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Microsoft Will Allow Vista Reinstalls 349

Claus Valca writes "I just spotted over on the Windows Vista Team Blog the news that the Windows Vista retail licensing terms are being revised. Looks like PC home-brew system builders have been let back into the Vista party!" From the article: "Our intention behind the original terms was genuinely geared toward combating piracy; however, it's become clear to us that those original terms were perceived as adversely affecting an important group of customers: PC and hardware enthusiasts. You who comprise the enthusiast market are vital to us for several reasons, not least of all because of the support you've provided us throughout the development of Windows Vista. We respect the time and expense you go to in customizing, building and rebuilding your hardware and we heard you that the previous terms were seen as an impediment to that — it's for that reason we've made this change."
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Microsoft Will Allow Vista Reinstalls

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  • Er.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by E IS mC(Square) ( 721736 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @05:58PM (#16695515) Journal
    Looks like Microsoft has just discovered this PC and hardware enthusiasts group?!
    • It would have been a slap in the face to the home brewer considering that's where Microsoft started off all those years ago.

      Uncle Bill, we know you'd come through!

      • I imagine Microsoft is worried that PC enthusiasts will either continue to use Windows XP, or switch over to an alternative OS. Not that PC enthusiasts are a significant part of the market on their own, but because they tend to influence the decisions of the masses.
      • by Fred_A ( 10934 )
        All those years ago (in 76), Microsoft was already calling the PC enthusiasts thieves and pirates...
        It's nice to see traditions are still going strong in that company.
    • Looks like Microsoft has just discovered this PC and hardware enthusiasts group?!

      Not quite, but this is the first time they've actually liked us. I mean, given what Mr Gates used to think about computer hobbyists [].

  • [Our intention behind the original terms was genuinely geared toward combating piracy;]

    If the only concern was preventing piracy, there wouldn't be any restrictions on what user that bought pre-built machines could do with their bought and paid for copy of Windows Vista either; if you bought a copy ofVista, and want to junk or upgrade your old machine and install that same copy of Vista on it, you should be able to. You paid for a license. The license terms were, and are, genuinely geared towards making
    • Well this is the problem with all of Microsoft's "anti-piracy" efforts so far: They don't really hinder piracy, but make it very hard, sometimes, for legitimate users to do legitimate things.

      With Windows XP's activation, pirates shared/downloaded the corporate version, which didn't require activation, or else they found ways to crack the whole scheme. Now apparently Microsoft is forcing the corporate versions to activate as well, which might be a deal-breaker for corporate customers (myself included). It

      • by Sancho ( 17056 )
        I don't think the corporate thing will be quite as big a deal as you're thinking. As I read it, the company basically sets up a server to handle authentication much in the same way that they might set up a server to handle windows updates. The corporate machines periodically check in with this server, which periodically checks in with Microsoft. Configuring the clients won't be a pain, because it will just be rolled in with the Group Policies that should be applied to each host. Configuring the server m
    • The price you pay for the OEM license is what, $40 (depending on what version of Windows the OEM bundled)?
      So for paying that much lower price you get more restrictions. You want fewer restrictions, then pay for a retail license at retail prices.
      • Try $120... in your local or walmart. that's what normal people are generally paying for an OEM copy of Win XP Home.
        • by Sancho ( 17056 )
          That's still cheaper than even the upgrade (which required you to have purchased Windows at some point in the past, too).
    • Pre-built licenses are sold at a steep discount, it makes sense you can't take your $50 dell windows license and move it over to a homebuilt. If anything, maybe they should let you pay the other $50 and upgrade to a retail license.
  • this is a good thing no two ways about it. Sure, they shouldn't have limited the OS in the first place, but the fact they are so quickly changing this is a step in the right direction. Given what I have just read about the EULA, I won't be touching Vista, but for those that seriosly need their game fix and DirectX v10 is where it is at for them, at least they can buy that new 6 gajillion dollar gfx card (or 4 of them) and go nuts without worrying their Windows install is going to puke on them. I'm no MS
    • Yes, and it is a good thing to stop kicking puppies, beating your spouse and/or kids, and dumping toxic waste into a stream. However, that does not mean "it is best to applaud the move." Microsoft is capable of pulling its head out of its ass for once -- so what?
    • "So, I applaude you MS for doing the right thing"

      What you should be doing is complaining that MS tried to pull this bullshit in the first place. Thanking them for retracting an unfair and onerous provision is the LAST thing you should be doing.

      You should be saying "That's right assholes fix your EULA, if you ever try to pull crap like that again I'll migrate my entire office to Linux". Applaud them? Right.
    • Your mention of DirectX 10 reminded me of something I've been wondering for a while. Isn't the Vista transition the perfect time for game developers to jump ship to a platform like, say, the new Mac Pros?

      Vista appears to aim at using more CPU and graphics resources than ever before. While this may give us some pleasing eye candy, and enhanced security (really) for those browsing the web and using e-mail, what does this overhead do to games?

      In the PC world, gamers have long been early adopters for new

      • by jerw134 ( 409531 )
        Vista appears to aim at using more CPU and graphics resources than ever before. While this may give us some pleasing eye candy, and enhanced security (really) for those browsing the web and using e-mail, what does this overhead do to games?

        It does absolutely nothing to games. In fact, games will perform better on Vista than they did on XP. Vista basically unloads the GUI and other parts of the OS that are not essential to gaming when a game is started up, so that it can have maximum resources availabl
      • Intelligent game developers, save for the ones who are obsessed with pushing the envelope of graphical masturbation, should already be using OGRE [] and other cross-platform libraries. Sadly, it seems like 90% of the industry has cutting-edge graphics as its first priority. Why? As far as I'm concerned, Quake 3 and the games based on the engine still look great seven years later. At some point, they'll have to stop focusing on video candy designed so "hardcore gamers" can justify their hardware expenses.
  • The EULA and DRM is still like a pair of handcuffs and only Microsoft has the key.

    The price will be right, so most consumers won't care until those handcuffs start getting too tight around the wrist.

    If you value your freedom, you will switch to a different OS. BSD and Linux are two options.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EvilSS ( 557649 )
      Actually this was the one really sore spot in the EULA. With this gone, the EULA is actually less restrictive than previous versions of Windows. Allowing Ultimate/Business to run a second copy in a VM, for instance. XP would require a second license to do that.

      It is amazing how much FUD there has been about this EULA though. The (very incorrect) bit about not being able to run certain versions on virtual hardware is one that keeps coming up.
      • Wendy [] wouldn't exactly agree with you... I for one see plenty other things wrong with the EULA. The reinstall thing, as detailed here on /. on previous discussions, was a joke. You can always call the 800 number and whine and they'll give you a new key, an unlimited one at that. Someone said it's easier than browsing for the crack, you just dial and a nice person dictates the new license number.

        Oh, and the virtual limitations are very real [], thank you very much.
        • by EvilSS ( 557649 )
          The only thing real with the Virtualization restriction myth is the inability of people to comprehend what they are reading. It's very clear if you actually take the time to read the EULA what they mean: you cannot install (with a single license) Windows Vista on physical AND virtual hardware at the same time unless you have Business/Ultimate. The article you quote (a rip directly from the guy's very blog is wrong).

          As for the rest:
          1. "Self-limiting software": Simple, don't pirate it. MS charges for i
          • Stop peddling this nonsense. It never says anything about "physical AND virtual". The words don't read that way that and MS isn't interpreting it that way. End of story.
      • Where in the 2000 lisences does it say they will automatically delete files it thinks are "high" or "Severe"?
        (sect. 6 of the vista EULA)

        Connects to MS and not tell you?

        revokes your abiltity to play media if it thinks you ahve violated copyright?

        (sect. 7)

        Updates firmware without your permision? applies to media devices.

        Plus all the stuff that exists in XP and 2000 that is crap.

        It's not Vista I don't like its the EUAL and MSs business history I don't like.
    • Either read up or shut up about the DRM. Look here's how it goes: The DRM is relevant only to media playback, specifically HD-DVD playback. It is MANDITORY if you want an AACS license, required to decode HD-DVDs. It doesn't affect anything else. It does not stop you from running whatever apps you like, it doesn't stop you from making your own media, nothing.

      The other option they had was to simply not support HD-DVD. Maybe that's what you'd have rathered but I think you can see why they aren't interested in
  • This is a good first step and Microsoft are to be applauded for taking it. Now on to the other issue - virtualisation. I'd like the ability to install into a VM please, and I'd definitely like to view any form of media I choose whilst inside the VM. If consumer pressure worked once, perhaps it can work again.

    • Purchase any version besides home, and your wish is their command! link []
      • by mccalli ( 323026 )
        Purchase any version besides home, and your wish is their command! link []

        No, it isn't. Although I can run up the OS in that, they're restricting what I can do with it - specifically the viewing of media files. Since just about the only reason I've personally got to think of moving to Vista is its media support, that means I'm completely locked out.

        • Well, look on the bright side: unless your VM has a bug in it there's nothing they can do to stop you, and the EULA may well be invalid anyway. The former, of course, will be wiped out by TPC. The latter, I've heard, is at risk because of laws in some US states that validate EULAs.

          For things like BlueRay that use HDCP you need real video/audio hardware anyway. And I always thought VMs weren't that good for media anyway. What with their typical timing issues, lack of direct hardware access, high latency.
      • by Knara ( 9377 )
        Actually, I believe that the premium version also disallows VM usage, but I could be wrong. Too darn lazy to look it up again, but I vaguely recall being annoyed that the business version is the only one that will "legally" allow me to use it in a VM. Could be wrong, though (however, the pricetag of the premium version allows it to retain the "ridiculous" bit).
    • They really need to get together with Intel and AMD. Virtualization is the future. Windows is destined to become a segmented product with multiple versions. Different products for different puposes simplifies everything. Everything in it's own VM. VM Appliances. The OS and Microsoft applications will become one through a reincarnated Windows CE.

      We will have "Windows Media Center" for games and all that DRM goodness.

      We will have "Windows Office" for business applicaitons.

      We will have "Windows Server" f
    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      Does the license even define what a VM is? Almost any piece of hardware these days could arguably be thought of as a VM, as their logic behind their operation is typically designed by microcode.
    • I find it ironic that Vista RC1 runs better on a fake PC than on a real one. :-)

      ...laura, VMware Server under Slackware 10.2

  • Drink the Kool-Aid. Trust us - it's delicious.
  • by revery ( 456516 ) <charles@cac2 . n et> on Thursday November 02, 2006 @06:04PM (#16695629) Homepage
    First Microsoft partners with Novell to support Linux and now they are responding to a request regarding a license change in an all too human way, with normal human words and everything. It reminds me of an old Dilbert strip:

    If aliens kidnap and then impersonate Steve Ballmer, is it a bad thing?
    It depends on the aliens...

    • If aliens kidnap and then impersonate Steve Ballmer, is it a bad thing? It depends on the aliens...

      Imagine alien spacecraft hovering above the planet bombarding us with millions of chairs, screaming that they will "fucking kill all humans"

      I think that is a very bad thing

      • Hmm... comparing to the real Balmer and bombarding us with a system that does its master's bidding and not ours...

        I'd prefer flying chairs.
  • Slashdotters falling on themselves to praise Microsoft for doing what they should've done in the first place. If Borg Gates says "Resistance is futile!", all these Slashdotters will surrender to Microsoft like the French surrendered to everyone else. Disgusting. :P
    • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) *
      > Slashdotters falling on themselves to praise Microsoft for doing what they should've done in the first place.

      And why not? They did something evil and stupid, people (read customers) yelled bloody murder and they listened. This is progress.... of a sort. When an evil & stupid corporatation (especially a monopolist like Microsoft) actually listens and responds favorably it should be singled out for praise. Praise them when they do the right thing and damn them when they do evil, perhaps enough st
      • I'd rather be a sad paranoid than a happy slave. And frankly, although Bush is nowhere near Hitler, it's the downward slope that scares me more--he may not be Hitler, but 20-30 years in the future?
        My final question for all the Bush-lovers who like seeing him with all these powers is this: Do you want Hillary Clinton to have those powers too? Even if I liked Hillary Clinton(she's too far to the right for me) I wouldn't want her to have those powers.
  • by ADRA ( 37398 )
    I never saw Microsoft fan-boys before I visited the blog. Funny how every comment was almost exactly like "Thanks, thats great!" with only one guy bringing up any kind of discussion. I guess its one of the big differences between open communities and broadcast communities. I use the term broadcast to refer to closed box discussions performed inside corp vs. the open discussion of all developers, customers, onlookers, etc..

    Not trying to start a flame here, but it was strange seeing people who -like- Microsof
    • wow to you ... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @06:31PM (#16696075) Journal
      Funny how every comment was almost exactly like "Thanks, thats great!" with only one guy bringing up any kind of discussion.

      Whats to discuss? They announced that they are changing the reinstallation restrictions.

      If (hypothetically speaking) the sysadmins had been blocking slashdot at your place of work work, and then unblocked it, would you say thanks or go on a tirade of why they should have done it differently in the first place? Which is more productive?

      Not trying to start a flame here, but it was strange seeing people who -like- Microsoft!

      I feel more productive in Word than Open Office. I am more productive in Visual Studio than gvim/kdevelop (although I am quite capable in gvim ... actually I do most of my development nowadays in linux under the current contract ). It is a matter of preference, that's all it boils down to. When you work in a world that deals in Microsoft and become accustomed to those tools, some of them are actually damn good tools, and you can pry them from my cold, dead, fingers :P
      • by geekoid ( 135745 )
        there not going to prey them from your fingers.
        They will take away your ability to do what you want with your computer.
        I am very proficiant will all MS development tools.
        Unless more changes in the EULA, I'm not going to install Vista at all. Hell, a managment position would be better then agreeing to the Vista license.

        You onle feel more productive out of habit. I have seen that arguement when a whole city was switching over to linux. in hindsite it proved to be false when all factors were considered.
  • All it's gonna do is result in more people warezing the business version instead of the home version.
    • Doesn't everyone warez the Pro version of XP as it is?
      • by Knara ( 9377 )
        Sure, but my point was that their EULA provisions seem like a waste of space. The point of limiting the VM usage is, I can only imagine, to force home users to get the business version if they want to use VM. Of course, the number of "home" users who use VM is vanishingly small once you eliminate the "enthusiast" crowd. So why put that provision in there at all? All it's doing is changing what version will get warez'd, and since the "business" version is likely (in spite of whatever MS says) to have som
  • But remember. What Microsoft gives (under considerable pressure from bad press) they can also quietly take away (later, when it's "safe" to do so or if they change their mind, etc.).

    This is the reason I don't buy software that requires me to ask permission to use what I've paid for.
  • Say what you will, (and I know you will,) but this is another example of how Microsoft is changing from inside. We're all quick to distrust MS, and inclined to bash, (myself certainly included) but I think that they are making some genuine steps lately towards being a likable company.

    Why? Well, my theory is that as they have grown bigger and bigger, they can't help but hire some nice, decent people, and then these nice people have grown in influence internally. It could also be that they see Google as their
  • "Our intention behind the original terms was genuinely geared toward combating piracy"
    So paraphrasing one /. user's sig: If it ain't pirated... define "pirated" more broadly?
    I might not understand this sophisticated masterplan, but looks to me like it could only make more running copies "pirated".
  • by Klaidas ( 981300 )
    Microsoft Will Allow Vista Reinstalls
    Umm, hello? WHat's so cool about that? It should be allowed by DEFAULT! It's like... allowing free speech... I mean, it shouldn't even be denied in the first place!
  • by quizzicus ( 891184 ) <(johnbanderson) (at) (> on Thursday November 02, 2006 @06:27PM (#16696019) Journal
    I think Microsoft woke up to the fact that "PC and hardware enthusiasts" provide billions of dollars worth of free technical support to friends (read: anybody who finds out that you're good with computers). This is something we'd be markedly less willing to do if we didn't use Windows ourselves.
    • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
      Don't forget that we also drive the PC Hardware market, without which, Vista wouldn't have the computer power to run efficiently. (I'm assuming that it CAN run efficiently, of course.)
    • This is something we'd be markedly less willing to do if we didn't use Windows ourselves.

      Actually I think what they are worried about is that we would NOT be less willing to keep giving advice but that the advice would end up being "why don't you try out the Linux/BSD/... OS? I can fix it and make it do what you want and it is completely free."
    • That sounds a bit far fetched. I think it's rather for PR reasons -- computer enthusiasts may not be a majority of Windows users, but they're hardly few to be neglected and might have made even more noise if the license was kept as-is.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by syousef ( 465911 )
      Call me a cynic but I think the whole thing was a PR stunt.

      1) Announce draconian unbearable restrictions on your new OS that you don't want to pass. Include other only slightly less harsh restrictions that you do want to pass (DRM).
      2) Wait for people to complain loudly about the unbearable restriction.
      3) Change unbearable restriction to something more reasonable. Keep other restrictions (DRM)
      4) If anyone complains, claim you've compromised.
      5) ????
      6) Profit!!!!!

  • I just spotted over on the Windows Vista Team Blog the news that the Windows Vista retail licensing terms are being revised.

    This may be a dumb question, but there isn't a separate OEM license, right? I'd hate to think I had to pay the full retail price to be able to make major changes later to a system I was buidling from scratch at the moment. I only ask as it's the kind of stupidity I expect from Microsoft.
    • I am pretty sure that if you get Vista via OEM, it is much more restricted.
      Say your store-bought, Vista pre-installed computer breaks the day after your warranty is up. You now have lots of dead hardware and the Vista CDs. You can't install Vista on another computer.
      I can't find a source to back me up here. Am I right?
      • by Shados ( 741919 )
        Correct. The OEM license is tied to the hardware. Whichever hardware you bought it with. It is very possible to be eligible for OEM by just buying a motherboard or something, so as long as the motherboard doesn't change, you're good to go. I -THINK- there are terms for if the hardware actualy fails you, but they are limited.
        _however_, the license only ties you to the purchase, and the "license checker" mechanism won't be aware of the terms of the license. So its a kind of "be reasonable" area. If you chan
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shados ( 741919 )
      OEM is, and has always been tied to the hardware you buy it with. So technicaly the license doesn't allow you to change PC. But OEM licenses are like 1/3rd the price when bought on your own, and abysmal (like, 10$ or something?) if you get it as part of something like a pre-built Dell. So if you get a 100$ OEM license when getting a new computer, then, while Vista's internal mechanism will (most likely) let you install it all over like if it was a full version (since technicaly, it is a full version), you'r
  • Apologizing for their error in judgement and rectifying it is a step in the right direction. But I see some here saying that Microsoft deserves no credit for this... that Microsoft shouldn't have made such a choice in the first place, and why should you thank someone for changing their mind about doing something wrong or stupid? But what does it accomplish to chastise someone for a wrong decision that they've already decided to go back on anyways? At best, nothing at all (although even then, it probabl

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @07:24PM (#16696853)
    What will we celebrate next? That you can actually expect a system to be safe? That you can run and install software without being administrator? That you can create a SSL tunnel to it?

    That's something I expect from my OS. Yes, I'm greedy and brazen like that to expect that.

    What's next, MS threatening to take away our ability to run third party software and then suddenly "reallowing" it, and we'll celebrate them as the next messiah for it?

    Folks, don't be silly here. The only reason they stepped back was that a lot of people voiced their concerns and said that they will not buy it under those conditions. They don't do us a service by allowing us to use a system we license.

    We do them a service by licensing it.
    • Ha!, just laughing at your sig.

      I would try to tell that joke to my friends, but it would require too much exposition.
  • "You who comprise the enthusiast market"

    So, in fact, the whining of nerds about MS screwups is worth whining. Because sometimes it protects everyone from MS screwups, when MS changes after hearing the whining.

    When people complain about that whining, calling it "MS bashing" among other insults, they're working against the improvement of MS products, and for the screwups.

    Whine on, nerds!
  • You know, I'm a pretty dedicated Windows user. I've ugraded to each version from 3.0 as soon as (or sometimes before) it's officially released (although I skipped Millenium). I was skeptical of XP at first because I didn't like the "Playskool look," but it grew on me and, moreover, the much improved stability was a welcome change. I've tried OSX, and quite a few flavors of Linux over the years, but I'm mostly a gamer/HTPC guy, and Windows gives me the best results in those areas. That said, I've tried t
  • Geewhiz,Thanks!
  • Ahhhhh. Thanks MS, for 'allowing' us to your your 400$ piece of bloatware. Frankly, you want to charge 400$ for anything, I better be able to not only install it as many times as I want on as many different computers(of mine) that I want any time that I want in the way that I want.

    It's called a legal transaction. I pay you, you hand over the product to me. You don't get to keep it after that. That's called "fleecing".

    I'm pretty much certain that XP is the end of the windows line for me. Ubuntu is look
  • Looks like PC home-brew system builders have been let back into the Vista party!

    Oh, wheee. Watery beer and date rape.

The trouble with money is it costs too much!