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Windows 7: What Microsoft won't tell you about Windows 7 licensing

03 Nov 2009   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower
What Microsoft won't tell you about Windows 7 licensing

November 3rd, 2009

What Microsoft won't tell you about Windows 7 licensing

Posted by Ed Bott @ 6:41 pm

Microsoft offers many ways to buy Windows 7. You can buy the operating system preinstalled on a new PC, upgrade an existing PC using a shrink-wrapped retail package, purchase an upgrade online, or build a PC from scratch and install Windows yourself. In each of these cases, you can also take your pick of multiple Windows editions The price you pay will vary, depending on the edition and the sales channel. There are different license agreements associated with each such combination. Those license agreements are contracts that give you specific rights and also include specific limitations.

This might sound arbitrary. Indeed, a common complaint I hear is that Microsoft should simply sell one version of its OS at one price to every customer. That ignores the reality of multiple sales channels, and the fact that some people want the option to pay a lower price if they donít plan to use some features and are willing to pay a higher price for features like BitLocker file encryption.

If youíre not a lawyer, the subject of Windows licensing can be overwhelmingly confusing. The good news is that for most circumstances you are likely to encounter as a consumer or small business buyer, the licensing rules are fairly simple and controversy never arises. But for IT pros, enthusiasts, and large enterprises knowing these rules can save a lot of money and prevent legal hassles.

I have been studying the topic of Windows licensing for many years. As I have discovered, Microsoft does not have all of this information organized in one convenient location. Much of it, in fact, is buried in long, dry license agreements and on sites that are available only to partners. I couldnít find this information in one convenient place, so I decided to do the job myself. I gathered details from many public and private sources and summarized the various types of Windows 7 license agreements available to consumers and business customers. Note that this table and the accompanying descriptions deliberately exclude a small number of license types: for example, I have omitted academic and government licenses, as well as those provided as part of MSDN and TechNet subscriptions and those included with Action Pack subscriptions for Microsoft partners. With those exceptions, I believe this list includes every license situation that the overwhelming majority of Windows customers will encounter in the real world.

The table below is your starting point. The license types listed in the columns of this table are arranged in rough order of price, from least expensive to most expensive. For a detailed discussion of each license type, see the following pages, which explain some of the subtleties and exceptions to these rules. And a final, very important note: I am not a lawyer. This post is not legal advice. I have provided an important disclaimer on the final page of this post. Please read it.
More at:;wrapper

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Nov 2009   #2

7 Home Premium x86

Seemed a bit scary at first sight but I am, however, quite satisfied with my academic upgrade purchase.

Nice find.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Nov 2009   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower

That's a four page blog seen there covering the oem, upgrade, and full version licensing in some detail. For the novice user unfamiliar with the EULA it would literally take a century to go through the various MS pages to find the original pages for each catagory.

When spotting this one I knew this would be a big help for many since the questions about what is different for oem and upgrade compared to full version licensing is always being asked sooner or later. The writer there has saved many the time they would otherwise see trying to research this themselves by gathering the information gathered there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Nov 2009   #4

7 Home Premium x86

That is most certainly true. It is also a great act, on your part, for finding it.

I probably would not have thought twice about the actual differences between the versions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Nov 2009   #5

Windows 7 Professional x64

Talk about pricing difference this link says that they're already selling pirated copies of Windows 7 in China for very little. Authentic copies for $58 (US)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Nov 2009   #6

7 Home Premium x86

How horrible! ...when they can get the genuine software for $35 with an .edu email address.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Nov 2009   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower

I spent the extra here for the full version of Ultimate in order to have all of the features available in that edition. I would simply advise people to avoid any of the crap being pushed there since you never know what's in it! Not Good!

There have already been enough warnings about those to start with. Pirated Windows 7 RC builds botnet | Security - CNET News
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 What Microsoft won't tell you about Windows 7 licensing

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