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Is it legal to install trial version of Windows on computers that company want to sell?

Posted on 2015-01-12
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Hi)

We need to sell old computers that we do not need any more. We need to decide if it is legal to install trial version of Windows on it.

1 Can trial version of Windows be installed on computers that company want to sell? Does company need to be somehow authorized for this?

2 Which version of Windows can we install as a trial?

Any links to official License Agreement or other resources will be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:TarasShumylo
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by:Andy M
Andy M earned 1000 total points
ID: 40544064
Not sure on legality but if you are not wanting to provide a license for the Windows it may be better to just supply the computer without any OS installed.

The problem is that Windows OS trials are time-based so in effect you could install it, take a few weeks to sell the item and by the time the purchaser switches the computer on the trial expires and they'd either have to purchase a license or wipe it any put on their own OS anyway.
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by:Andy M
Andy M earned 1000 total points
ID: 40544067
FYI - http://www.eightforums.com/general-support/33795-legal-distribute-windows-8-trial-our-customers.html

Trial versions are for personal use only, not to be included with distributed systems.
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by:Hardware_Guy
Hardware_Guy earned 332 total points
ID: 40544084
I'm assuming these computers didn't come with a windows OS pre-installed? I'm curious what happened to the OS that was on there when you were using them because even if these machines had a different OS installed if there is still a license that belongs to that machine you can use that key to do a factory reset which would give you a legit copy of an OS. Ask yourself this, would you wanna buy a bunch of machines you knew you would have to not only purchase product keys for each computer followed by spending no telling how much time installing the OS's, finding all the correct drivers, and finally installing them all. Does that sound like a process you would choose to go through when buying a bunch of used computers?
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by:TarasShumylo
ID: 40544103
Andy Morton, thank you for comment.

I am reading this forum many times, but I can't find where it is specifically stated that Windows 8 trial is only for personal use. There is some FAQ from Microsoft posted but it's not stated there that Windows 8 Trial is only for personal use. What I need is official statement from Microsoft.
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by:Eirman
Eirman earned 332 total points
ID: 40544109
Sell them as a system without an OS as already mentioned, or

Install Linux. This will help you pick the best version ...
http://www.linux.com/news/software/applications/775873-the-best-linux-distribution-for-new-users

This will allow buyers to test the PCs.
Many buyers will wind up keeping Linux.
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by:Andy M
Andy M earned 1000 total points
ID: 40544112
I've had a look for a link to Microsoft's end user license agreement but as it's a legal document they do not put it online. The best bet would be to contact microsoft directly for clarification: http://support.microsoft.com/contactus#tab3

I am pretty sure that trial is only intended for personal use though and can't really be included on systems been sold to other users (as it should either have a license or not be installed at all).
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☠ MASQ ☠ earned 336 total points
ID: 40544277
Firstly you're not going to get a legal view here that will stand up in court - all we can offer is a best effort.  A defence of "They said it was OK on Experts-Exchange" isn't going to save you :)

All the EULAs for Windows are available on the microsoft.com site just Google the version of Windows you're talking about "eula" and "microsoft.com".

What you can do is going to be limited by how the machines were supplied to you.  If they arrived with OEM licencing + CoA stickers (for pre Win 8 systems) and you've re-imaged them to a corporate VLK you could reprovide them with the manufacturer's OEM system installed.

You can't reprovide them with a corporate image of the system as the VLK image is licenced to your company.

Strictly from a non-"trial version" perspective you should be looking at a refurbisher licence though
http://www.microsoft.com/RefurbishedPCs/RRP.aspx


Generally the effort involved in corporately wiping data from drives, reinstalling an operating system and then offering machines for sale doesn't return the cost of the time in preparing them for redistribution unless they are current machines.

The Trial versions of Win 7 & 8 available from Microsoft online are both Enterprise versions and require individuals to register to download and install.  What you may be thinking about is providing a retail version which is unactivated and so has a 30-90 day period to enter a valid key after which it will no longer function.  Again you'll need the correct media to install from.

Have you thought about your liability to the customer who purchases the machine?

If you do add a "trial operating system" you are probably safer with a free Linux distro of some kind and leave the end-user to source their own replacement.
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Author Comment

by:TarasShumylo
ID: 40544790
Guys, thank you for your answers. There is still no answer is it legal to use trial version of Windows, so I will split points between all of you.
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