back to article Microsoft sells Windows twice

Microsoft has started a new refurbishment programme to help companies breathe life into dusty old computers by providing a copy of Windows – at a cost. The new Microsoft authorised refurbisher (MAR) programme, which launched last Friday, is aimed at resolving a growing problem among businesses which have defunct kit lying …


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  1. Chris Bradshaw
    Gates Horns

    what <CENSORED>s

    nuf said

  2. Brian Miller

    Buy Windows twice, but you lost it once

    When I lose something, say, a watch, I have to purchase another watch. I don't get it for free. Therefore, if you lose your software, you must buy a second copy. As stated in the article, the computer in question has neither COA sticker or OEM restore disks. Therefore, its become a blank box. Who really knows what the machine had on it in the first place?

    Unfortunately, consumers don't jump for Linux. According to surfing statistics, Mac has increased its share at the expense of Linux. And both of them together are less than 10% of the web surfers.

  3. JP
    Gates Horns

    Hardware sellers must be loving this...

    Not only have they taken a hit from people avoiding Vista like the plague and going for (older?) systems that still sell XP, but now M$ is selling XP AGAIN (AFTER trying to take it off the shelves!) so users can buy old computers and extend hardware life, and avoid buy pesky new shiny machines...

    Isn't it great when you have an effective monopoly?

  4. Scott

    And a COA isn't enough...

    According to Microsoft, that old PC isn't "Genuine" and you are pirating Windows if you just have the sticker on the side of the computer, but no install/recovery media. That's apparently what this MAR "education" campaign is all about. And here, you thought putting that sticker on the side of a computer made it legal to install your one (and only one) copy of Windows (of whatever version) on it forever!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Well Said Brian

    Far too much web 2.0 thinking these days, everyone expects everything to be free.

  6. Hedley Phillips

    Hold on one minute there...

    So I am having trouble buying a new laptop or Desktop from Dell with XP as most models only come with Vista, thus reducing my choice down to usually only a few models.

    But I can buy a modified copy of XP to put on an old machine. What the <beep> is going on here?

  7. Dunstan Vavasour

    Why are they <CENSORED>s ??

    Many of these machines may have been sold into organisations which have bulk deals with MS, so that once the kit is sold on it is effectively without a Windows licence.

    This leaves the next owner with three choices:

    1) Use free software

    2) Use an illegal copy of Windows

    3) Obtain a legitimate copy of Windows

    As far as I can see, this makes option (3) cheaper than it was before. It also makes the price for a legitimate copy of Windows closer to that for options (1) and (2). And it doesn't stop firms from embracing option (1).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's funny.

    Machines are worthless after five years. Whatever we can sell them for is a profit. But buying MS licenses for those machines isn't going to increase the price enough to make it worthwhile, especially if you include the time required to manage the MAR, install the OS, deal with all the other random issues. Just wipe the drive and ship it out the door.

    There's no way I'm going to buy XP licenses for those machines. What the buyer loads on the machine isn't my problem, and frankly I don't care. Maybe I'll begin loading linux on the machines out of spite.

  9. David Austin

    Is this a big problem?

    Most shop/OEM bought PC's have the COA Sticker slapped on the side of them, and, last time I read through the Open/Software Assurance/Shcools Agreement, you have to have a pre-installed (Probably an OEM) copy of windows to upgrade to whatever flavour your Agreement allows.

    I'd expect most Business boxes to have a Windows COA Sticker, so it should just be a question of buying a media pack (~£20) to install from: from a Licence viewpoint, I'm not sure if you'd have to buy a separate media pack for each PC to pass onto the customer, or if you can supply it media-less, or substitute your own recovery disks.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    It's not so much a lost sticker....

    Please don't think I'm trying to defend M$ in any way, but won't allot of SME's be signed up with volume licensing of some sort, and therefore unable to legally sell the license on?

    I used to work for a company who M$ outsourced too, and had to face the wrath of angry Software Assurance punters who found thenselves restricted by even tighter controls than retail and oem versions of Windows.

  11. Anonymous Cowherd

    Why bother?

    If it is old equipment, why bother trying to run Windows on it?

    Both technical and financial factors argue in favour of Linux in such a case. Something like Puppy will run on a really low spec machine, and make it perform rather better than the same machine trying to run Windows.

  12. Joey Y
    Gates Horns

    Sells Windows Thrice...

    I count three times...

    Most/all of these machines came with Windows preinstalled (Win2k for really old machines, XP for newer old ones).

    A great many companies have site licenses or other agreements, especially so they can install vanilla copies of Windows (without Dell/HP/Gateway malware).

    And now, ancient machines need a third copy.

    If these rules applied to things apart from software, people would be more loudly upset. (Brian Miller: Imagine if, instead of losing the watch, you only lost the manual and the plastic holder the watch came with; you still have the watch, and you want to give it to your nephew or sell it on eBay but you cannot. You could sell it if you were willing to buy a new copy of the manual.)

    I think that it would be better to discourage large software companies from going after owners of 3+ year-old desktops. (Although, a big enough "where's your license" scare might drive up interest in Linux [or FreeBSD :-] )

    ps. You know where your licenses are, I assume. Does your mum know where hers are? Why won't anyone think of the parents?

  13. Edward Clarke

    Removed Office?

    I had a hard drive failure on my workstation recently and needed to look at an XLS spreadsheet file. I own a legal copy of "Microsoft Office SBE 2003 with BCM" but I had misplaced the original cardboard protective case for the CD - and the product code that's glued to it. The CD was fine in the hard plastic case that I use to safeguard my original media.

    In desperation, I tried many of those serial number generators that you find so easily with google, but none worked ( on a crap pentium machine that I don't usually have connected to the internet or even turned on ). So I downloaded Open Office 2.3 to my workstation. It works.

    Now I've found the original CD case and key for MS Office, but I can't think of a good reason to take the time to uninstall OpenOffice and reinstall MS Office. How do you channel guys compete with "free"?

  14. John Stag

    Buying windows...

    >"When I lose something, say, a watch, I have to purchase

    > another watch. I don't get it for free. Therefore, if you lose

    > your software, you must ..." {snip}

    You never "buy" Windows, you only pay for a license to be allowed to use it. The license has no specified time limit.

  15. Morely Dotes

    Re: That's funny.

    "Maybe I'll begin loading linux on the machines out of spite."

    Don't do it out of spite. Do it to prove that the hardware is fully functional. After all, it's no skin off your back if the new owner prefers a stable, free OS with massive amounts of free applications over a bloated, untrustworthy, unstable proprietary house of cards that will BSOD if you happen to blink at the wrong moment, and chooses to keep Linux instead of buying Windows.

  16. Chip Schweiss
    Gates Horns

    That reinstall CD cost extra on new machines!

    It seems like with most new machines you order online, the reinstall CD is an add on cost. Now Microsoft is saying without this you cannot resell the machine with Windows on it! It was legit to sell the machine to you in the first place! Good luck getting that reinstall CD a few years later.

    This is just about as bad as if you have a machine crash with a purchased copy of windows. Now that copy is considered unusable on replacement hardware because Microsoft says your copy is part of the dead machine. When my CD player dies, I don't have to buy new music because it was licensed to machine I first played it on! Software should be no different!

    Seems like at Microsoft's whim, they declare any version of Windows that they are not selling right now to be non-genuine.

    Again, this is what happens when you let a company like Microsoft maintain a monopoly. They will abuse the customer more all the time.

  17. Simon

    @ Chip Schweiss

    MS havent changed anything on a whim...

    It has always been against OEM licence restrictions to on-sell the licence...It has also always been against OEM licence restrictions to move the licence to another machine...Being the most restrictive licencing category, this should not surprise anyone...

    What it seems most people have issue with is the fact OEM machines are being sold to businesses with an OEM copy of Windows, which is effectively worth/useless...Removing said copy of Windows is nothing more than a hassle for the OEM, as the machine is still sold for the same amount of money (and still costs the same amount of money to produce), which is the main reason that these machines still ship with OEM licences...

  18. Rob Beard
    Paris Hilton

    How much?

    So is this a way of getting cheap licences for XP?

    I'd most probably install Ubuntu on any machines I recycle, but if they're cheap enough I'd possibly purchase one licence for my other half's PC.



    Where's the Paris Hilton angle?

    Maybe she could donate bundles of cash to pay for licences for underprivileged kids?

  19. George Madison

    I have to wonder... similar this "special" version of XP for this refurbishing program resembles "Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs."

    When that was rolled out a while back, M$ said it was only for people in their "Software Assurance" program. I wonder if this is a way to get some return out of the work that went into creating it. I mean, all one has to do to make it look like another version of Windoze is to change the winbrand.dll file.

  20. John Bailey

    Not so fast..

    Nice to see Microsoft serving the second user market. <snigger> And with a third license too<g>

    I seem to remember reading that it wasn't open to the average member of the public who is selling an old PC or two on Ebay and wants to stay legal, but to companies who are selling/giving away old ex corporate systems in large numbers. Think thousands of units a year instead of hundreds. A nod to recycling and a bid to get genuine recycled windows on everything in the refurb market.

    Otherwise people would be buying these cheap XP licenses and swearing blind that they were for this old P3 I have clutering up the back bedroom honest Guv..

    Nothing wrong with sticking Linux on the PC. Then leave it up to the end user to decide if they want to go the legal route, or install a pirate copy, although I'd go for Linux on an older PC any day. Even better if its a face to face sale. Linux will make the system perform faster than XP on lower spec hardware most if not all the time.

  21. Maligned Truth

    Can't beat the free

    It just will not ever beat out the free download of a liveCDrom like Vixta or Mepis, PCLinuxOS or Edubuntu. or the other 310 at the livecdrom . com site.

    I volunteer at thrift shoppe charities, and private schools, in Florida, as some of us are not on vacation. Stuff the old boxes with Linux.

    Overthrow the Evil Empire. Diabolical scheme is to pervert the little ones heads towards love of penguins and daemons.

    No charity wants a repeat of the Salvation Army $4 million fiasco. (BSA lawsuit, early this millennium - w/sealed settlement).

    It is still an issue of 'First Sale' law for all except those fat OEMs. Microsoft is milking the neighbor's cows a third time...

    I won't dirty my hands, nor take advantage of the innocent milkmaid.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heh heh heh.

    Yep, heh. Heh heh. Heh.

    XP on legacy hardware.


  23. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Brian Miller Land

    From the article;

    "But, here's the rub: Although it is possible to resell a refurbished PC using its original copy of Windows, many firms fail to retain the machine's so-called certificate of authenticity (COA) or its restore disks."

    From Brian;

    "When I lose something, say, a watch, I have to purchase another watch. I don't get it for free."

    Love the analogy, totally unrelated to the debate. Try this;

    You lost the receipt for your old watch, but you want to sell the watch anyway. In the real world, that's been a non-issue for a few thousand years' worth of currency driven commerce. You find a buyer, negotiate a price and the exchange of goods for money occurs. Had one watch, sold one watch, have zero watches.

    Microsoft has a new view (what they'd like to call "innovation");

    To sell your old working watch you'll need to buy a new watch. Put the old watch in your left hand. Now, purchase a new watch in order to acquire a new receipt - put the new watch in your right hand. Now you can find a buyer, negotiate a price, and the exchange of goods for money occurs - for the watch in your right hand. Had one watch, bought one watch, sold one watch, have one watch.

    The true genius is the dual strokes of the creation of an actual sellers remorse for something he didn't (couldn't) sell, and an attempt to re-inforce this left-field concept that a computer must come with (be sold with) expensive bloat-ware for it to be "a computer".

    All that's missing here is the TCO analysis that shows enterprises how paying Microsoft for yet another CAL actually saves them money, while they're disposing of assets.

    And lets see three cheers to the monopoly for cornering the "charity .. market"! Hip-hip ..

  24. Brian Miller

    License = Watch

    Sorry, guys, it doesn't work that way. In this case, the license *is* the watch. No license, no key, all you have is a blank box. Load something different if you still want to use the box, or pay for another license.

    Want to know something that *really* sucks? Its when you *do* have license and install disks, but the OEM's restore disks don't work! "Error: Unable to find CD/DVD device" half-way through. Funny, the machine loads Linux just fine...

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