Most helpful critical review
2,119 of 2,335 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2011
This is the exact same version of Operating Systems that come pre-installed by all system manufacturers and I am writing this review to both caution and make everyone aware about an apparent change to the Microsoft EULA (End-User License Agreement) concerning the Activation process of these "System Builder" or "OEM pre-installed" versions of the Windows 7 Operating Systems (the capped portion was never a condition for previous versions of Windows Operating Systems, which USED TO be tied ONLY to the system's motherboard through the BIOS) and which states:
"Activation associates the use of the software with a specific computer. During activation, the software will send information about the software and the computer to Microsoft. This information includes the version, language and product key of the software, the Internet protocol address of the computer, and INFORMATION DERIVED FROM THE HARDWARE CONFIGURATION OF THE COMPUTER." - Section 4, Mandatory Validation.
This means that it is NO LONGER just tied to the system's motherboard (BIOS) as is still popularly believed, but now to ALL hardware components and their exact configuration (including unique serial numbers where applicable) of the target computer on which all OEM or "System Builder" versions of the Windows Operating System in question that is to be tied to them.
Just recently, my Acer Notebook's IDE 0 (Master) hard disk decided to fail on me after just 1 year and 8 months, and of course outside of the warranty period. So I replaced it not knowing of the aforementioned condition of the pre-installed EULA of this product which would BREAK my completely legal and fully purchased version of the pre-installed Operating System the very second I swapped the failing and the new functioning hard drives. Lo and behold, after the change of the hard drive model, serial number and capacity, my pre-installed Windows 7 Home Premium recovery disks (both a freshly ordered set and also a self-made image set) kept returning: "Windows Setup could not configure Windows on this computer's hardware" and kept restarting on the "Setup" screen and would go no further, no matter what I tried (on ALL six installation attempts). Curious, I perused the EULA to see if it could give me any information for why this was happening and discovered the reason for this to be the replacement of a faulty hard drive and because the pre-installed OEM version had remembered the original hardware configuration, and would not permit it's use just because of the new hard drive installation! And again, to remind you, on previous Windows versions, this was NEVER the case UNLESS the motherboard was changed!
If I had not been given a legal retail license key by a friend who owns their own computer repair business along with access to the .ISO bootable disk, I would have wound up with a fully functional $800 (+ $134.99 for the hard drive replacement) paperweight because of this problem. This is yet another prime example of how these monopoly software corporations are scheming up new and more devious ways to force us all to re-purchase again and again their products should misfortune strike (as it did for me with my original hard drive on this system)... or so it sure seems to me!
So for all of you system builders out there who love to tinker around or else upgrade their computer's hardware components, do yourself a huge favor right now to avoid financial heartache and just get the full retail version of your chosen Windows Operating System for a slightly larger cost... otherwise you will wind up spending TWICE or even more than what the full and transferable Operating System would have cost you in the first place! It happened to me, and it WILL happen to you somewhere down the line. And I must state that Linux Ubuntu is looking more and more attractive to me (a life-time Microsoft Windows user) with every new "Windows" OS and all of their new "conditions" intended to only cause misery for your support of them and their software...
Bottom line: a purchased and legitimate "OEM" Operating System being broken after a simple hard drive replacement ON THE SAME COMPUTER IT CAME WITH is absolutely and unequivocally UNACCEPTABLE, Microsoft!