Not all copies of Windows are created equal

Photo: Amazon

OEM copies of Windows Home Edition may or may not suit every customer. Home Edition isn’t suitable for corporate use. Be aware of what’s lacking before buying.

If you already have a computer, and need to buy Microsoft Windows, your options can be confusing. I have a customer who purchased a computer with a pirated Enterprise copy of Windows XP installed on it: it has no COA of any kind. While shopping for a legitimate copy of Windows XP, I ran across this realistic description of an OEM copy of Windows XP Home Edition.

These caveats also apply to Windows Vista and Windows 7.

From Comments on Amazon

Comments by J. Levene (Atlanta, GA USA) regarding Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition SP2B for System Builders [OLD VERSION] (CD-ROM)

A lot of people have said "I don’t know what’s the difference between this and the full (retail) version." Allow me:

1- This is about half the $$.

2- If you get the full (more expensive version) and the PC (or its motherboard) dies, or you just want to replace (upgrade) it, you can move the (expensive) copy of XP to the new machine. You are NOT allowed to do that with this cheaper copy. It is "tied" to one PC (or one motherboard, depending).

3- This is XP Home. Compared to XP Pro, Home doesn’t have the Encryption File System, Group Policies, Remote Desktop (server), Dynamic Disk support, Disk Manager, IIS (bad web server), Active Directory, Domain Login, Roaming Profiles, and only supports simplified (network) file security and not ACLs. The idea is that these are all things "corporate" users want and "Home" users don’t need. The fact that you don’t know what they are rather proves the point, doesn’t it?

4- If you’re using this in a "virtual" situation (like VMWare, or maybe in a Window on a Mac, but probably not with Boot Camp), the software may not be able to tell it’s been moved, so item #2 may not apply to your situation. But I *think* it would be outside the terms of your license. But, really, who can tell? The "license agreement" is longer than a Russian novel, and mostly gibberish.

At least the Vista "agreement" (like you’re actually agreeing to anything) says clearly that if you replace the motherboard, you have to buy another copy. Yes, it does.

I would add that an OEM copy does NOT entitle you to free tech support from Microsoft. (You are expected to receive tech support from the OEM — Dell, Sony, Gateway, etc. — whoever built the computer. If YOU built the computer, you are responsible for providing tech support.)

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

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