Microsoft hobbles Windows Vista

Ed Bott has aa article on ZDNet comparing the licencing terms of Windows XP and the forthcoming retail version of Windows Vista (Microsoft’s upcoming successor for XP).

It turns out that whereas with Windows XP you could re-install the OS on as many different machines as you wished (as long as it was deleted off previous machines – i.e. transferring the OS from one computer to another), with Windows Vista that functionality will only be allowed one time and will likely be enforced using the ironically named Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA). Further, if you fail to validate your OS with WGA, Microsoft cripples your system, no longer allowing you to access most of the computer’s functionality.

Because you never know when you might need to transfer your licence to another machine my advice would be don’t buy Windows Vista. There are plenty of credible alternatives, not the least of which is the Mac!

11 thoughts on “Microsoft hobbles Windows Vista”

  1. Microsoft didn’t take too kindly to that transferring of windows from one computer to another… I had a copy of XP home on a desktop and a copy of millennium (heaven forbid) on my laptop…. so, went to switch them over. Two very legal copies of both OSs, millennium went back in fine on the desktop and XP stalled for me to register it on the laptop. Internet registration wouldn’t work so I rang Microsoft directly – “Sorry… no can do. You’re not allowed put it on another machine, you’ll have to cancel you’re installation and restore your machine”… this, after the other version of windows ported fine to the desktop. Damn them and their XP ways!

  2. That’s strange Ken – because in the story, Ed specifically quotes the Windows XP licence terms which allow that:

    You may move the Product to a different Workstation Computer. After the transfer, you must completely remove the Product from the former Workstation Computer. Transfer to Third Party. The initial user of the Product may make a one-time transfer of the Product to another end user.

    Looks like the operator you talked to didn’t know his/her licensing!

  3. My god! You’d swear they want people to switch to another OS. What’s the odds that all those beta copies of Vista have a built-in self-destruct mechanism that will require them to be registered with WGA after Vista comes out commercially before they can be used any more. You can be pretty sure things like Windows Update won’t work anyway.

    Switching to FreeBSD’s looking like one of the smarter things I’ve done.

  4. Tim, that quote was from the retail license, which has a different set of terms than the OEM license. It sounds like Ken was trying to transfer a license from a machine where it was preinstalled to one where it was not. That’s specifically prohibited by the OEM license agreement.

    Confusing? You bet.

  5. Ed, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    Ah, retail versus OEM – of course.

    Are there 3rd level courses or postgraduate courses in Microsoft licence terms? ‘Cos it sure sounds like they are virtually impossible to follow – or perhaps that’s how they are meant to be!

  6. Install someone else’s copy then go to Windows Update and buy the copy that’s proffered when you fail to validate. Bargain! 🙂

  7. Ed’s spot on…. It had come preinstalled on the machine but why there’s a different set of rules for the whole OEM vs retail copies is a wonder…

  8. truly unbelieveable….Microsoft seem determined to live up to their caricature. This is a bit off-topic, but how is it that MS take 5 years (and counting) between major releases of their flagship operating system, and it’s still not very good (I’m being generous here), but Ubuntu releases every 6 months, it’s supported to a great extent by unpaid volunteers, and it’s simply superb. I’m sure much the same is true of many other Linux distros BTW

  9. You should see the crap they have in the EULA about not being allowed to run Vista Home or Premium edition in a VM.

    But if you pay for Vista Ultimate then WooHoo! away you go.

  10. Those running RC2 have observed the polite nag screens alert with a host of software applications that Vista thinks are not genuine copies. So if you’re using legacy sw (i.e., something more than six years old like WS_FTP), you may encounter the situation that your computer allows you to only browse the internet and use the Explorer function until you discard the offensive legacy sw.

    TWIT covered this scenario last episode. It’s compelling content worth hearing for all those considering their next Windows upgrade.

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