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Can Specific mfg's reinstallation disks be used on any make computer?

Posted on 2013-12-23
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have a Dell Inspiron 530 desktop that came with Windows XP Pro SP3 already installed, and a reinstallation CD and drivers & utilities CD. I've been using it since 2009. Recently I had to reformat it due to a missing or corrupted file, but had a backup from the week before and everything is working just fine again

I've just bought a Lenovo desktop with Windows 8, and after a couple of weeks of messing with it, I'm essentially very dissatisfied with its lousy navigational setup and requirements for newer software than I've been using for years and have been quite happy with.

So I'm wondering, and I hope it's not a real dumb question...

Let's say I buy another desktop---Not necessarily a Dell, but maybe some other brand, like HP, Asus, PowerSpec, Toshiba, whatever-- sometime down the road with or without an operating system already installed. Would I be able to reformat the C: drive and then use the Dell reinstallation CD to install an XP operating system on it, or would I need a Microsoft XP OS CD that is not labeled as computer-specific?

By the way, I am well aware of the 2014 deadline for Microsoft pulling the plug on  XP support, and I really don't care about that. My worst case scenario would be to have a functional XP based computer which I would use to run various programs I have used for years WITHOUT hoking it up to the Internet at all, and using a POS computer for Internet access and use.
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Question by:RadioGeorge
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by:ktaczala
ktaczala earned 100 total points
ID: 39736688
Legally you cannot use that software CD on another computer.  Also it may be customized to use specific drivers, which may cause the system not to boot if installed on another computer.
Also it will be hard to purchase a new PC where the hardware will work with XP.  MFR's aren't supplying XP drivers on new equipment anymore.  You would have to build one, and may still have problems getting XP drivers. Your best option in your case (if you're totally against win 8), would be to go to a local mom & pop computer store (or EBay) and buy a used one with XP on it.
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by:Dan Craciun
Dan Craciun earned 120 total points
ID: 39736700
If you have 2 CD's, one for reinstall and one for drivers and utilities, then the first CD is probably generic, and you can use it to install XP on another computer.

BUT... if you bought your Dell with Windows installed on it, then that Windows key is tied to the hardware and you cannot legally use it on a new PC.

Depending on your location, you can probably buy a professional version of Windows 8 with downgrade rights, which will allow you to use any prior version of Windows.

PS: give Windows 7 a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised...

HTH,
Dan
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☠ MASQ ☠ earned 80 total points
ID: 39736719
The legal answer depends a lot on where you live.

The practical aspect is that OEM operating systems are locked to the hardware that the manufacturer provides.  Dell software has an identifying code in the BIOS that say "Hi I'm a Dell machine" when the OEM disk with the operating system is installed it looks for that BIOS string, if it's a Dell disk then it will install correctly, if it doesn't find Dell hardware then it will prompt you for activation and after your grace period will stop working.  This goes for most of the OEM (so-called "Royalty" system suppliers - the big names).  Smaller suppliers use Microsoft's OEM media which isn't BIOS locked but will only activate once - when it does it sends a snapshot of the hardware it's installed to over to Microsoft.  If you need to reinstall it when you try to activate it again it checks the records at Microsoft match the hardware you are installing to - if it doesn't match it won't activate.

More about activation and OEM disks (with a slant on XP but the broad generalisations apply to all versions of Windows since) in my article here (http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/XP/A_3218-XP-OEM-and-the-repair-reinstallation-a-cautionary-tale.html)

The legal position used to be that an OEM installation lived and died with the computer it was supplied with. When that computer (motherboard) died so did your licence to use that install of Windows.

If you're in the US that's still the case.  In most of Europe your OEM version of Windows is now transferable provided you only have it installed on one PC at any one time.
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by:Dan Craciun
Dan Craciun earned 120 total points
ID: 39736770
Thanks Masqueraid.

"In most of Europe your OEM version of Windows is now transferable provided you only have it installed on one PC at any one time."

Google is upset with me and I cannot find a reference to this.
Can you please help? I live in Europe and am very interested in this.

Thanks again.
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Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 39736807
Here's the ruling.  If you want a summary start here

Still awaiting a test case.
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Author Comment

by:RadioGeorge
ID: 39736812
Wow, you all commented and answered my question while I had a sandwich after submitting it! And great information it is. You have saved me a lot of time and grief. I must say, I was surprised to learn (although I know I should have known it) that buying a computer with an operating system  is buying a license to use the operating system on one machine and agreeing to do that. Which stinks. In the days of Win 95 and Win 98, if your computer crashed completely, you could take that OS disk, buy a new computer, slap it in, and go. I really dislike Microsoft's increasingly dictatorial policies and may well switch to Apple in a few years, I use my computer 90% for business productivity and not the "apps" that shift the dominant focus to fun and games. And telling me that my software such as Word (2000) and FrontPage (2002), which meet my simple needs well, will not work on their latest systems, is insulting and noting but a money grab. My hope is that someday, someone will be able to compete head-to-head with Microsoft and make the company a MUCH smaller, more humble company....or a bankrupt one.
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by:Dan Craciun
ID: 39736837
It's murky.
That ruling says that you can resell a software package you bought, even if you downloaded it, if the proprietor gave you a right to use that copy for an unlimited period.

Applied to specific OEM Windows licenses, this would mean that you can sell your copy of Windows. It does not imply (IMO) that the buyer can legally use the copy on different hardware. Or, for that matter, that you can use it on different hardware.

I know there was a German ruling from 2000 (http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Microsoft-muss-im-OEM-Streit-Niederlage-einstecken-29554.html) that allowed for OEM licenses to be sold in Europe directly to customers, provided they also bought a piece of hardware (even a mouse was enough).
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39736839
You should note that Apple is Much More restrictive than Microsoft.  Apple hardware will not let you install an OS version that is older than the original one that came on the computer.  And the only way now to 'upgrade' your Apple OS is thru their downloads from the Apple store.  And you can only download the new version from a computer that is compatible with the new version.  They do not sell disks for installing newer versions of their OS.

I have both Dell and HP re-install disks for XP and they are tied to the hardware.  The HP disks are also tied to some key in the BIOS that won't allow an XP Pro version from HP to be installed on a computer that originally with XP Home.  If you want to keep your older software running, just keep older computers running.  That's exactly what I am doing though in my case, I simply can't afford the newer ones.
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Author Comment

by:RadioGeorge
ID: 39737203
You guys are great! What followup! Now it's my turn. I did some web surfing and came across an item on eBay that sounded like a good "insurance policy" and bought the item. FYI, here's the detailed description of it:

*** PROFESSIONAL SERVICES KIT ***
Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Full Retail Edition


The Professional Services Kits were originally distributed by Microsoft to Certified Systems Engineers/Technicians and retail store service departments (e.g., CompUSA, BestBuy, Fry's) who would then install them onto clients' computers. The kits contained the exact same retail software/disks/licensesthat were for sale in the retail boxes on those stores' shelves, but in a more compact form (DVD case).

This "Full Version Kit" is Microsoft End User Part Number E85-02227 and contains retail disk Part No. X08-88354 (or X09-69551). (The contained disk and license are identical to what comes in the larger cardboard boxed version, Microsoft Part Numbers E85-00086 or E85-01011.)

The kit DOES NOT contain a consumer-style Installation Manual (i.e., "Start Here"), BUT it does include a comparable manual as an HTML file on the CD-ROM.  (We do have a few extra full-size consumer-style manuals available; let us know if you want such a manual included for free when we ship your purchase.)

Retail Edition

This retail edition of Windows XP Professional has substantial benefits over various OEM versions:

·      Sequential installation on multiple computers as needed. No need to purchase another copy just because you upgrade to newer, more powerful hardware (or suffer a mother-board failure). Simply install on a different PC, transfer any prior settings and software, then remove from the original machine.

·      Full Multi-Lingual Support with special Regional Language Packs for users who desire this flexability  (optional; see below).

·      "Repair installations" of damaged Retail installations of Win-XP Pro, while preserving all of your pre-existing settings, installed software and personal files. (This genuine retail edition can similarly repair accidently installed "counterfeit retail software.")

Full (+ Upgrade) Version

This Win-XP Pro software can be installed on a new, unformatted hard-drive (i.e., a "full" or "clean" install); no need to own or have installed a pre-existing operating system.
Alternatively, it can also be used to upgrade an existing Windows operating system while preserving your personal files. The software will also preserve your system settings and installed software when upgrading these "workstations:"

Windows 98
Windows 98 Second Edition
Windows NT 4.0
Windows ME (Millenium Edition)
Windows 2000 Professional
Windows XP Home Edition* (see Special Note, below)
Note: This software cannot be used to upgrade, modify, or repair any Server Versions of Microsoft Windows!
Bonus Disks

Included for free are two additional software disks which contain Service Pack 3 (SP3) (Copies pursuant to Microsoft License and 17 USC § 117):

(1) An SP3 Updates Disk (blue disk): There is no need for buyer to expend any time or frustration downloading roughly 600 Megabytes of patches and security updates;

(2) Professional Backup Media with SP3 (white disk):

·      Microsoft's Programmers / Engineers have already integrated SP3 into the disk's code. (This allows rapid installations, repairs AND upgrades of ALL systems, including XP-Pro and XP-Home* that already have SP3 installed!);

·      This Professional Backup Media also has integral high-performance AHCI / SATA device drivers for all major motherboard chipset manufacturers (Intel, AMD, NVidia, ATI, VIA, SiS, ALI, Adaptec). These drivers allow Windows XP to be directly installed onto the most modern computer hardware and fully utilize features and performance of ultra-fast (300-600 MByte / second) SATA hard drives!

(*Windows XP Home Users -- Microsoft's "Installer" on all Windows XP Pro SP0 / SP1 / SP2 CD-ROMs has a serious bug: The "Installer" refuses to upgrade Windows XP Home Editions if that Home Edition has SP3 installed! Almost all "Full" and "Upgrade" versions offered by other sellers WILL FAIL to upgrade the home edition (unless the buyer wants to spend HOURS attempting to "slipstream" SP3-Patches into a new ISO file, and then self-burning that file onto bootable media!) The Professional Backup Media solves this problem by having SP3 already incorporated into a MICROSOFT DESIGNED AND TESTED Disk.)

(*Mac Users -- Apple's BootCamp(R) (and similar technologies) requires a Full Version of Win-XP Professional with Service Pack 2 (or greater) to correctly install Windows XP to run on Apple's Intel-processor based computers.  This Professional Backup Disk allows you to perform a direct install under BootCamp(R), as this CD-ROM already has SP-3 incorporated into it.  Thus, thisProfessional Backup Disk can save you the substantial extra cost/premium of purchasing an SP-2 version of Win-XP Professional!)

Guaranteed Genuine

Seller guarantees the following qualities of merchandise:

·      New CD is genuine and fully readable (matches SHA-1 of RTM software);
·      New Installation/Activation key is genuine and valid;

Seller will provide known good media and/or replace key for any defects detected and reported within 30 days of buyer's receipt of merchandise!

Package Contents

This sale is of the following merchandise:
·      Microsoft Windows XP Pro on Holographic CD-ROM
·      Microsoft License for Software
·      Microsoft Installation/Activation Key and Proof of Licence
·      Sealed DVD-Case Containing the Above Merchandise
·      Bonus Disk with Microsoft Service Pack 3
·      Microsoft License for Service Pack
·      Bonus Backup Media with SP3 Incorporated into Code  
·      Upon request, a full-size consumer-style Installation Manual (i.e., "Start Here")
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