If you buy a PC with Windows preinstalled, can you remove it and install Linux instead?
According to The Register, a Microsoft site aimed at helping schools deal with donated computers asserted that it was a legal requirement that pre-installed operating systems remain with a machine for the life of the machine.’ Last Tuesday the site, titled ‘A Guide to Accepting Donated Computers for Your School’, read: “If you feel it is in the best interest of your school to accept the donated PCs, make sure that the hardware donation includes the original operating system software. Keeping the operating system with the PC is not just a great benefit – it is a legal requirement.”
On Wednesday, however, the relevant passage had been altered to read:
“If you feel it is in the best interest of your school to accept the donated PCs, make sure you know the licensing guidelines. For instance, if the hardware donation is an original equipment manufacture machine, the pre-installed operating system license is only valid when used on the original machine for which it was first installed, so it’s beneficial to leave it intact.”
So a legal requirement has been downgraded to a mere benefit. But nothing is hidden from the all-seeing eye of The Register, which has noticed that the old formulation remained intact in the Q & A section of the site.