How to buy computers without an O/S?

Hi,
We would like to buy about 25 new computers and need windows 7 pro (64bit) and Office 2010 Pro licenses.

In the past we have purchased computers with OEM Windows XP software and office software pre-installed. However we are now considering creating a standardised computer software image and would like computers without an Operating system installed and use Microsoft volume licenses instead.

However we cant seem to source computers without an operating system pre-installed, and don’t want to duplicate licenses by having to buy licenses twice (ir with the machine and then buying the volume license). Does anyone know where we can buy computers without an O/S?

Ive tried to contact a few brands such as Lenovo/HP but they said they only supply computers with an O/S. I don’t understand how large companies with lots of users make use of Microsoft volume licensing, unless they just duplicate the licenses?  

Any advise would be great.
kevin1983Asked:
Who is Participating?
 
FaTHoMConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Use MS Volume for deploying images, the licences for the machines are then not used but on a hardware recycle plan, the machines can then be sold on with the OS licences to reclaim funds on depreciatation of hardware.
FaTHoM
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kevin1983Author Commented:
Hi, so to confirm are you saying we a forced to buy computers with OEM operating system software? and then we will need to buy seperate volume licenses for deploying images?

ie so we are having to buy the O/S license twice?.

I guess we cant really delploy standard images easily with OEM software as each machine has its own key?. is it best to buy Office 2010 using a volume license also if we want to include this in the image for deploment?
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fleamourianCommented:
You do not need to pay twice.  Try one of the smaller specialist stores, IE.

http://www.zi-mm.co.uk/home-1-0.html
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FaTHoMCommented:
do you not already have a volume licence?
we have bought hundreds of PCs and all come with a licence, we just sys prep and create and deploy our own images.
We have never bought PCs without an OS, the OS is deployed during the manufactuer build process en mass and yes for the Office 2010.
FaTHoM
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kevin1983Author Commented:
No we do not currently have a volume licence, so you use sysprep with one of the OEM licenses and once installed on the other computer do you manully amend the windows product key to the correct once specific to each computer?

 
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kevin1983Author Commented:
fleamourian: thanks im having a look on that website, it looks like theres no big name brands which we would prefer, i guess this will be difficult?
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FaTHoMCommented:
no, we sys prep with the volume licence; however if it is just 25 PCs you could use the OEM licence and modify each PC awith the local PC licence accordingly.
I assist in a large organisation so this is best for us, the later may be better for just 25 machines.
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
My understanding is that volume license can only be used on a PC with an existing license - vl is only for simplicity in deployment.
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FaTHoMCommented:
we wipe the pcs and put our own image on using the vl, the oem licence never comes into play
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
No, but a PC must have an existing license before the vl license is valid.  I realize you aren't using the OEM license, but I don't believe the vl license is valid without an existing license.  VL cannot stand alone.
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chriswestscfcCommented:
i would imagine that all branded pc's come with an OS nowadays. therefore your only option would be to buy custom built hardware.
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kevin1983Author Commented:
hm ok but if you cant use a volume license on its own without buying a computer with a valid OEM license then i dont see why the volume licenses seem to be more expensive than the OEM ones. I thought a volume license should work out more cost effective?

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kevin1983Author Commented:
chriswestscfc: what you said seem to agree with the the infomation im getting from computer companies so far - they just dont seem to supply computer without an O/S pre-installed.

Im gussing its partly to do with marketing reasons
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kevin1983Author Commented:
FaTHoM: you said "no, we sys prep with the volume licence; however if it is just 25 PCs you could use the OEM licence and modify each PC awith the local PC licence accordingly."

If we used the OEM license to create the standard image i guess we would have to manually modify the registy of each computer to change the windows product key otherwise it wouldnt be legal having the same OEM license key on multiple machines, unless we used some third party software instead to do this step.
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chriswestscfcCommented:
sometimes you can buy clone/custom built machines off the shelf which come with linux installed. (basically looks like a great deal on paper until you read the small print and wonder where your windows is when you get it home ) You could just buy these and wipe and install windows
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
The beauty of vl is that you use one key to activate all 25.  OEM keys are not needed (and will not work) with vl keys, but a license of some kind must exist for vl to be used.
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chriswestscfcCommented:
it wouldn't be legal using the same oem licence, but lots of companies do it. Make an image using ghost and then use ghostwalker to change the sid. At the end of the day you have a licence stuck to the side of the machine for the software you are using. A lot of compaq and acer machines are sent out with a factory image that doesn't remotely match the product key on the side of the machine.
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
So make a vl image and clone that ... then all OS's have your company image and all are activated using proper product keys.
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kevin1983Author Commented:
ok sounds like VL are ideally better, would be easier to deploy/activate, land legal but extra cost.
it still seems a little odd having to buy a VL if you have already paid for one O/S license already with the machine, but all in all sounds like theres no easy way out of this other than buying custom computers but the volume licenses still cost more anyway.

For example below is the cost i have been quoted for the OEM licenses vs Volume licenses.

Volume license
Windows 7 64Bit Licence                       £159.00 each
Office 2010 Professional                       £399.00 each

OEM Licence costs
Windows 7 64Bit                                   £99.00 each
Office 2010 Professional                       £229.00 each


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kevin1983Author Commented:
chriswestscfc: thats an interesting point you made especially regarding compaq and acer machines sent out with a factory image that doesn't match the product key
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arnoldConnect With a Mentor Commented:
OEM license is limited to that one machine and can not be reused.

The Volume license allows the installation of the product using the same information provided the appropriate number of licenses were purchased.
I.e. you have 20 machines and use the same Volume license, you then buy 5 additional systems, you would buy the additional licenses and can use the same media that you have to install those new systems.

With OEM, you may have generations of the OS such that you need to make sure you have the correct version tied to each system.
This is less of an issue for branded systems where they provide you with the media/recovery disk versus non branded.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
VOLUME LICENSES are not permitted to be installed on a machine without a pre-existing license.  They are, in a sense, UPGRADE licenses.  The volume license grants you additional rights that the OEM license does not.  THAT is what you are paying for.

OEM Licenses CANNOT BE customized and redeployed.  They may be imaged as a backup, but once the machine leaves the factory, the image is FINAL and any attempt to alter/customize it is a license violation by the end user.

I was on a conference call earlier this month that discussed this very issue with MS licensing people AT Microsoft.  That said, my disclaimer still applies:
DISCLAIMER: Licensing advice offered here is a "best effort" and based on the understanding of the respondents. Licenses can change and we may not be aware of these changes or may misunderstand them. Further, licenses can differ by country and/or region and what we understand to be true in our region could be false in your region. "they told me on Experts-Exchange" will not be a valid defense in a software audit.  All licensing questions should be confirmed with the appropriate licensing authority (the maker of the software/issuer of the license).  
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arnoldCommented:
leew, not sure what the context of your meeting was, but you can buy upgrade version and full version of products under the volume licensing programs of which there are several as well as a couple of classes, open volume, select , open business, class c, etc.

http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/how-volume-licensing-works.aspx

When you buy branded HW it might as well be cheaper to purchase upgrade versions using the Volume licensing versus effectively paying once for the OEM version to the HW vendor and once to MS for each system.

telling the HW vendor not to install the OS would likely not reduce the cost of the system. Branded vendors offer servers without an installed OS, a workstation is often sold with the OS given the benfit it yields the vendor i.e. they pay lower amount to MS which is lower than the added value to the system.

I.e. the reason all system now come with a network interface, usb, etc. is because the cost of adding the component to the system is minimal while adding siginificantly to the value of the system.  i.e. spend $2 for the network component while adding $20 to the price value of the system. etc.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
@arnold,
CLIENT OPERATING SYSTEMS are UPGRADE ONLY - Server operating systems and all other applications can be installed bare-metal without pre-existing versions.

Reference:
http://www.microsoftvolumelicensing.com/ProductPage.aspx?pid=232
Quoting the above link:
•Operating System (OS) Upgrade License
The desktop operating system licenses granted under these programs are upgrade licenses only. Full desktop operating system licenses are not available under these programs. Therefore, each desktop for which you acquire and on which you will run the Windows 7 Professional Upgrade must be licensed to run one of the qualifying operating systems identified below.
•Windows 7 Professional Upgrade
Customers who wish to acquire the Windows 7 Professional Upgrade license through the Select License or Open License programs must first have licensed and installed on their desktop a qualifying operating system.

Qualifying OS Rules (Each of these conditions must be met in order for the base OS to qualify you for the VL Upgrade.):
•The qualifying OS must be installed on the device to which the VL Upgrade license is to be assigned.
•Except as provided below, you must remove the qualifying Operating System from the device in order to deploy the VL Upgrade license.
•Customers who wish to install or run more than one licensed OS at one time (including the qualifying OS), may either:
•acquire Software Assurance for their VL Upgrade license, or
•purchase full Windows 7 licenses separately. We do not offer full OS licenses in Volume Licensing.
•Customers that have active Software Assurance coverage do not need to uninstall the qualifying OS and may install and run the qualifying OS and Windows 7 at the same time.
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Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
Thee are lots of companies out there like cyberpower and alienware that sell PCs without OS
http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/
http://www.ibuypower.com/

These have been around for awhile so I can recommend them but there are many others.
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profgeekCommented:
Another option is to buy desktops with Linux installed, which the vendors won't charge a license fee for.  Then just reformat and install your volume licensed W7 on them:

http://www.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/linux_3x?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
I think we've established that it is not difficult to purchase a PC without an OS, however, because they have no OS, VL cannot be used on them.  It would be much more expensive to purchase a PC with no OS, as you would need to purchase a full Retail license before you would technically be allowed to use VL for them.  Ubuntu is not a qualifying OS.
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arnoldCommented:
I could have sworn that there was a version of windows 7 (not upgrade) being made available under the Volume License mechanism.
with the info leew posted, if one is using the Volume licensing, there is no point in looking at vendors that do not include a pre-installed windows OS.

Even if you would convince one of the vendors not to pre-install the OS, the savings if any will be minimal if any.
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kevin1983Author Commented:
Ok thank you all experts for your comments. This seems to be quite a complex and confusing subject. However from the comments it seems the best solution in this case is to purchase 25 branded computers i.e with an OEM version of Windows 7 pro 64bit pre-installed.

And then to get the full benefit of being able to easily deploy a standardised image I woul ideally need to use volume licenses which would mean we will need to pay the additional fee for 25 volume licences - £159 x 25. Then once we create our standard image we can wipe the hard drives clean and install our own image on all the computers using the volume license software key?

This seems quite an excessive extra expensive for a few more benefits. So this means that we need to pay once per each machine for the OEM version of the operating system to the Hardware supplier and once to Microsoft for each license.


Please finally clarify what I said is correct?, Do I need an upgrade volume license or a full volume license?

It says on this weblink: http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/how-volume-licensing-works.aspx that volume licenses can reduce costs, but it sound like they can increase costs.

It seems volume licenses for Office 2010 are also more expensive than OEM versions, for example below is a quote I got:

Volume license
Office 2010 Professional                       £399.00 each

OEM
Office 2010 Professional                       £229.00 each
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Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
I am a MS partner and I just emailed them and they emailed me back saying you do not need to buy OEM or preinstalled software to buy volume licensing--the idea behind volume licensing is to reduced costs, less software disks so why would they then require you increase costs and still get all those CDs or DVDs from the preinstalled PCs?
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kevin1983Author Commented:
lionelmm: ok, yes what you just said is what i thought would be more logical and was what i was thinking, but im still confused about what we should do
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Lee W, MVPConnect With a Mentor Technology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I am an MS Partner and MS Setup and Deployment MVP.  My information comes with a meeting arranged by one of the PMs at Microsoft involved in Setup and Deployment.  I STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you take the information I posted and forward it to whoever your contact is and ask them to verify it.

I will repeat - even if I'm wrong (REALLY doubt that I am on this):
DISCLAIMER: Licensing advice offered here is a "best effort" and based on the understanding of the respondents. Licenses can change and we may not be aware of these changes or may misunderstand them. Further, licenses can differ by country and/or region and what we understand to be true in our region could be false in your region. "they told me on Experts-Exchange" will not be a valid defense in a software audit.  All licensing questions should be confirmed with the appropriate licensing authority (the maker of the software/issuer of the license).  

Now, that said, as I said earlier:
CLIENT OPERATING SYSTEMS are UPGRADE ONLY - Server operating systems and all other applications can be installed bare-metal without pre-existing versions.

Put another way, yes, OFFICE and other non-Client OS applications can be purchased and installed without having pre-installed OEM versions.  The only one that (to my knowledge) requires a pre-existing install (license) is Windows CLIENT OPERATING SYSTEMS.
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kevin1983Author Commented:
leew: ok thanks for clarifying

So it seems all in all most experts agree that in order to use a volume license for a client an exsisting OEM license must already exsist for the machine.

Although this seem a bit excessive having to pay quite a lot more money for a volume license on top of the OEM license cost you have already paid for when buying the computerss - especially if buying a large number of computers that you want to use a volume license for. And also it doesnt seem to logical but if thats the way Microsoft's licensing works i guess we have no option if we want to have the flexibility of deploying standard images easily.
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kevin1983Author Commented:
Thank you all experts for your valued comments.
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