Licensing quiz answers

Licensing quiz answers

Summary: This post contains the answers to the licensing quiz I published earlier.

TOPICS: Hardware

Here are the answers to the licensing quiz. If you missed the quiz, go back and read the questions here. (And if you think I got something wrong, leave a note in the Talkback section. I've researched these answers very carefully, but the subject is complex and ever-changing, and it's possible I missed something.)

1. False. You can legally install a retail copy of Windows XP on one computer, remove it, and install the same copy using the same product key on a second computer. In theory, you can repeat this process as often as you want, although you probably won’t be able to activate those new copies over the Internet.

2. Unlimited. As long as the hardware is substantially unchanged, you should be able to activate Windows XP over the Internet after any number of reinstallations.

3. False. Even after you change the display adapter and RAM hard drive, Windows XP would still consider the hardware configuration to be “substantially the same.” See this article for details on the 10 hardware categories that are used to calculate whether reactivation is necessary.

4. False. An OEM license is bound to the system on which it’s originally installed and cannot legally be transferred.

5. False. This used to be true, and some online retailers still haven’t corrected their websites. But in August 2005, Microsoft changed its OEM licensing rules, eliminating the silly requirement that you had to buy a trivial little piece of hardware along with an OEM operating system. Now, anyone can buy an OEM version of any Windows operating system, including Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, if they are a “system builder.” And the rules of the System Builder program specifically state that a hobbyist qualifies, without having to join any organization or pay any fees.

6. False. Volume License agreements – including Academic, Gevernment, and Public Sector licenses – are for use only with upgrades. You need to purchase an OEM or full packaged product license for the original PC.

7. False. The 20 or so largest OEM computer makers are called Royalty OEMs. On computers built by these companies, the preinstalled copy of Windows (including the recovery CD) contains configuration files that look for specific information in the system BIOS. If they find that information, no activation is required. This procedure is called System-locked preinstallation (SLP).

8. True.

9. False. On a computer manufactured by a Royalty OEM that uses SLP (see the answer to question 7), the product key found on the sticker attached to the side of the PC is not used. If you reinstall Windows using the original SLP CD, no activation is required. If you try to install using a different OEM CD and the key from the sticker on the PC case, it will be rejected and you’ll have to phone in for activation.

10. False. Small OEMs are required to provide a CD, a Certificate of Authenticity, and a product key, which must be the same one used to install and activate Windows. Big OEMs (the so-called Royalty OEMs) may provide recovery media for each computer, but are not required to do so. If they do, the media must be protected so that it can be used only on that particular computer.

11. One.

12. Three. The license for Microsoft Office 2003 Student and Teacher Edition says you can legally install and activate it on up to three computers in your home. Note that the license specifically forbids using this edition of Office for business purposes.

13. Two, but only if the second copy is “a portable device for the exclusive use of the primary user of the first copy….”

14. False. To legally install Microsoft Office 2003 Student and Teacher Edition, you must be a “qualified educational user or a household member of a qualified educational user.” If you have a child in school, you qualify. If you’re a part-time student taking six or more credit hours in an accredited institution of higher education, you also qualify. (More details here.) You can continue to legally use the software even after you and the kids are out of school.

15. True.

16. True. But only if you have a retail or upgrade copy of Windows. OEM products don’t qualify. And the discounts are pretty meager.

17. True. You’ll have to jump through some hoops, though, and it’s possible that you won’t succeed. For lost Office product keys, start here. For a lost Windows product key, start here.

18. False. Although your Windows CD is not specific to your individual product key, that doesn't mean you can use any old Windows CD to reinstall. Product keys require media that matches the type of license the key represents. If you have an OEM product key, you need an OEM CD. For a retail or upgrade product key, you need retail media. If you try to reinstall from retail media and enter an OEM product key (or vice versa) , you'll get an error. In addition, media that has a service pack integrated into it may not work if the key was originally distributed with the original RTM version of Windows XP or a different service pack.


Topic: Hardware

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  • Well That explains why DELL boxes fail the WGA test.

    Your answer to one of the questions about SLP and the Royalty OEMs partially answers why my "Windows Genuine dis-Advantaged" Experience is so crappy. DELL support has been even more useless than Microsoft's. When I first started having problems with WGA and the CDROM key issues nobody at DELL had a clue and then referred me to M$ who of course returned me back to DELL. Not being a fool or a fan of ping-pong I decided to cut, slash and burn my way through the registry and try to fix the problem. Luckily I also had restore points at my disposal.

    I've had enough Microsoft generated aggravation and I'm going to start my migration to Linux. I've got 4 Windows desktop computers at work (2 of them DELLs) and they have been going through some of the same issues. At least I get paid to deal with that crap at work.

    As far as I know there isn't anybody with a vested (read financial) interest in whether or not I have a legitimate copy of Linux or not. Linus Torvald or the Penguin horde isn't going to send me a killcode like I was some satellite TV pirate or CDROM duplication house!
    • And now your problems really begin

      Good luck. A little aggravation is nothing to what you are going to get with moving to *nix. First, if you are not a *nix guru find one - NOW. If all goes well, you may be able to boot them in a network, then all you'll need are applications...

      But you won't have to worry about the WGA - you'll have much more to worry about - like how to get drivers for all the bits of hardware you have that aren't supported by that wonderful OS.

      May you live in interesting times ;-)
    • good bye automated crap, hello manual mess

      I'm having similar things happen... Windows takes the road of the outhouse, so, I'll go somewhere better.

      I've looked at linux, FreeBSD, MacOS X... and truly, for the administrator/programmer, the former 2 are best... for the user, Mac. Mac is even simpler than windows, rarely has the issue of driver setup, and that's because you must buy their over priced stuff.

      Linux has too many variants, so things aren't universally usable, and you go through hell setting it all up...

      FreeBSD doesn't have the same problems you'll find with linux, except for the lack of easy-to-find drivers... different reason though. FreeBSD is smaller and thus less developers, so less drivers are being written/slower rate of creation...

      not sure where I'll wind up, but I can guarantee that it will NOT be vista, and if there is Mac OS, it'll probably (99-100% likely) have at least one linux distro sharing the machine.
  • @003 Office

    There is also a "Military Office 2003" sold in Miltary Exchanges worldwide. The box says good for a single user; but when you install it - the EULA presented is the one for Student Teacher Office 2003 and says it is good for three installations - so even MS gets confused!
  • Microsoft licensing quiz

    For item 3, you answered a different question than you asked. Question 3 read "If you upgrade your video card and hard drive, you?ll have to reactivate Windows XP." But answer 3 begins "False. Even after you change the display adapter and RAM..." 'Hard drive' and 'RAM' are not different names for the same thing. I've never heard that changing RAM made any difference, but changing the hard drive is a substantial factor.