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Old 25 February 2013, 07:57 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
Join Date: 04 November 2005
Location: Borlänge, Sweden
Posts: 11,580

Originally Posted by snopes View Post
It is true that many OEMs have bundling agreements with Microsoft to sell their computers with Windows installed on them, and that computer retailers therefore cannot simply wipe the operating system off such PCs prior to selling them.
Yep, they often claim that, and that it would be illegal for them to do so, but it's just a sales trick. It's perfectly legal, and most retailers will rethink their position if you simply say "OK, then I'll go and buy it somewhere else...".

Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
Here's a question - is it possible to purchase a laptop without an OS?
Yep, most dealers will sell without an OS if you put some pressure on them.

If not, just don't click on any "Agree"-button and instead call Microsoft and say that you do not agree with the terms, and want, as promised, a full refund. They don't like it, but they will give you some money, although, only about one tenth of the shelf price. I think there is an upcoming court case here where someone is questioning how "a full refund" can be 10% of the shelf price, it'll be interesting to see how it ends.

Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
I did think of a situation where it is advantageous to buy a computer without an OS. It's when you're replacing an existing computer and you still have a valid OS license, but a computer that won't run. About 15 years ago, we had a rash of computer failures where the motherboard and power supply would fail together. These were a bunch of store-built "white boxes" long past their one-year warranty. A new computer was more economical than merely replacing the components on the old one, since 2 or 3 years later you got more for the same money. So we recovered the files from the old hard-drive and had a much-improved PC, but it still used the same OS. This is back in the days where there was no "improvement" upon Windows 98 (Windows NT, Windows ME) until Windows 2000 became established after its first Service pack rolled out - at least 3 years, if not more, where Win 98 SE was the "best" thing available.
I can think of several reasons:

* You don't want that OS. You want Linux or BSD or some older Windows (that you probably already have a pile of legitimate licenses for).

* You already have legitimate licenses 1. This is very common with companies, as they often buy their licenses separately, or simply have a pile of unused licenses.

* You already have legitimate licenses 2. It could be that an older computer is switched out, and you transfer the license from that computer. Now, license transfers rules differ between different jurisdictions and license types. If you buy a license off the shelf, you are usually free to transfer it, but if it's an OEM license, then you are probably not. Then again, in some jurisdictions, licenses are bound to a person only, and OEM restrictions does not apply (for example in Sweden). Also, in Sweden, any license you can't read before you buy (ie, it's inside the shrink wrap) does not apply.

* You already have legitimate licenses 3. If you have a MSDN subscription, you have the licenses needed to setup a development/test machine. Why buy again?

* You are going to use the computer for some specialized task, such as media player, firewall, web server, mail server and so on, requiring only a very minimal specialized OS (usually free and included in the server product).

* The preinstalled OS is usually a bloated beast, and you prefer to do your own install.

I've encountered all of these myself.
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