those guinea-pigs that purchase a Retail copy of Vista and manage to extract more than one re-authentication by Microsoft for more than one different hardware configurations please fully document their experience? A fat dossier of all such violations of Section 15a of the Vista Retail EULA by Microsoft, legally attested, would make a class-action suit (re Section 15a) a slam-dunk.

    So Microsoft is out of the kindness of their stony $$heart$$ going to allow up to 10 Retail Vista re-authentications for hardware changes — maybe… ? That’s nowhere in the Vista Retail EULA – only ONE is allowed, so why stop at 10 ? — having violated and effectively voided their own EULA, Microsoft cannot legally stop at any arbitrary number.

    Microsoft has been adding spin of their own claiming that Vista license terms are ‘identical to XP, but now made clearer’. Paul Thurrott ( one of the self-appointed gurus on Windows) claims that one of his buddies at Microsoft stated directly to him that Retail WindowsXP actually has…. ‘a built-in limit of one re-authentication, but it is not enforced’. That is a lie, not borne out by Microsoft’s own documentation. See Ed Bott’s blog:-

    §[< http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=158<]§ The only terms that are legally enforceable are those in the associated EULA, 'signed' by the licensee on installation. The Retail Windows XP EULA has no limit at all on the number of 'workstation computer' transfers by any single licensee. A legitimate licensee of Retail Windows XP has the RIGHT to request any number of legitimate <workstation computer> transfers and Microsoft does NOT have any legal right to deny the request.

    • Anemone
    • 13 years ago

    First off, if you blow a HD or mobo transfer you can end up with a couple of reactivations by phone down the drain pretty easily.

    Secondly, reactivation is “at their discretion”. Dunno about you, but trust and Microsoft are not words I put together very often. It’s too late _[

      • indeego
      • 13 years ago

      You have never had to call MS have you?

      They don’t question you, it takes less than 5 minutes. They just say you are good to go, and you move on.

      They know that realistically a pirate sure isn’t going to call them with the same key every time and leave that paper trail.

      They also know that the end-user pirate isn’t worth their time to go after, it’s the manufacturers who steal in bulk and screw the end-user.

      It’s not in Microsoft’s long term business interests to scare off customers. Trust me, if activation or legit checks started to impact the bottom line, they would magically be lifted againg{<.<}g And I don't even love MS, but they do pay my salary (indirectly)

        • Smurfer2
        • 13 years ago

        Have to agree with everything you just said Indeego. I’ve had to reactivate things through MS already, it is really easy and free.

          • SGT Lindy
          • 13 years ago

          Even easier online….takes about 3 seconds.

        • kilkennycat
        • 13 years ago

        Microsoft are not being NICE (at least for Retail purchasers of WindowsXP) They are legally obligated to reactive Retail WindowsXP on successively different hardware as many times as the licensee needs. See Section 4 of the Retail WindowsXP Home EULA, for example. The only obligation on the customer is for him/her to totally remove the software from the previous hardware. ( Microsoft’s Genuine Advantage tool will detect the old installation as being invalid anyway once the new one is authenticated )

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    I’m pretty anti-pirate, anti-copyright infringement and so on but if there’s a crack that allows me to run my legally purchased copy of Vista on one PC there’s no doubt I’ll use it if MS suddenly decides I’m running an illegal OS.

    • ej4love
    • 13 years ago

    meant as a a reply to #2 i have one system at work, on my company network, running a program for a wide format scanning and printing device, and all the other software my company installed on it after i placed it on it network,that baby locks up daily. i have to do a reboot every day to get it to run properly, so xp can get corrupted. and need a fresh install.

      • kilkennycat
      • 13 years ago

      A fresh install on exactly the same machine is not viewed by the Microsoft authentication data-base for either XP or Vista purposes as “another device” (Vista) or a ‘different Workstation Computer”(XP).
      The data-key in the authentication data-base does not change; thus a reinstall does not create a reauthentication flag.

    • cRock
    • 13 years ago

    I had a friend with a valid XP home key that MS decided wasn’t valid under WGA anymore. That’s it, too bad, buy a new license you rube. How ridiculous is that? It’s going to happen more with Vista.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 13 years ago

    I bought my XP several days after if was released. I have to support it afterall. Since then, I’ve reinstalled it … maybe into the double digits, but we’re talking about at least 4 motherboards here too (which demand a new install with XP). So this is good news to me.

      • cass
      • 13 years ago

      funny, I just switched from a socket A motherboard with AMD sempron over to a E6300 and socket T (LGA 775) and didn’t have to reinstall. Did have to reactivate, but that didn’t require a phone call since this was only the 2nd activation for that key.

    • Vaughn
    • 13 years ago

    I agree with all u guys, if your reinstalling XP every 2 months, u either have faulty hardware, or don’t know how to use a computer properly. U might wanna take a basic computer course or something.

    • Fighterpilot
    • 13 years ago

    Talk about not being able to take “yes” for an answer.
    All the MS haters get pwned once again.
    Think im wrong?…just check out the tantrums getting thrown on the TR front page a few days ago when more of this anti vista FUD came swirling around the Net.

    • tukkus
    • 13 years ago

    #15…I’m not saying this to be a jerk…. you don’t actually buy thier product in the sense that you own it and can do as you please, you own that plastic disk, not the contents…you simply are buying a license from M$ that allows you to use their software and you are agreeing to their terms when you do so.

    I dislike it just as much as anyone because i like to reinstall instead of running AV/Spyware/defrag ect. and if i want to reinstall 10x a year cause my comp is whorin’ all over the net, i should be able to without begging Bill for permission.

    Imma wait for all the reviews to come in before I decide to buy or warez, i just upgraded to XP pro from 98SE 4-5 months ago so i’m not in a hurry to get a new OS anyway

    • Resomegnis
    • 13 years ago

    For starters there are absolutely ZERO reasons for upgrading to Vista short of Direct X 10. Or if they have something built into Windows that will manage the registry (freakin mess!).

    People will crack Vista, you will find a program, much like in XP, that will crack the activations. So why does it even matter?

    Furthermore, OS XI. The all purpose Mac OS which will work on all systems, support Windows, Linux, and Mac programs etc. So I think I might just leave Windows behind and get the right one this time.

    • blastdoor
    • 13 years ago

    Well one might have said so in the first place!

    What a PR screw-up — they managed to irritate one of the most easily irritated (and VOCAL) groups of people out there, all for no good reason. Heck, given that they’ve already suffered the PR hit, maybe they should just stick with the terms as originally perceived and screw everyone over anyway.

    But I guess I have to give them credit for not being as stupid/greedy as they first appeared.

      • SGT Lindy
      • 13 years ago

      They dont care about this crowd….vocal or not as its probably >1% of sales.

      This “crowd” probably pirates more than any, trash talks MS more than any and probably is the most likely to move to another OS because they hate MS for whatever reason.

      Honestly whe their OS sales through Dell in one day probably out number the OS sales to people/geeks….or want to be geeks the constantly upgrade their hardware (neede or not) live to benchmark, or rebuild their systems every 2 months in one year.

        • blastdoor
        • 13 years ago

        Numerically you are correct — the computer geek crowd is pretty small. But they are influential beyond their numbers, because these are the people who give advice to everyone else on computer purchases. All of the “sixpacks” out there (to use the Overclockers.com term) have their geeky relative or friend who they turn to for advice. Granted, if the computer geek advice is to install Linux, the computer geek will most likely be ignored.

        But what if the computer geek says “I advise not upgrading to Vista right away — wait about a year” — that sounds pretty reasonable, and could adversely affect MS. In a minority of cases, some geeks might even advise someone to get a Mac — an option that will seem much more appealing to sixpacks than Linux, if for no other reason than Apple has better marketing than Linux (although there are other reasons, too). Even if MS just loses 1 or 2 % marketshare, that’s a lot of money.

          • SGT Lindy
          • 13 years ago

          98% of Vista sales on home PC’s will be with the sale of a new PC. Joe six pack does not upgrade his OS, he upgrades his PC.

          I used to build PC’s for my friends and relitives when building them saved you alot of money and got you away from proprietary hardware that stopped you from upgrading at a later date.

          These days a Joe Six pack PC from Dell or HP is cheap and in most cases cheaper then building an equivilant PC off of parts from NewEgg provided you wait for a sale. Get a good deal on a Dell or HP desktop for your Joe Six Pack customer and maybe add some RAM if they do more then surf the web, email, music and photo dumping from their digital camera. 3-4 years later toss the whole thing and get a new one.

          Also you can easily upgrade things like RAM, Hard Drives, Video Cards and even CPU’s on a Dell or HP box…..so being a friend of a Joe Six pack will often mean you do some minor hardware upgrades, spyware cleaning or recomending what new Joe Six Pack PC to buy……that will have Vista on it very soon.

          I know from my Dell rep at work they will be pushing Vista on new boxes the day it comes out.

    • odizzido
    • 13 years ago

    This up to 10 times thing is really putting me off of buying this OS. If I have hardware problems or whatever, I could “run out” of installs.

    • DukenukemX
    • 13 years ago

    It funny that this is the crap that paying customers have to go through yet Pirates have it rather easy. You go to your favorite warz site and download Vista cracked. OMG I upgraded my hard drive 9 times for some reason and I want to upgrade again. No problem your Vista is pirated. It’s unlimited!

    It’s like Microsoft wants people to pirate Vista cause it would make more sense then actually buying the restricted version.

      • dmitriylm
      • 13 years ago

      Riiiiight…because we know how often the average consumer upgrades their hard drives.

      • kilkennycat
      • 13 years ago

      Warez copies of Windows XP can no longer be updated from the state in which they were warez’ed. The new ‘phone-home’ Genuine Windows authentication tool takes care of that. And for Vista, the program will fail to work if it cannot be ‘phone-home’ authenticated as the genuine article running on the hardware with which it was originally authenticated.

    • cass
    • 13 years ago

    q[

    • Proesterchen
    • 13 years ago

    I don’t like the thought of being at Microsoft’s mercy even though I actually bought their product. And this bit does nothing to change that.

    • evermore
    • 13 years ago

    Just because some monkey in the licensing department said it, doesn’t make it true. Why would the EULA say one transfer if they’re just going to say “oh we didn’t really mean that”? Unless they plan to later implement strict enforcement and wanted the EULA to say one transfer right from the start, so if they change policies to allow more transfers, they’re being generous, and if they enforce it, well the license says it.

    Incidentally, if I just change out a motherboard/CPU but am still using the same hard drive, according to this, that shouldn’t count against the transfer limit. Even though I’d have to probably Repair install or do a complete wipe.

    • FubbHead
    • 13 years ago

    I still wondering — how is that not restricting enthusiasts.. 🙂

      • just brew it!
      • 13 years ago

      Maybe the headline should be “Vista licensing terms won’t restrict enthusiasts … much”

      😉

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    Vista has a ‘call home and check’ feature a la WGA right? If so limited installation only serves one purpose, selling additional keys when MS feels like it, because with a call-home system there should be no way to install on multiple systems. I’d just as soon they explicitly explain a call-home system in the EULA and have unlimited installs, the only people who wouldn’t are those pirating it. Any silly ‘omggg MS is spying on me’ complaints are just cover for installing on multiple machines. ‘Up to x times’ is still lame no matter what, just make it unlimited number of times and usable on one machine at a time only.

    • RickyG512
    • 13 years ago

    what about when you do the general format and instal xp again like every 2 months

      • just brew it!
      • 13 years ago

      Why would you be doing that? Windows hasn’t needed frequent reformats/reinstalls to maintain decent stability since the dark days of Windows ME.

      If your system is being clobbered by malware that frequently, you really need to install some decent AV/spyware protection, and learn to practice safe computing (lay off the warez sites). 😉

        • Dirge
        • 13 years ago

        In my experience Win XP begins to slow down after a few months of general use. What I have found best is to re-install around the six month mark.

        Before anyone blames spyware and viruses, I use Firefox and don’t install allot of unnecessary software. Yep I have Anti Virus as well as anti malware software. No I do not frequent warez or other illicit sites.

        I defragment the hard drive regularly but there comes a point where its just nicer to re-install and get a fresh system.

      • indeego
      • 13 years ago

      sigh… people still do thatg{

        • 5150
        • 13 years ago

        Man, I used to format constantly, I haven’t now for over 18 months!

        • A_Pickle
        • 13 years ago

        Seriously. I try to keep my XP formats few and far between so as to ward off the annoyance of Mac zealots aplenty. I’ve never, ever, /[

        • blitzy
        • 13 years ago

        my computer runs like a pig after a few months, and no I don’t download and install lots of warez, nor do I have any viruses or spyware. Its just seems that the operating system slowly becomes bloated as you install more software (or install and uninstall it later).

        The OS is still useable, but when you compare a fresh install to an old one its like night and day. Fresh install is snappy, the old one is sluggish and crap, even if you try and hunt down services that arent required.

        Probably windows registry is to blame, I dont know why its sort of black magic.

          • indeego
          • 13 years ago

          How about some benches. Not that I don’t believe you, but I don’t see this in the fieldg{<.<}g

          • bthylafh
          • 13 years ago

          Funny, I’ve had the same XP install since 3Q ’03 and no problems. It’s gotten regular and heavy use as I install and remove games and utilities. I’m careful about what I visit and install, and I run stuff like ccleaner and defrag fairly regularly.

          Antivirus slows me down, but that’s a cost of having a Windows partition for playing games, and likewise Saitek’s programmable software for my X45 and P880.

      • kaikara
      • 13 years ago

      I have been running the same copy of XP on the same drive since i got my 74GB raptor and made it my primary drive 2 or 3 years ago. It runs as good if not better then when I installed it. Why would you formatting and reinstalling that much if you weren’t having hardware problems?

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 13 years ago

        even if you aren’t having problems with malware, over time junk accumulates in the registry/other and windows slows down from the bloat.
        thats why enthusiasts reinstall.
        vista might handle accumulated crap better than XP, but I doubt its improved enough to say you will never need to reinstall the OS.

        windows really needs an install monitor that completely removes all crap installed from programs when you uninstall them.

          • just brew it!
          • 13 years ago

          I didn’t say a reinstall was *[

            • A_Pickle
            • 13 years ago

            Yeah… and… you can run XP forever without ever /[

          • BaldApe
          • 13 years ago

          Tune-up utilities 2006 has an excellent registry cleaner. also, if you use their install/uninstall manager, it will use the functionality of the registry cleaner to completely cleanup after a program is removed.

          I agree that this sort of functionality should be included with the os. I havent needed to reinstall xp ever. And I agree with others that have said that reformatting a hard drive is silly unless you are actually switching to a different format. Ignorance isnt always bliss.

        • bthylafh
        • 13 years ago

        Cargo cultism is my guess. I’ve known someone who believed that Windows should be blown away and reinstalled regularly to keep it fresh, whether it needed it or not. IIRC this was in the Windows 98 days.

      • Sargent Duck
      • 13 years ago

      hmmmm, since switching to XP when it came out, I’ve re-formated/re-installed XP probably once every 18 months or so. If you know how to look after XP, you really don’t need to reformat that often.

      • Taddeusz
      • 13 years ago

      Every two months is a little extreme. My current install of XP is only a few months old and it actually went through a motherboard switch since then. I was dreading having to reinstall but it booted right up and detected all the hardware. Runs like a champ. I was rather pleased.

      Like someone else said. If your system is getting that junked up maybe you should take some precautions about where you go on the internet. Safe browsing habits are the cornerstone of a clean computer.

      • eitje
      • 13 years ago

      maybe if you’re upgrading your motherboard and using different RAID controllers every 2 months…. i could see having to do this.

      • BoBzeBuilder
      • 13 years ago

      I know what you mean. When I feel its time to get rid of all the pr0n, spyware and viruses, I just reinstall xp.

      • nerdrage
      • 13 years ago

      I’m still running a copy of XP that I installed in November 2002 – with no anti-virus, and no resident anti-spyware. And no problems/slowdowns. You’re doing something wrong…

        • Vrock
        • 13 years ago

        Do yourself a favor and get AVG Free. Run it. You might be surpised what you find living on your hard drive.

    • just brew it!
    • 13 years ago

    Unfortunately, hard drives are the most failure-prone component in a system. Tying activation to the motherboard probably makes more sense, since you’ll generally need to reinstall Windows and reactivate anyway, if you upgrade the motherboard.

      • Lazier_Said
      • 13 years ago

      Hard drives are the most failure prone component, but that’s still not very common.

      Thinking back, I have gone through 8 or 9 boot drives in my primary system, including both failures and upgrades.

      That covered 10 years and 4 operating systems.

      In principle I don’t like activation and I don’t like hard counts limiting my use of software. In practice, I have a hard time coming up with a situation where this will actually limit me.

        • CampinCarl
        • 13 years ago

        Perhaps a re-hash of Deathstar-esque failures across WD or Seagate would limit it.

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