Just got a fleet of OEM PCs for your company or just a single PC for

Just got a fleet of OEM PCs for your company or just a single PC for your home? Confused by what you can (and can’t) do with your license or installation media? We’ve got answers to some of the most common questions, traps and gotchas around Windows XP and 7 OEM keys. Q: Is it legal to buy and install the — significantly cheaper — OEM System Builder version of Windows? There is conflicting information all over the web! A: NO! According to Microsoft’s licensing documents, purchasers of the OEM System Builder version can’t use it on their home PCs -– they has to use the OEM preinstallation kit (which is part of the System Builder deal), install it on a PC, and actually sell that PC. MS stated this specifically in their OEM licensing PDFs. The OEM System Builder version is designed for smaller PC dealers. If you read the fine print on some websites, such as Newegg, this becomes very clear: Unfortunately, Newegg is one of the very few websites that includes this information. A lot don’t. So while you can technically use it, you’re actually running a “non-genuine copy of Windows”. Q: I’ve lost the Windows DVD or my rec...

How Microsoft helped imprison a man for ‘counterfeiting’ software it gives away for free

In a sickening concession to bad copyright law and Microsoft’s bottom line over basic technical truths and common sense, Eric Lundgren will spend 15 months in prison for selling discs that let people reinstall Windows on licensed machines. A federal appeals court this week upheld the sentence handed down in ignorance by a Florida district judge, for a crime the man never committed. Now, to be clear, Lundgren did commit a crime, and admitted as much — but not the crime he was convicted for, the crime Microsoft alleges he did, the crime that carries a year-plus prison term. Here’s what happened. In 2012 feds seized a shipment of discs, which they determined were counterfeit copies of Windows, heading to the U.S., where they were to be sold to retailers by Lundgren. U.S. Prosecutors, backed by Microsoft’s experts, put him on the hook for about $8.3 million — the retail price of Windows multiplied by the number of discs seized. The only problem with that was that these weren’t counterfeit copies of Windows, and they were worth almost nothing. The confusion is understandable — here’s why. When you buy a computer, baked into the cost of that computer is usually a license for the softw...