1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Windows XP Licensing FAQs and common misconceptions

Discussion in 'Windows & Other Software' started by Burnsy2023, 31 May 2006.

  1. Burnsy2023

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 17 Nov 2003

    Posts: 36,718

    Location: Southampton, UK

    Revision 1.6.5

    What are the differences between XP home and XP Professional?


    Windows XP Professional is geared to a business environment whilst Home is as you’d imagine, built for the standard home user. Professional edition can do everything that home can do and more. Its main advantage is its ability to integrate into a Windows domain, allowing the computer to get group policies from the domain as well as remote software deployment and roaming profiles. Professional can also use offline file access and remote desktop. Apart from the networking accessibility, Professional also supports up to two physical processors, where as Home only supports uni-processor systems. Professional Edition also supports NTFS encryption which may be needed for people who keep confidential files on their computer.

    In most situations Home Edition is sufficient for most applications in the home and small office and is cheaper then Professional Edition.

    I have an original disc, so I have a legal version of the software, right?

    Wrong. When purchasing software there is a key concept to understand: you are purchasing the right to use the software under the terms of the End User Licence Agreement (EULA). Even though you may be able to install a product and activate it, it still may be unlicensed. Also, if you break the terms of the EULA, your license is usually revoked. Also, some software EULAs may allow you to use a backup copy of the software from somebody else as long as you are properly licensed; just because you have a copied disc doesn’t necessarily mean that you are using illegal software.

    I can activate Windows; therefore I have a legal Windows installation, right?

    No. Windows Product Activation is purely a technological means to prevent unlicensed software. It is possible for Microsoft to allow you to activate even though you are not licensed. For example you have changed a motherboard for performance upgrades rather then under a warranty claim.

    What is Windows XP x64? Should I install the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows?

    There is a full FAQ written by Otacon on this subject. Please look at this:
    http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showpost.php?p=6369301&postcount=36

    What are the differences between Windows XP and Windows Media Center Edition 2005?

    Designed to become the central digital media hub in any entrainment system, Windows Media Center 2005 brings new features to the operating system such as: HD TV Tuner Support, Dual TV Tuner Support, Enhanced DVD-Burner / DVD Writer Support including Direct to DVD Recording, Caller ID (Screen Pop) support which aren’t included in XP as standard. Another key feature is remote control support, so that you can have a customisable remote interface.

    Windows MCE is a superset of XP with only one exception. As with Windows Home Edition, a MCE system cannot be a member of a Windows Domain and therefore isn’t usually suitable for an office environment.

    Windows MCE is only available as an OEM edition, which means you do not get the flexibility of a retail license. It also means that as you are technically a System Builder and must adhere to the OEM System Builder License as well as the MCE EULA (if it’s your system). It also means there is no upgrade variety of MCE.

    With the fact that if you purchase MCE with the intention to install it on your machine and therefore a ‘System Builder’ kept in mind; you need to realise a key drawback: there is no end user support from either the reseller or Microsoft, other than what they have on their website.
     
    Last edited: 24 Jun 2006
  2. Burnsy2023

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 17 Nov 2003

    Posts: 36,718

    Location: Southampton, UK

    What are the differences between OEM and Retail editions?

    With an OEM edition of Windows there are certain restrictions in the EULA which differentiate it from the full retail version.

    Firstly, the OEM license is said to be ‘non-transferable’. This means that once the license has been attached to a particular PC, it cannot be moved to another, even if the OS has completely been removed from the first computer. The full retail version is slightly different. With the retail edition you are granted one concurrent license. This means that you can move the OS from one machine to another as long as you remove it from the first machine. It also means that you can change the hardware within the computer without it affecting the license validity.

    Also, with the retail license you are entitled to free technical support from Microsoft. The OEM edition has support provided by the OEM itself and support may not be complete or free.

    What components can I change in my system before I invalidate the OEM License?

    There is a general consensus that the OEM license is paired with the motherboard. You can generally change any other component bar the case where the COA is attached. If you change a significant amount of hardware you may be asked to reactivate, but this doesn’t mean that you are necessarily unlicensed.

    However, you can change the motherboard under a warranty claim if the motherboard was faulty. But, if you are simply upgrading for feature or performance enhancements, you would need a new OS license.

    What is a COA?

    A Certificate of Authenticity is a small sicker that contains your product key.
    [​IMG]


    It is compulsory, under the terms of the OEM licence agreement for the system builder to affix the COA to the system it is licensing. However, the COA isn’t definitive proof of a license.



    But it is a good indication if the PC is licensed.



    However, it is possible you have a fully licensed version of Windows without a COA, if you are under a Volume License Agreement or similar.

    On the COA it says “1-2 CPU”. What does this mean?

    This means that the License allows either one or two physical CPUs to be installed on the system. A dual core machine would only have one physical processor.
     
    Last edited: 31 May 2006
  3. Burnsy2023

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 17 Nov 2003

    Posts: 36,718

    Location: Southampton, UK

    What is the different about an Upgrade License?

    The upgrade license is available to user who has a previous qualifying Windows product and withes to upgrade to the current version. Because you are using the same product, you are generally rewarded by having a cheaper upgrade license then a full retail or OEM license. To use a Windows upgrade CD, you must have either a genuine previous version on accessible media such as a CD or DVD or have an existing installation. You must have a legal and licensed version of the previous version for the upgrade to also be legal. If you have an existing installation, all of your current settings and applications will usually stay intact unless there is an incompatibility.

    What is the Genuine Advantage Program?

    The Genuine Advantage Program is Microsoft’s initiative to curb piracy of Windows without having a public relations disaster. Microsoft has been actively seeking to forcibly prevent people from using unlicensed software by adding a particular update to Windows Online Update Service. The update validates the user’s Windows installation and users who have been detected to be using an illegal copy of Windows are offered to purchase a retail license of Windows XP Professional under a special deal of £92 or £61 for XP Home. However, if you have a professionally pirated version of the OS, you can get a free license of Windows. However, you will need to send the CD or DVD to Microsoft as well as saying where it was purchased. Under the scheme, users can change their existing installation to a legal, licensed Windows installation. If a user chooses not to buy a legal copy, the system prevents them for getting programs and services from Microsoft such as OS updates and utilities such as Windows Defender and Windows Media Player 11.

    Do we get media with the Genuine Advantage Program?

    Yes. When you have purchased a retail license from Microsoft’s GAP site, you are issued with a new license (product) key and a software tool that allows you to change the assigned licence key to your existing installation. A Genuine Advantage Kit CD will also be posted 4-6 weeks after the confirmed order.

    What is XP Corporate?

    ‘XP Corporate’ is the name commonly used to describe a set of media usually bought by large organisations on a Volume Licensing Agreement with Microsoft. This set of media is unlicensed unless you are covered by your companies licence and should only be distributed by your companies IT department. This version of XP does not require activation and is therefore distributed illegally online with an associated VLK (Volume License Key). Any organisation that has a Volume Licence Agreement with Microsoft has a duty to keep the VLK confidential under the terms of license. If an organisation leaks it’s VLK into the internet through negligence they are breaking their license and therefore all clients using that Windows under the Volume Licence have their license revoked. Therefore this media is seldom distributed to employees without the VLK integration into the setup package (therefore keeping it secret). VLKs that are distributed and caught by Microsoft are blacklisted and any client using an unlicensed OS will be offered to buy under the Genuine Advantage Program.

    If I have an XP Professional License could I run Windows 2000 Professional legally?

    Yes. Under the terms of the XP license you have the right to downgrade to the following versions legally: Windows 2000 Professional, Windows NT Workstation version 4.0, Windows 98 (Second Edition). However, you not provided with the media or product keys and Microsoft are not obligated to provide them to you. If you are running XP Media Centre Edition or XP Tablet PC Edition, you are not granted any downgrade rights.

    Common Myths

    Q. Can I install the same copy of Windows XP on more than one computer in my own house? Can't I install one copy on my desktop and my laptop?
    A. No, this has never been permitted by the Windows license. You can install Microsoft Office XP on both your desktop and your laptop, but Windows has always allowed only one installation per copy.


    Q. Is there an upper limit to the amount of times I can activate a licensed copy of Windows?
    A. No, you can activate a licensed product as many times as you wish, albeit after the first few times automatic online activation will fail. If automatic activation fails phone up activation support on the phone number provided.

    Q. Isn’t the Windows license distributed on the Genuine Advantage Program an OEM version? Isn’t that about the same price?
    A. As has been said before, the license granted on the GAP is the Full Retail License worth about £160 for Home and £250 for Professional.

    Q. What hardware qualifies to purchase an OEM license?
    A. It used to be a piece of non-periperal hardware, but Microsoft have since relaxed thier licensing policy with this and OEM licenses no longer need to be sold with hardware.

    Q. Do I need to reinstall if I take part in the Genuine Advantge Program?
    A. If you use the electronic key tool that MS will provide a link to, you can legalise your installation without the need for a format and reinstall.
     
    Last edited: 24 Jun 2006
  4. Otacon

    Capodecina

    Joined: 10 Jan 2004

    Posts: 21,921

    Location: All over

    Nicely done dude :)
     
  5. Trigger

    Mobster

    Joined: 15 Dec 2004

    Posts: 3,819

    Excellent mate. Answers a lot of questions constantly popping up on here and a few quirks of my own too :o

    Needs Stickying IMO!

    Thanks :D
     
  6. benjo plz.

    Capodecina

    Joined: 15 Jan 2004

    Posts: 14,204

    Location: Hall

    [​IMG] Top Stuff :D.

    Although it would be usefull to add the info about XP pro (ret?) allowing use on a laptop and a desktop.
     
  7. Otacon

    Capodecina

    Joined: 10 Jan 2004

    Posts: 21,921

    Location: All over

    Common myth (at least, it has been for a very long time, and is still the case). Show me where it says that in the EULA?

    There are some minor exceptions here, but none pertain to the Operating system (merely Office et al). Actually, that is a bit of a lie. The EULA for Server 2003 Enterprise R2 allows another (2?) installations of the same OS to be virtualised on the same hardware.
     
  8. Energize

    Caporegime

    Joined: 12 Mar 2004

    Posts: 29,322

    Location: England

    Possibly could do with some information about the differences between windows mce and xp 64 edition as well.
     
  9. Burnsy2023

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 17 Nov 2003

    Posts: 36,718

    Location: Southampton, UK

    Are you sure?

    Virtualised with emulation software right?

    Burnsy
     
  10. Burnsy2023

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 17 Nov 2003

    Posts: 36,718

    Location: Southampton, UK

    Yes I really should, there are some key differences in the MCE EULA.

    Burnsy
     
  11. benjo plz.

    Capodecina

    Joined: 15 Jan 2004

    Posts: 14,204

    Location: Hall

    Probably, although I heard it on here :o.
    They might have changed it with R2..
     
  12. marc_howarth

    Gangster

    Joined: 29 Jul 2005

    Posts: 445

    Location: Matlock

    Very handy, there's been a lot of posts about OEM and Retail recently.

    thanks for clarifying. Deffo sticky :)
     
  13. Otacon

    Capodecina

    Joined: 10 Jan 2004

    Posts: 21,921

    Location: All over

    I lied a little, seems it's actually 4 instances :)

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/howtobuy/licensingr2/overview.mspx
    Big change that. Sign if the times.
     
  14. Burnsy2023

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 17 Nov 2003

    Posts: 36,718

    Location: Southampton, UK

    That is very useful to know...

    But maybe too specific for a thread like this? I could go deep into server licensing if people wish...

    Burnsy
     
  15. Otacon

    Capodecina

    Joined: 10 Jan 2004

    Posts: 21,921

    Location: All over

    Oh it's well out of the scope of what you were trying to achieve, just being a pedant to myself. When you're happy with the content we'll merge the neccesary posts into the existing sticky and leave this thread for discussion :)
     
  16. Burnsy2023

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 17 Nov 2003

    Posts: 36,718

    Location: Southampton, UK

    It could be a few days before I have it finalised, I think i'll put in differences with X64 and things like that etc so you may need to bare with me.

    Thanks :)

    Burnsy
     
  17. benjo plz.

    Capodecina

    Joined: 15 Jan 2004

    Posts: 14,204

    Location: Hall

    One nb, you can activate xp upto 10 times (i believe).
     
  18. Burnsy2023

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 17 Nov 2003

    Posts: 36,718

    Location: Southampton, UK

    I'm going to do a little bit on common misconceptions and this is a prime example.

    You can activate a licensed product as many times as you wish, abeit after the first few times automatic online activation will fail. But with a phone call you will be sorted out.

    Burnsy
     
  19. oddjob62

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 8 Nov 2002

    Posts: 9,128

    Location: NW London

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/expertzone/newsgroupfaq.mspx

     
  20. Burnsy2023

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 17 Nov 2003

    Posts: 36,718

    Location: Southampton, UK

    Completed some updates.

    If anyone has any questions they think would be useful to include, then I'd be very greateful.

    Burnsy

    Edit: And come on guys, give me some stars ;)