Buying Microsoft Windows

Having purchased my Novatech nFinity n1410, I thought that I would install Windows as a virtual machine. Nothing easier, I thought, and trotted off to my local Currys.

On entering Currys there was plenty of evidence of the new Windows 8, but I noticed that all the copies were upgrades from Windows 7 or Windows XP.  Currys explained that they do not stock full copies of Windows, only the upgrades, and stated that this was not a Curry's issue, but that it was a Microsoft policy to only sell full versions of Windows via their website.

So I found myself searching online for "buy windows 8" and ended up on the Microsoft site, but, as with Currys, the only versions available were upgrades.

Starting to feel like I'd entered the Twilight Zone, I searched at BT Business Direct, this seemed to be much more successful and I found 4 choices available, but all the versions were OEM copies which I assumed that I was not legally permitted to install on a VM. It appeared that the only choices were OEM licences or Retail upgrade licences, on the face of it - leaving users like myself unable to legally buy Windows at all.

I thought perhaps that this was a short-term anomaly post-launch, but it seems not. Apparently the OEM version is all things to all people, being both a Retail copy for non-system builders, and an OEM copy for system builders (read more). If this is correct then this means that those 4 choices at BT Business Direct may be okay for me afterall.

And here is the word from Microsoft on the matter: "If you are building a computer for your personal use or installing an additional operating system in a virtual machine, you can now purchase OEM System Builder software using the Personal Use Licence." After pouring over the text of EULAs, this is actually easy and unequivocal. Well done Microsoft.

Knowing my preference for all-things GNU/Linux and FLOSS, some of you may be wondering why I need Windows at all. The reasons are very few and I don't use Windows from one month to the next, but I would find it difficult to eradicate completely:

  1. Tax return: I know that it can be done under Linux, but I prefer to use TaxCalc.
  2. Road Angel: I have found no way of updating my Dad's Road Angel without Windows.
  3. Inforad: Similarly I have found no way of updating my Inforad without Windows.
  4. Leappad2: I have found no way of updating my childrens' Leappad2's without Windows.

So there we have it, we can now officially buy the OEM version for our VMs.

At least I think so.

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