Microsoft posts a response to information drifting around the Internet that Windows 7, its new operating system, can be installed using an upgrade disk on a blank hard drive. Such an installation would violate Microsoft's End User License Agreement, and Microsoft insists that this is illegal. The large number of full Windows licenses already in circulation may prevent this so-called hack from becoming a huge issue.
In response to news that the Windows 7 upgrade disk can be used to install
the entire operating system on a blank hard drive, Microsoft
issued a firm message: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
Microsoft, of course, would like the community to follow its EULA (End User
License Agreement), which stipulates that in order to upgrade a user must
already have a "qualifying full license" attached to a previous
version of Windows.
However, a number of blog and message-board posts circulating on the Web
since Windows 7's Oct. 22 launch have suggested that if a Windows user wants to
save anywhere from $74 to $91 (based on Amazon.com's prices), he or she can
purchase a Windows 7 upgrade disk in place of the full version. From there, a
number of paths exist for loading the upgrade onto a blank hard drive and then
using that as a basis for activating the Windows 7's full package product
But those doing so will risk the wrath of Redmond.
"When you purchase software, you are purchasing the rights to run the
software according to the terms of the End User License Agreement ... that
comes with that software," Eric Ligman, global partner experience lead for
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group, wrote in an Oct.
27 post on the Microsoft SMB Community Blog.
"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
installation," Ligman continued, "they give the impression that
because it is technically possible, it is legal to do so."
It is, apparently, not.
"For you, Windows 7 is available preinstalled on PCs around the
world," Ligman told anyone tempted to engage in any sort of
"special" upgrading. "Or you can purchase a full Windows license
from one of the many Microsoft Partners we have, or you can download it
Despite any cost savings that might be achieved by installing an upgrade
without a previous license, the "hack"-as Ligman terms it-may not
prove to be huge problem for Microsoft, considering the massive number of
Windows users who already own full Windows XP or Windows Vista licenses.