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Microsoft counters Windows 7 upgrade hack advice

Sweeps 'crapware' under carpet

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Microsoft has wagged its finger at users to dissuade them from hacking upgrade versions of Windows 7 to get a full copy of the new operating system on their PC.

Reacting to tips being served up online, Microsoft has warned that while it's technically possible to perform what's known as a "clean" install of Windows 7 on a PC, you'll be breaking the law.

You'll be breaking the Microsoft End User License Agreement (EULA), meaning you're potentially running a pirated copy of Windows.

Also, Microsoft has "reminded" small-and-medium-size businesses they cannot transfer licenses for Windows from old machines to new PCs.

Eric Ligman, global partner experience leading in Microsoft Worldwide partner group has blogged bluntly: "Bottom line is, no, OEM Microsoft Windows licenses do not have any transfer rights and live and die on the original computer they are shipped with and installed on, period.

These kinds of things happen each time there's a new release of Windows.

In past years, Windows users have posted advice on how to get the upgrade editions of Windows XP and Windows Vista working on PCs without Windows pre-installed on the hard drive.

Upgrade copies are always cheaper than the full product.

Last week's release of Windows 7 has delivered a fresh crop of advice.

"Unfortunately, it looks like it is time to have this conversation again," an apparently exasperated Ligman wrote. "Technically possible" does not always mean legal," he said of the advice being posted.

"When these posts and write-ups state that you can install clean from an Upgrade piece of software and they fail to mention that you need to own a qualifying software license to be legal to use the Upgrade software for the installation, they give the impression that because it is technically possible, it is legal to do.

"Unfortunately, by doing this, they irresponsibly put end users at risk of loading unlicensed software." ®

Bootnote

So-called "signature" PCs being showcased at Microsoft's inaugural retail store in Scottsdale, Arizona, aren't quite right. They're missing a feature PC users will be only too aware off: crapware, which has been deliberately excluded so as not to ruin the in-store computing "experience".

TechFlash has reported the PCs from OEMs at its store are missing all the useless apps, crippled and time bombed software that usually eat up valuable screen, processor and memory real-estate thanks to the cross promotional deals signed by Microsoft and OEMs.

Instead, you'll get full versions of Microsoft's Windows Live software and services, programs such as Silverlight, the Zune software, and Adobe's online technologies.

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