New Build with Win7 Pro 64-bit. Which to get, OEM or Retail?

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Scott J
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New Build with Win7 Pro 64-bit. Which to get, OEM or Retail?

Post by Scott J » Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:08 pm

Hi everyone,

This is my first PC build. I was really hesitant about building my own PC at first, but the more I've learned about it, the more I'm looking forward to it. I've spent the last couple of weeks trying to research everything. I have a few questions, but to try and keep things simple, I'll keep each question limited to its own Thread. My current PC is an old Dell Dimension from 2004, with XP (service pack 3). I'm starting from scratch on the new PC, transferring the old files that I want to keep via external hard drive, so I don't think I can upgrade from my original OEM installation on my old computer.

So if I understand correctly, I need a new version of Win7 at 64-bit. It seems like the least expensive way to get it is to buy an OEM version, at around $130 to $140, much cheaper than the "full retail" version at around $275.


Is there any reason NOT to get the OEM version of Win7 Pro?

Nick Geraedts
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Re: New Build with Win7 Pro 64-bit. Which to get, OEM or Ret

Post by Nick Geraedts » Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:36 pm

Scott J wrote:Is there any reason NOT to get the OEM version of Win7 Pro?
Features wise - they are the same. The things that you'll be missing from a retail edition include:

- No official support from Microsoft. You'll still receive updates and whatnot, but you won't be able to call them regarding issues you'll have (few people do this anyways)
- Your license is now "tied" to the hardware you first install it on. If you purchase a new computer, you will not be able to transfer your license of Windows to the new system.*



*Yes, yes. There are ways of going about this restriction, but they're technically illegal, so let's not go there.

audiojar
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Post by audiojar » Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:08 pm

I believe you theoretically/legally can use an upgrade copy if you plan on not using your copy of XP on the old machine anymore (if you are throwing it away or putting Linux on it, for example). It can be a hassle and requires one of a number of different workarounds. But you do have the right to transfer XP to a new machine and thus are eligible for an upgrade license.

It's easier just to get the OEM (which is around the same price as the upgrade), but the option is there if you value being able to transfer your Windows 7 license to a new computer in the future.

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Post by xan_user » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:42 pm

fwiw- upgrade7 is easy to install on a fresh drive via double install or a simple regedit.

Scott J
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Re: New Build with Win7 Pro 64-bit. Which to get, OEM or Ret

Post by Scott J » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:53 pm

Nick Geraedts wrote:
Scott J wrote:Is there any reason NOT to get the OEM version of Win7 Pro?
Features wise - they are the same. The things that you'll be missing from a retail edition include:

- No official support from Microsoft. You'll still receive updates and whatnot, but you won't be able to call them regarding issues you'll have (few people do this anyways)
- Your license is now "tied" to the hardware you first install it on. If you purchase a new computer, you will not be able to transfer your license of Windows to the new system.*

Hi Nick,

I'm guessing when you say a "new computer" that would also mean just the motherboard, i.e., if I upgrade my motherboard, that's probably considered a "new computer" as far as the OS license is concerned?

Part of my reason for choosing to build my own system (for the first time) is to get away from this cycle of buying the best computer I can afford, and then running it until it's so obsolete or tired that I have to start over with a whole new computer. If I understand correctly, part of the advantage of building your own custom computer is that I can upgrade individual components over time, the idea being that you can stay more or less "current" as technology improves.

I might be content to stick with the i7-860 all the way through the next generation of processors, but the generation after that might be worth upgrading to. That would almost certainly require a new motherboard for the new processor, whatever it is (whatever comes after the hexa-core and eight-core processors). If I "upgrade" my original Windows XP that came pre-installed on my Dell back in 2004, then I could keep "upgrading" from Win7 to whatever comes after Win7, and if I change motherboards there's no problem re-installing it again, correct?

But if I break the "chain" now, and purchase an OEM Win7, I could upgrade from that to Win8 (as long as I'm still using the same computer) when it comes out, but if I change motherboards, I would have to start over by buying either another OEM copy or a full retail copy of whatever the current Windows operating system is?

Scott J
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Post by Scott J » Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:20 pm

audiojar wrote:I believe you theoretically/legally can use an upgrade copy if you plan on not using your copy of XP on the old machine anymore (if you are throwing it away or putting Linux on it, for example). It can be a hassle and requires one of a number of different workarounds. But you do have the right to transfer XP to a new machine and thus are eligible for an upgrade license.

It's easier just to get the OEM (which is around the same price as the upgrade), but the option is there if you value being able to transfer your Windows 7 license to a new computer in the future.
I don't plan on using the old computer again, she has worked hard for a lot of years and she's ready to retire. I have each of my other old computers (at least 3 of them, dating back to 1992 with Windows 3.1 and my Ami Pro word processor!), but I doubt they would even boot up.

It's beginning to sound like it would be wiser to spend the extra $35 ($140 for OEM vs. $175 for upgrade) to get an "Upgrade" copy of Win7 Pro 64-bit for my new computer, and that would preserve my options and allow me to re-install the OS if/when I upgrade to a better motherboard and processor.


How would I "upgrade" to a full version of Win7 Pro 64-bit?

I just checked my drawer for all of my old installation disks. I found my original Windows95 with "For Distribution Only with a New PC" written on it, and then I found the (still sealed!) "Operating System - Already Installed on Your Computer - Reinstallation CD Microsoft Windows XP Professional Including Service Pack 1a" disk. Never been opened :shock:

If I buy the new Win7 Pro 64-bit upgrade, how would I install it? Would I just break open my WinXP Pro and install it on the new computer first, and then install the Win7 Pro "upgrade" disc immediately after?

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Post by xan_user » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:06 pm

Easy as pie.

Code: Select all

HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Setup/OOBE/

Change MediaBootInstall from "1" to "0".


http://www.winsupersite.com/win7/clean_ ... _media.asp


If you can still find W7 Family pack you get 3 upgrades, of any combo of 32 or 64 bit for $150. (both 64/32 discs come in the box)

(ie legally install 64x3 // or 32x2 +64x1 // or 64x2 + 32x1 // or 32x3 as long as they are "under one family roof")

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Post by psiu » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:50 pm

OEM should be fine. I would just assume your motherboard has gone bad and you needed to replace it in a few years. I've never had any problems reactivating after that situation (never even had to call, though I've heard it is quite painless).

I would go for Pro x64 at this point--may as well get on the 64-bit bandwagon and the Pro offers RDP hosting and XP Mode (with a supported processor.

Good luck :D

Riffer
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Post by Riffer » Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:19 am

I just bought retail. Worth the extra $ to avoid hassles in the future. Just keep an eye out for a deal. I got mine with a $50 Paypal cash back.

idale
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Post by idale » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:43 am

audiojar wrote:I believe you theoretically/legally can use an upgrade copy if you plan on not using your copy of XP on the old machine anymore (if you are throwing it away or putting Linux on it, for example).
If it's an OEM copy of XP (like in the OP's case), then it's tied to that "computer" (for whatever specific definition of "computer" MS uses) and is nontransferable. Sure, you could do it anyway, but it's certainly not acceptable under the EULA.
Scott J wrote:How would I "upgrade" to a full version of Win7 Pro 64-bit?
Upgrade won't work in your case (legally, that is), since you're coming from an OEM XP on the old computer, but for reference, you can do clean installs from the upgrade media onto a new drive. The upgrade I did for Win7 so far at home was onto a wiped partition on a drive with an existing Vista install, so I can't be sure of what it might take extra this time, but for Vista you would install twice (first time just to get a base system, then the second time would count as the "upgrade" and would allow you to activate). May not be necessary anymore, I'll eventually see for myself when I upgrade my laptop off RC1 (single-partition on the laptop, only had two partitions on the other machine for dual-booting).


As has been said, you should be fine with an OEM version. While it's tied to that computer, chances are that you won't run afoul of component change limits before you're ready to upgrade to Win8 or whatever. You can change several sorts of components without any trouble, and if you change a motherboard then you'll probably just have to reactivate online. Worst case is you have to call in, but sounds like that's usually just an automated menu you navigate and get approval that way.

audiojar
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Post by audiojar » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:22 pm

Are you sure that OEM versions of XP are non-transferable? I seem to remember reading that making the OEM version of 7 non-transferable was a new thing.

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Post by xan_user » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:43 pm

audiojar wrote:Are you sure that OEM versions of XP are non-transferable? I seem to remember reading that making the OEM version of 7 non-transferable was a new thing.
AFAIK there are two kinds of OEM windows discs, ones from gateway and dell ect, that you cant use on other hardware. and OEM versions like you get from neweeg with purchase of mobo, those are transferable.

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Post by SebRad » Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:41 pm

Just to wade in with my 2p worth there is difference between what you CAN do and what you MAY do.
With OEM the License it doesn't permit you to transfer to another system, retail does. In practice you can with no problem. I've upgraded and changed my PC and reinstalled Vista OEM 3 - 4 times with no issue at all. If frequency gets to high you have to call MS. I've done this for XP PCs I've repaired using original CoA so legit. Ring the number on screen and then follow the automated voice prompts. Type in the number the PC gives you and the system gives you back a number to type in to the PC. Long and fiddly bit not a problem.
I'm now using my Vista 32bit OEM licence with 64bit install and it works fine! Now sure if Win 7 same and would need to "obtain" the 64bit install disk as the OEMs are one or the other.
I got Win 7 HP retail on the pre order thing for £45 and it has both 32 and 64 bit DVDs. Wish I'd bought several copies now...
With XP OEM my experience is the big OEMs (Dell HP etc) do tie it to the hardware but "ordinary" OEM windows will work if transferred to another PC, although this is against the license restrictions.

Hope this helps more than confuses, Seb

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Post by idale » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:24 am

SebRad wrote:With XP OEM my experience is the big OEMs (Dell HP etc) do tie it to the hardware but "ordinary" OEM windows will work if transferred to another PC, although this is against the license restrictions.
This is more what I was recalling, as well. I don't believe you've ever been allowed (by the EULA) to transfer an OEM copy (that's why you get the discount compared to a full retail copy), though in the case of major OEM-provided discs you may have been prevented from successfully installing on generic hardware (the OEM may have added something to the install disc to check if the hardware was Dell/HP/whatever).

If I can remember, I may see what documentation came with my Vista and Win7 OEM discs, but I'm fairly positive that it's always been disallowed by the EULA. (Obviously, that has no bearing on the physical possibility of transferring, but I'm pretty sure that it's never been contractually allowed.)

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Post by Riffer » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:55 am

idale wrote:
SebRad wrote:With XP OEM my experience is the big OEMs (Dell HP etc) do tie it to the hardware but "ordinary" OEM windows will work if transferred to another PC, although this is against the license restrictions.
This is more what I was recalling, as well. I don't believe you've ever been allowed (by the EULA) to transfer an OEM copy (that's why you get the discount compared to a full retail copy), though in the case of major OEM-provided discs you may have been prevented from successfully installing on generic hardware (the OEM may have added something to the install disc to check if the hardware was Dell/HP/whatever).

If I can remember, I may see what documentation came with my Vista and Win7 OEM discs, but I'm fairly positive that it's always been disallowed by the EULA. (Obviously, that has no bearing on the physical possibility of transferring, but I'm pretty sure that it's never been contractually allowed.)
I never figured out what the rules where, but I have one OEM XP licence that will not transfer and two that I have transferred dozens of times.

I suspect the new Windows 7 licences are restricted to the motherboard and you won't be able to transfer without calling (if that). I haven't received a definitive answer on other hardware changes.

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Post by idale » Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:22 am

Riffer wrote:I never figured out what the rules where, but I have one OEM XP licence that will not transfer and two that I have transferred dozens of times.
I'm assuming that's by the "try it and see if it works" method (feel free to correct me, though), which is where we're making the distinction between "physically possible" and "contractually allowed". Generally MS has few physical limitations in place (though particular OEMs may modify their version of the installer), it's all in the licensing where you aren't given permission to reinstall on new hardware (even though if you actually try, most likely nothing will pop up and flag you as breaking the license).

As I recall the situation to be:
  • OEM copies from a major OEM (Dell, HP, etc.) are restricted to that "computer", and may have a modified installer to prevent you from installing elsewhere.
  • Vanilla OEM copies (such as through component supply stores) are restricted to whatever "computer" you first install to, but don't have checks in place to prevent other installs (and depending on hardware differences and timing and such, activation may be successful as well whether it's automatic or via phone).
  • Retail copies are restricted to one "computer" at a time, and again there's not really much in the way of checks that are done to prevent breaking the licensing.
But don't get me wrong, I'm glad it's fairly lenient, since then I don't have to worry about whether a component upgrade is going to break my OS. It's a pretty grey area (IMO) when you truly have a "new computer" anyway. You can define it as a motherboard swap or some change in a certain number of components, but sometimes those swaps are more like organ replacements than "upgrades" (say your heart is failing and you need a new one; does that make you a "new person" after a transplant/artificial heart?).

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Post by Riffer » Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:28 am

[quote="idale.... but sometimes those swaps are more like organ replacements than "upgrades" (say your heart is failing and you need a new one; does that make you a "new person" after a transplant/artificial heart?).[/quote]

Lol! I tried to explain to Norton that it wasn't a new "computer", just the same computer with a new motherboard, CPU, memory and hard drives. I can't believe they wouldn't let me reuse my licence :)

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Post by audiojar » Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:44 pm

I demand that Microsoft answer these important philosophical questions before I choose which type of Windows 7 to get. So Bill, does swapping out a MB and CPU make oneself a new entity even if the exact contents of the HD are preserved? Wont my PC still think it's its same old self, only faster?

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Post by idale » Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:01 pm

Riffer wrote:
idale wrote:.... but sometimes those swaps are more like organ replacements than "upgrades" (say your heart is failing and you need a new one; does that make you a "new person" after a transplant/artificial heart?).
Lol! I tried to explain to Norton that it wasn't a new "computer", just the same computer with a new motherboard, CPU, memory and hard drives. I can't believe they wouldn't let me reuse my licence :)
Norton probably wouldn't let you reuse it even if you simply installed a new program on your hard drive. ;) (Norton Utilities used to be awesome back in the days of Peter Norton, but Symantec's hosed the consumer stuff up nicely IMO. But I digress.)

But lol yes, there's some nebulous (IMO) point where your "computer" becomes a new "computer". Replace all that at once and it's fairly obvious, replace slowly over time and it seems a little less obvious, since if the last component replacement wasn't a new "computer" then why should this one? :) Or if you say that a motherboard makes it "new", then what if your motherboard dies and you replace it with the same model (seems "the same" to me)? Similar model (maybe your exact model isn't available anymore, would seem okay to me)? Uber Super Mega Xtreme model (I'd say that'd be "new")? Doesn't seem like something straightforward you can just make a black-and-white decision on without causing problems or pissing a bunch of people off (not that someone in the position of Microsoft would even have to care).

At least Microsoft's activation seeming to be so laid back will help you not have to keep rebuying Windows licenses all the time, even if Norton's asking for more money every time you cough. ;)
audiojar wrote:I demand that Microsoft answer these important philosophical questions before I choose which type of Windows 7 to get.
Windows 7 Philosophy Major Edition!

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Post by danimal » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:57 pm

audiojar wrote:I demand that Microsoft answer these important philosophical questions before I choose which type of Windows 7 to get. So Bill, does swapping out a MB and CPU make oneself a new entity even if the exact contents of the HD are preserved? Wont my PC still think it's its same old self, only faster?
lol

i've never seen any reference to any specific computer hardware part in any microsoft eula.

the borg have claimed that it's tied to the motherboard, but never in the eula itself, which is the only legally binding document that matters... and the legality of a software eula in general is questionable.

the smartest thing to do when buying windows 7 is to do it with an edu address, it used to be $29 for a fully legal downloadable win7 pro file.

the previous edu deal for ordering the discs directly from microsoft ended a couple of days ago, here is the newest version of it: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/expired ... =windows+7

Scott J
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Post by Scott J » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:00 pm

Hey everyone, thanks for all the great replies. I checked in yesterday and I could read everything, but I couldn't log in. I reset the password and today it seems to be working.

I'm not a lawyer, and I don't think two lawyers could agree on what a EULA means or constitutes. Be that as it may, I want to try to do it right, just as inexpensively as I can, so it looks like OEM system builder pack is the least expensive way to go. By the time I'm ready to replace the computer, there ought to have been a couple of new generations of "Windows" that will have come and gone.

If I understand correctly, I'll have to pay for an "upgrade" each step along the way, and in my online price-searches, the "upgrade" license appears to be more expensive than the "OEM" license.

If I'm missing something, somebody please let me know, and thanks again,

Scott

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Post by psiu » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:33 am

Part of the problem is that MS does change the EULA, does explain things and then change their mind, remove previous explanations from the web, and have about a billion versions of the OS.

I also aim for: buying a license, as cheap as I can. So here we now have 2 OEM Vista Home, 1 Vista Ultimate, and 1 XP Pro that are replaced with 1 Win7 Home (free for the laptop), and 3 Win7 Pro (all student copies--one Ultimat Steal, one Win741, and one from my wife's college).

It works for me, but it would great for MS to maybe even emulate Apple, and Intel a bit. Apple has one version of their system. No starter, no Ultimate, no x86 or x64 etc. And Intel's method of CPU updates is doing wonders for them (their tick-tock method, one major release followed by evolutionary while another team is working on the next major one). Windows 7 is obviously in many ways just an upgrade and tweak of Vista. W8 should be a bigger upgrade (one to skip? :wink: ). Make the prices within reason and people will buy Windows. Too much, and you get people stealing or making the jump to Linux.

Just a rambling early morning rant, enjoy :P

BTW, did you decide on which version (x86/64, Home or Pro) to buy?

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Post by idale » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:36 am

psiu wrote:Part of the problem is that MS does change the EULA, does explain things and then change their mind, remove previous explanations from the web, and have about a billion versions of the OS.
http://oem.microsoft.com/script/content ... eid=563841 (Licensing for Hobbyists)

According to this, we're all hosed, lol. (OEM isn't valid for building for yourself, only building for resale. Of course, the pricing on OEM makes it much more palatable than retail for personal builds. If we could get retail copies at OEM prices, or even some special "hobbyist license" at OEM prices, then it'd be much more reasonable.)


Also, from http://oem.microsoft.com/script/content ... eid=552846 :
Generally, an end user can upgrade or replace all of the hardware components on a computer—except the motherboard—and still retain the license for the original Microsoft OEM operating system software. If the motherboard is upgraded or replaced for reasons other than a defect, then a new computer has been created. Microsoft OEM operating system software cannot be transferred to the new computer, and the license of new operating system software is required. If the motherboard is replaced because it is defective, you do not need to acquire a new operating system license for the PC as long as the replacement motherboard is the same make/model or the same manufacturer's replacement/equivalent, as defined by the manufacturer's warranty.

The reason for this licensing rule primarily relates to the End User Software License Terms and the support of the software covered by that End User Software License Terms. The End User Software License Terms is a set of usage rights granted to the end user by the PC manufacturer and relates only to rights for that software as installed on that particular PC. The system builder is required to support the software on the original PC. Understanding that end users, over time, upgrade their PCs with different components, Microsoft needed to have one base component "left standing" that would still define the original PC. Since the motherboard contains the CPU and is the "heart and soul" of the PC, when the motherboard is replaced (for reasons other than defect) a new PC is essentially created. The original system builder did not manufacture this new PC, and therefore cannot be expected to support it.
Last edited by idale on Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by xan_user » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:49 am

M$'s recent tact of theft of code ect. nullifies their half of the EULA in my mind.

Get off your high horse M$, and practice what you preach.

Microsoft caught stealing

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Post by idale » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:58 am

xan_user wrote:M$'s recent tact of theft of code ect. nullifies their half of the EULA in my mind.
Certainly a fair enough view. I'm not about to run out and go retail for all my computers I've put OEM on before, but it's definitely something to bring up that to be in good standing in the EULA you'd need to abide by certain restrictions. You of course may choose to not worry about it for various reasons, but that's left up to each of us to decide (I wouldn't advise someone to go against the EULA, but if they want to, then that's their decision to make).

As mentioned in my edit about the "for hobbyists" link, I'd definitely much rather see retail (or a hobbyist-oriented license) at OEM prices, since retail versions are still rather expensive. High retail prices mean more people are likely to be inclined to ignore various restrictions just to try and get a more reasonable cost (buy OEM instead of retail, move license from computer to computer, etc.). Honestly, OEM usage for the purposes we tend to use it for seems fair to me, it's just that we're not transferring ownership of the final product to someone else (if we were, maybe we could actually afford retail licenses on all our boxes :P).

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Post by xan_user » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:33 am

idale wrote: (buy OEM instead of retail, move license from computer to computer, etc.).
Or hit the torrents or ebay for a hot technet copy for the cost of a twelve pack.

For the record im in full compliance with M$ EULA. except for one xp on my machine that has no phone or internet, that cant be activated without a 1.5 drive. (which I used to do til the mobo had to be rma'd)
I am so sick of M$ making us jump through hoops to prove we actually bought their products, at this point its way easier to cheat than comply.
Recently I didn't activate one of my W7 family pack installs and after 30 days it said my copy was counterfeit. At M$ you're guilty until proven innocent. What a fantastic way to treat your customers...

If I hadn't been able to pick up the family pack deal for $50 a lic, I would not have gotten (or paid for at least) W7.

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Post by idale » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:07 am

xan_user wrote:Recently I didn't activate one of my W7 family pack installs and after 30 days it said my copy was counterfeit. At M$ you're guilty until proven innocent. What a fantastic way to treat your customers...
What I find staggering is that for all the complaining you get after the activation period, it doesn't look like anything bad actually happens on Server 2008. Consumer versions are supposed to start shutting down after a couple of hours if they remain unactivated, but no such behavior seems apparent on the server side for whatever reason (maybe so a false positive from WGA doesn't shut the server down?). Maybe something subtle is still there, but it really looks like nothing happens other than you get bugged every time you log in and the desktop says something or other. (Or maybe they no longer want pirated consumer OSes, but still want penetration in the server space and so look the other way on that.)

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