Dell refunds PC user for rejecting Windows
Sucks on Linux Mint
An enterprising PC user has been refunded on his copy of Windows, after he rejected Microsoft's operating system and license
Reg Reader Graeme Cobbett was paid $115 (£70.34) by Dell after he bought a Studio 1555 notebook with Windows Vista already loaded and complete with a free upgrade to Windows 7.
Rather than accept the Windows 7 upgrade, though, Graeme installed Ubuntu-based Linux Mint instead.
Why reject Windows 7, an operating system Microsoft's been pushing ahead of Thursday's launch as making PC users happy again, after the misery of Windows Vista?
Graeme, who outlined his reasons - with his experiences - here, blogged: "Have you ever actually read the Microsoft Windows End User License Agreement? It's pretty scary what you commit yourself to. If you buy Dell, then as soon as you start Windows then you agree to a second set of scary software terms. So reject them."
Anybody can reject the End User Licensing Agreement, it just comes down to the level of confidence you have in your technical skills apparently. Graeme downloaded Linux Mint to a separate PC and burned to a CD using ISO Recorder, then booted the Dell machine from disc the first time he started it.
By not starting Windows, Graeme didn't have to accept the terms of Microsoft's EULA. That, in turn meant, he was entitled to a full refund on the price of Microsoft's operating system from his computer supplier - Dell.
This is the clause in Microsoft's EULA Graeme took advantage of:
"By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead, return it to the retailer for a refund or credit. If you cannot obtain a refund there, contact Microsoft or the Microsoft affiliate serving your country for information about Microsoft's refund policies."
Turned out the installation and license part was relatively easy for Graeme and the refund was a little harder to get. It took Graeme two months and 14 email exchanges in total with Dell, plus one missed pick up by the computer manufacturer, before Graeme got his money. ®
Pardon my ignorance
Wouldn't be easier for Dell to simply offer the option of a laptop without a preinstalled OS? Any action on the part of M$ to stop them from doing just that would certainly meet the legal definition of "anticompetitive behaviour". How many people need to demand a refund before Dell considers the option of not charging them for something they don't want in the first place?
Free Money for Students!
Windows 7 Home Premium Student Price £30
Surely this is a no brainer for every student!
@ Apocalypse Later
> In Britain, contracts with consumers cannot be enforced if they are "unreasonable" (the law on business contracts is different).
That may well be the case, but with these EULAs there are often clauses along the lines of "you agree that the OS can phone home at any time and send us whatever information we ask it to - we won't tell you what it sends home, where we'll store that, what we'll do with it, or who we'll sell it to". Almost certainly not enforceable in law and almost certainly illegal under data protection law. OK, so we can ignore it as it's not legally enforceable ... except that it's a technical measure that will happen whether we agree with it or no, so our only option is to refuse the whole lot and reject the software.
Same with the equally illegal clauses like "we can remotely disable your system whenever we like if we think you've done something wrong - and you have no recourse to any third party because our word is law and whatever we decide is final". Just realising that the clause is not enforceable won't stop the shit happening.
What it needs is for someone with the wherewithall to actually challenge it in court and have it declared illegal - then MS could be forced to pony up a means of disabling all the technical measures enforcing illegal terms.
Oh yes, and to all those "if he didn't want Windows, don't buy something with Windows" posters. It's not about that, it's an argument about having the right to know what you're buying BEFORE you buy it, and the right to reject unreasonable contract terms.