July 2010 - Q & A
Q: I have a friend who is wanting to install his old version of XP Home on the new computer he is purchasing. The question is can he retain two functioning copies simultaneously and does Microsoft know what he is doing? Can he transcribe or bring over from the old to the new PC the other programs he had running that were using XP Operating System?
A: First, there are two modes of getting Microsoft licenses. There is one called OEM which comes installed on a computer and is licensed with that computer and cannot be used on any other ever. OEM licenses are less expensive than a retail license which is about double the price. A retail license is for one computer and one only, but if you wipe out that computer and you do not use it anymore you can reinstall the license on another computer. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer and it is tied to the computer as manufactured. If you get another computer or make major changes to the computer you have, the license is no longer valid. Significant upgrades will not work either. What constitutes a significant upgrade? Microsoft is fairly strict about what they classify as a major upgrade. If your motherboard dies, and you get a new motherboard and the rest of the items remains fairly the same then Microsoft does not really care.
Technically you may violate the license because so much of this stuff is now on the motherboards that come with different components. There is a network card, video, sound and so forth are all on the card; therefore, you have technically replaced more pieces than the license will allow you to replace. If the motherboard dies and you have a license for it and you get another motherboard approximately the same capacity and capability, Microsoft will at least look the other way and not come get you with the net. Beyond that, they will, if they find you, they will disable your Windows. If you have an illegal copy of Windows XP, it will work, but will not upgrade automatically, manually you can upgrade but you cannot do Windows updates. It will nag you periodically, but it will not shut you down. Vista and Windows 7 will shut you down if they think you are illegal. You will end up where you cannot boot up your computer. Generally speaking, if you are buying a new computer, you probably are going to end up with a new operating system.
Q: I have a Mac and want to install Windows on it, can I?
A: Yes it will install, but the key code you have should not be an OEM and whatever computer you took it off of that had a retail license, you should take it out of service in order to be compliant. Although this is not specific to your question, I believe is generically for everyone, if you get Windows 7 Home, it does not come with a downgrade to XP. Windows 7 Ultimate's downgrade will expire in 2015. If you purchase Windows 7 Pro, it comes with a downgrade that will expire in 2020. Why the difference in expiration dates I have no clue, but those are the numbers.
Often we have customers that are in a business and there is some small software company that develops a tool critical for the operation of their business, but will not run on Vista or 7. You downgrade to XP until the small software company gets around to getting it upgraded correctly. . Because of that alone, it is important to go with Windows 7 Pro. I tend to like Pro which is a bit more expensive, but it will not leave you in a cannot-do-that state, which Home can do. Formerly, Home had a lot of multimedia stuff that Pro did not have, but that is no longer the case. Pro comes with all the things that Home version come with. Those of you who are purchasing laptops, many are coming with Pro because corporations have to connect them to their work at the office and you cannot connect Home to a Windows domain network.
Michael: As far as your program goes, the programs you have running on your old machine, depending on the licensing for that company, each company does their licensing individually. Adobe, much like Microsoft, only one computer is allowed to run that software. If you want to run Photo shop on your Mac under your new version of XP, you must remove it and unlicense it from your desktop, As long as you have the disks for the old program, you can install them on the XP install on the Mac.
Q: A follow up question, if you have a XP hard drive that crashes, you buy a new hard drive, put it in your system can you purchase the OEM version of Windows 7 for half the price?
A: If you have an existing computer and you buy an OEM version of Windows, any version, you cannot legally install that on a computer that was not built by you as a licensed manufacturer. Only the licensed manufacturers can do it. VCC can sell OEMs, but we are a Microsoft dealer which authorizes us to build and create Microsoft computers with licensed media. Due to that, there are a lot of people our there who will sell you an OEM install, but it is not legal for you to do so. It will validate and run and the chances of getting caught are close to zero, but know that right there you have violated the license trying to be 100%, but you are not.
Q: You have to build the computer with all the parts?
A: If you have a computer and it is running, for example, XP and the hard drive dies, there is no question but that you can use the old XP license on a new install on that computer. You can buy a new hard drive put it in and get the install disk and use the key code off of the sticker on your computer and you can install that. This is because it is only one component, Microsoft has this thing about a certain number of components constitutes a new computer. That was my comment about motherboards, the problem for modern computers, everything is on the motherboard so you end up violating the license if you have to get another motherboard because you are replacing too many components. The hard drive is only one component and there is no question but that you can reinstall the same key code on the same computer with a new hard drive if the hard drive dies on any program XP, Vista, 7, Windows 2008 server, does not make any difference. You have the key code on the computer you have purchased, if the key code works you have the right operating system it will run, you are fine.
If you had a computer that you bought with Windows 7 and then downgraded and use the Windows 7 Pro downgrade to XP and the hard drive dies and you decide you only want to use the Windows 7 and have the Windows 7 sticker you are fine.
Q: If my laptop dies and I have Microsoft Office and I buy a new laptop, can I move Office to the new laptop.
A: If you have an OEM Office and it came pre-installed on the computer and not a separate license, when your computer dies, your Office dies, you cannot legally install it again.
Q: I have some CD-RW's that have stopped copying data. What should I do?
A: Throw them away. You basically answered your own question. CD-RWs were never designed to last forever. You read them, you write to them, over and over again and now you cannot use them. Throw them away because they are at the end of their life. If you want to keep using, this is up to you, but I believe the days of plastic are over. Forget CD-RWs and use flash drives. Flash drives are so cheap now that you can get a lot more information on them than you can on any CD-RW and they have a longer life span. CD-RWs have always been prone to not read properly and never perfected technology. CD-Rs are a different story, they work fine and for permanent storage and want to back up family pictures, put them on a spindle in a closet and if you ever needed a picture again, you can get it out. CD-Rs are great for that, make several copies and put them in a safe place. CD-RWs are only for temporary storage and they are superseded by flash drives. Economically you are better off with using flash drives.
Q: Back on the Windows 7 and XP, can you put a dual booth on the same machine and have those go back and forth?
Q: If you buy a Windows 7 upgrade and install over XP , and you change the hard drive, how do you upgrade now that the drive is dead?
A: You can install the upgrade without the XP, but at some point it will ask you a copy of the drive. It is a trick that Microsoft told manufacturers when the upgrade for Vista came out and it still works on 7. If you take a blank hard drive, never been formatted, stick it into your computer, then put in your upgrade of Windows 7, you load Windows 7 without any key code at all and it will ask for one and you say no, it will load all the way and it ejects the DVD. Shut the computer down, then turn on and put the DVD back in and it will start the upgrade process, upgrading your version of Windows and that will work. Yes, Win 7 will upgrade Win 7.
You do the install to a trial version, then upgrade the trial version to install with no key code and then upgrade the trial version to the full version and you never have to put in the XP disk in. It takes a little longer, but it is legal and work doing it twice. If you buy the upgrade you will end up with a DVD but not an XP CD. That was the issue that Microsoft was trying to figure out and they just allow you to do it. That means you can buy an upgrade and never have had a previous version. Reality in the US how many people never had a previous version of Windows. There are three of them and they have not figured out the trick yet.
Q: I have a question. I gave my daughter a HP laptop and she was hooking up the mouse that was in there when she got up North and now it will not boot up or anything.
A: Well, there is not really a lot of information for me to say. You take a computer up North and it may have been vibrated or shocked or something and some piece of the electronics came apart or is broken. There are many possibilities when you start moving a computer. If it will not come on, there is not a lot to go on and I do not know what to tell you.
Q: My computer boots only to a black DOS prompt.
A: It goes to DOS, is it a black screen and gives you a C prompt. If it does go into DOS you need to take it into someone and have them look at it. I have not seen a computer go to the C prompt in a long time. I really would like to see that and even pay admission. If the hard drive dies you can end up where the computer goes into what they call CMOS Setup when you reboot it and frequently it is a black screen, has text and sort of looks like a DOS prompt. It will say something like - no hard drive found- but there is no C prompt just that message. Depending on the version of your BIOS, it could be a black or blue screen. If it is really a C prompt you can actually type things like - check this or DIR enter and it actually shows you something? If it is not a C prompt where you can type into, your hard drive died.
Q: Norton wants me to add Safe Web Light. Is that a good or bad thing?
A: Basically it is a tool bar but it is another product that they want you to sign up for. It is free and you can use it. Do it and them come back and tell us how it works.
Q: I have Windows 7 Pro and have on automatic updates, although I find myself having to update many of the securities and that kind of thing. Is that universal? I have had to do it five or six times. When I go into the update history, I find that several have failed. I go to the downloads and manually upload them and they succeed.
A: There is something in your updates that is not correct, One of the issues with updates is that if you get an update that installs and it reports it has installed correctly, but it has an error in it, then anything that cascades or depends upon that can fail. So a lot of times what Microsoft will tell you when you go out to the website on a fail, it will tell you, OK, go look at the previous update, like .net3 framework and you have four successfully installed updates, but the fifth one is failing, try uninstalling the fourth, third, and so forth. Then reinstall those and frequently that will break it loose and you will get all the updates. The problem you are having now is that you have something that is barely failing and it is causing he automatic updates to fail and manual updates are succeeding. I do not off hand know how to debug that.
Rick One of things that I have found that has broke Windows updates for me was the Windows Java caching. By clearing the Java cache under Control Panel, Java, clear Java cache and it worked.
Q: If the gentlemen brings in the computer that boots to a DOS prompt, I would be interested in a follow up on that if you could report next meeting how that happened and so forth.
A: That comment comes from Robert Provart, who is one of our past presidents that was here at a time when we all did use DOS and Robert continued to use DOS well into the XP years. I believe he still has DOS boot so if any of you have a DOS question, we actually have an authority in the club and probably the last one on earth. Do take advantage of Robert's knowledge which is voluminous. .
Comment From Audience - I have never washed a CD in the laundry as I have with a flash drive. The fellow with the CD-RWs, if he is having a problem with more than one, it is likely that it is a problem with the drive rather than a lot of CD-RWs failing all at once. That is something to check with another CD. I just wanted to report that after a recent power failure, I can no longer connect to my router.