Microsoft talks about Vista's new licensing

By Justin Mann on October 15, 2006, 7:28 PM
Update: Paul Thurrott of has posted a brief article clarifying some of the things supposedly misinterpreted during this past week regarding the changes in Windows Vista licensing terms. Paul was in contact with Microsoft in order to come up with the actual meaning of their new EULA for Vista. As a starter you should know that in Vista, just like you currently do with XP, you should be able to upgrade your machine as many times as you want; only needing to re-activate your copy of the OS when prompted to, via the Internet or through the phone. This is perhaps the most important part that was being reported inaccurately. In the other hand, Paul goes as far as saying: “Microsoft has clarified the EULA for Windows Vista. They've made it more readable, for starters, so normal people can get by the legalese and understand what the document really means.” I do not believe that is the case, I have read the EULA myself and for many case scenarios, the explanations Microsoft provides remain very unclear and ambiguous.

If you can't wait to rush out and buy a brand new retail copy of Vista when it hits the shelves, you may want to take a look at the new licensing that Microsoft is introducing first. “Restrictive” isn't really quite the term, accurate though it would be. “Bizarre” would fit better, and some of it is outlined here. One of the oddest things is Microsof'ts stance against virtual machines. While allowing Vista Ultimate and Business to be run in a VM, all other versions are barred from it. Meaning if you are running Basic or Premium in a VM, you're violating the license.

Vista will also strip OS functionality should validation fail. What people feared with activation in XP is now coming true in Vista. The OS will periodically “validate” itself, and if it finds that you are a dirty pirate it will limit your use. It also only allows you to transfer a license once. Meaning, if you have a Vista-equipped PC and you rebuild it, you must transfer the license... and then never again can you repeat that process. Some people are used to replacing many components of their PC quite often, going through an entire rig in mere months. Enthusiasts beware.

User Comments: 14

Got something to say? Post a comment
xdiesel said:
As I had feared Vista will stop me constantly upgrading my pc unless i am prepared to buy a new copy after 1 transfer. Typical microsoft not content with being one of the richest companys in the world (if not the richest). Now there forcing pc enthusiasts to buy multiple copys of vista no thanks Anti piracy my backside more like Anti Consumer
darth_terra1 said:
just what the hell are Microsoft playing at only 1 transfer and that's it, forget Vista i'm sticking with XP pro
disciple said:
Microsoft seem to be really shooting themselves in the foot here. First off the DX10 debacle and now this. I thought that Vista was meant to be gamer friendly; everyone knows that to keep up in the gaming world, you do have to upgrade on a regular basis to get the best out of the games. I don't think many gamers would be to happy buying various copies of an OS just so you can keep your pc up to date; that would just be stupid. I'll stick with XP until Microsoft sees sense instead of $£ signs.
asphix said:
That licensing issue is pretty rediculous.I was planning on buying Vista Ultimate right at release since I have an extra computer with no OS right now. But something like this is enough to make me skip out on it completely.If this is how they are going to do things, and they're (microsoft) adamant about sticking with it, I'll hold on to XP until it loses support and in the meantime I'll slowly start using Linux/Unix as a primary OS.Gaming? Well, consoles have been treating me alright so far. I just think a restriction of this sort is lunacy. My upgrade cycle isnt all that often, but I tinker with my computers all the time. I love overclocking and experimenting with my computers and this usually results in required reinstallation.The only way I would still consider purchasing vista in light of this licensing fiasco is if after a hardware change or major OS crash, you can easily run a repair which is certain to fix your issue (ie. reinstalling the OS on top of a previous install is not considered "transfering" the license.)But, what about hard drive upgrades? Theres just too many questions.. this makes my head hurt..[Edited by asphix on 2006-10-13 08:33:36]
sngx1275 said:
Well I too was considering buying one of the versions on release. But with only 1 lisence switch I've almost completely reversed my thoughts.They are screwing the enthusiast here and I'm not really sure how much its going to hurt them. Percentage wise I'm guessing we are pretty low for their userbase, most being OEMs and buisnesses then the home consumer then us. I don't see this really hurting anyone above us in the line that much.
---agissi--- said:
Now buying Vista really is money out the window for us enthusiasts! It'll either demote Vista, or PROMOTE pirating. Good chance people will want to use vista, so it'll be #2.
jerryjam said:
I for one am tired of paying too much for too little and for too many problems. Been buying MS since Win 3 and own all versions except Vista. Was ready to purchase. Now forget MS blood sucking ways. The MAC guys were correct and I should have listened to them several thousand dollars ago.
fludlite said:
Invalid authentication resulting in service denial for purchaser??? I'm having great difficulty deciding what a Pirate is?? Linux and Open Source are really looking a lot better now! No new Vista for me.
crusty664 said:
This is utter nonsence...I am now going to forget Ms and certainly will not be buying Vista or reccomending it to anyone else.The only way this is any good is if the price of a computer comes right down and we can throw them out and replace them rather than upgrading.I am sure this will also impact suppliers as sales will also slow down as people dont mod/upgrade their computers.MS VISTA = Joke.
canadian said:
Also, as I discovered with XP, there is a small chance that upgrading your motherboards Bios will result in making Windows believe it is in a new computer. Does this also mean only one bios upgrade until you must re-purchase?
drsherlock said:
I look forward to Vista and its hopeful improvements. I fix peoples' computers and many take security and buggy programs for granted where the OS gets messed up pretty bad and costly to repair. System rebuild is the last option. I agree that a second rebuild should be sufficient and my clients should learn from their mistakes. However, they should not be punished from their license on their assigned system. I can see a migration away from Microsoft OS. If they have to pay for a new license then the fee should be very small.
drsherlock said:
I just got a call from a customer and asked if it is possible to convert Windows data and programs to the Mac. I asked why and the answer was interesting. I hope the license policy changes.
zephead said:
what a load of crap. there has got to be some way around this...people are not going to like buying a new lisence after thier second reformat.
gam3r said:
I have one question. Are MS still going to enforce that stupid 'buy one software pack for EACH computer in your house' rule???? Or will we finally be able to buy one copy of Windows for all the PCs in the household?Btw. I would love to ditch Windows and take up a good old MAC, but my much-loved video games aern't supported by it!!! P.S. I don't like consoles.
Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.