Windows 7 - Cheapest way to get a legal copy?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Sounds Good, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    #1
    Hey guys,

    I'm not quite there yet, but if I do decide to get a Mac I'm gonna need a copy of Windows.

    What's the cheapest way to get a legal copy that I can use with either VM Ware or Parallels? How much am I lookin' at here in the U.S.?

    Thanks!
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

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    located
    #2
    Are you a student or in any other way linked to the educational system?
     
  3. Sounds Good thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Jul 8, 2007
    #3
    My wife is currently a student. I'm not.

    But just in case -- what's the least expensive non-academic way to get a legal copy of Windows 7?

    Thanks...
     
  4. balamw, Apr 3, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011

    balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    New England
    #4
    You need to define "legal".

    The ONLY fully license compliant way to install Windows on a Mac is to buy a full retail license. e.g. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116716

    Anything else is of questionable license validity.

    • The OEM license requires you to resell the machine with license to an unrelated third party.
    • Retail upgrade requires you to have a transferable underlying license [OK if you have a prior Vista or XP full retail license]
    • Academic licenses are typically upgrade versions, so subject to the same restriction, plus require eligibility to get the academic pricing.

    You might be able to find other programs like bizspark, dreamspark, MSDNAA, etc.. that can give you a cheap license. The one on my MBP came free from the W7 launch event, while my two other licenses were purchased as retail upgrades with underlying licenses.

    NOTE: You can also legally obtain the official ISO and install it without a license key for 30 days of W7 at an unbeatable price.

    B
     
  5. Sounds Good thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #5
    Is that really true?
     
  6. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #6
    I already posted the reasons why the other options are a legal grey area. Read the licenses for yourself if you don't believe me.

    If you want to be 100% license compliant the only choice is full retail.

    Anything else requires you to define what you mean by "legal" and how far out of license compliance you are comfortable going.

    B
     
  7. Stridder44 macrumors 68040

    Stridder44

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    Location:
    California
    #7
    balamw is technically correct, but no one from Microsoft is going to come to your home and sue you. I mean really, who is going to call you out on that? Utilizing your wife's student discount to purchase it is fine. A legit purchased copy of Windows 7 is still legit, and will install as such. You're one guy buying one license of one piece of software from a large library. Now if you were selling Macs with Windows 7 preinstalled and advertising it to people that way while utilizing these cheaper methods of getting Microsoft products, then you'd have a problem.
     
  8. Sounds Good thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Jul 8, 2007
    #8
    That's legal enough for me!

    And I was ready to contact my attorney. ;)
     
  9. balamw, Apr 4, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011

    balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #10
    That's why I asked you to define what you meant by "legal."

    It's just like using OS X on a Hackintosh, jailbreaking your iDevice, or using a prescription medication off-label.

    Does it work? Yes!

    Is it license compliant? Most likely not.

    Will you be actively prosecuted for it? Not likely, but still possible.

    EDIT:

    Reading both of those listings, what is being offered is actually an OEM/System Builder's license.

    Read here: http://www.microsoft.com/oem/en/licensing/sblicensing/pages/licensing_for_hobbyists.aspx for Microsoft's guidance on this, and here: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/is-it-ok-to-use-oem-windows-on-your-own-pc-dont-ask-microsoft/1561 for an opposing view. Both effectively agree on this:

    B
     
  10. Stridder44 macrumors 68040

    Stridder44

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    California
    #11
    Eh, maybe it's just me but I avoid buying stuff off eBay. Especially software, and even more especially licensed software that requires a serial key.

    Just get it off Newegg or a trusted Amazon seller (such as Amazon itself).
     
  11. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

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    Jan 28, 2009
    #12
    if your not careful but if you buy it with ebay protection you should be fine.
     
  12. Sounds Good thread starter macrumors 68000

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  13. DarkC macrumors newbie

    DarkC

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    #14
  14. MyDesktopBroke macrumors 6502

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    Jun 2, 2007
    #15
    Just make sure you're buying a full version and not an upgrade from XP one. When I was trying to get windows for bootcamp MS kept bouncing me back to the upgrade page.

    Unless you have your XP install disc, that is.
     
  15. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #16
    W7 doesn't upgrade in-place over XP. It performs what is referred to as a custom install which is basically a clean install. Your data must be migrated separately. (See the chart: http://mossblog.allthingsd.com/20090804/deciphering-windows-7-upgrades-the-official-chart/)

    This is what allows you to use upgrade media to perform a clean install using one of the paths mentioned in the link I have posted frequently. http://www.winsupersite.com/article/windows-7/clean-install-windows-7-with-upgrade-media

    There is nothing stopping you from installing using upgrade media on you Mac. The validity of your license though depends on you having the necessary underlying qualifications for the upgrade pricing.

    B
     
  16. Winni macrumors 68030

    Winni

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    Germany.
    #17
    Only in the United States. Those licensing terms are ILLEGAL in Germany (as ruled by the German Bundesgerichtshof) and probably several other countries. Unfortunately for you, you guys live in the US, so you probably have to put up with Microsoft's and Apple's draconian EULAs.
     
  17. balamw, Apr 5, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011

    balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #18
    Winni. That's why I have explicitly separated "license compliant" from "legal" and asked the OP for their definition of "legal" which could also be termed as "legitimate" or "valid".

    Even though you keep saying this and in practice it may be so (in practice it is also so in the US, despite the explicit license restrictions against it) the last time I checked Microsoft is still asserting the same restriction in the German language license. Let me check again.

    Here's the English System Builder's License. http://oem.microsoft.com/downloads/Public/sblicense/2008_SB_Licenses/FY08_SB_License_English.pdf

    Here's the German System Builder's License. http://oem.microsoft.com/downloads/Public/sblicense/2008_SB_Licenses/FY08_SB_License_German.pdf

    None of those seem to include "end user" although the addition of "software reseller" seems different in the German version. This might be the loophole. However, section 5 seems to have the same requirements for pre-installation using the OPK as the English version. There also seem to be the same restrictions for attaching the COA label to the system and such. (My German is rusty enough not to even try to translate the whole thing.)

    Moving on to the OEM EULA which defines what the End User's rights are:

    For example: http://download.microsoft.com/Docum...rman_e12fc3bb-7247-4de7-adf1-3b77ca05094f.pdf, http://www.microsoft.com/About/Legal/EN/US/IntellectualProperty/UseTerms/Default.aspx
    appears to be the same license restriction as in the English version:

    Yet, you claim that in Germany it is perfectly legal to separate the OEM license from the licensed computer and resell it. Microsoft doesn't seem to reflect that in their license agreement. Do they?

    Previously, the loophole in the US version of the System Builder License was that the license only kicked in when you resold the system. Now it kicks in when you open the package and you must accept the license to install the software and that license includes the resale clause above.

    As I said above, the situation is very similar to jailbreaking. While it may be legal (Yes, even in the US http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/feds-ok-iphone-jailbreaking/) that doesn't mean it is license compliant and that Apple or Microsoft have any requirement to support you once you "go off the reservation". They could simply deny you upgrades or cut off service entirely.

    B
     
  18. ZipZap macrumors 601

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    Dec 14, 2007
    #19
    Keep in mind that technically ....1 Copy of Windows = 1 VM
     
  19. Sounds Good thread starter macrumors 68000

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  20. ZipZap macrumors 601

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    Dec 14, 2007
    #21
    Technically, you could install windows 7 under the 30 day trial and then delete and rebuild the VM every 30 days.

    I would install the trial, and use it to be sure you want to VM windows.

    Then buy a key from e-Bay. I wont debate the legitimacy of these keys.

    Another approach is to use an older Windows. I built a VM using Win XP. I had an old computer that was no longer in use. I used the product key from it.
     
  21. RedRaven571 macrumors 65816

    RedRaven571

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    Mar 13, 2009
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    #22
    Be VERY wary of keys from eBay; they may work and register your install as 'Genuine' then stop after 6 months. That's what happened to me with 2 Win 7 keys. According to MS, they are some kind of academic licenses that are only good for 6 months.....

    I have had good luck with OEM installs in the past (esp. Win XP).
     
  22. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    New England
    #23
    That's what I always recommend and you can't beat the price.

    Also agreed. I have a W2K VM on my iMac for some older apps that work fine in it.

    I've already said enough about the messiness of Windows licensing, so I won't add anything to that except to ask if saving the few bucks is really worth the potential aggravation. Both OEM and retail upgrade licenses can be physically be used to install Windows on a Mac. Are you really going to save much on eBay over the $90-$110 that a new license would cost you from newegg/Amazon/... to make the aggravation worthwhile if something isn't quite right?

    If you actually need Windows to do actual work it shouldn't be that hard to justify buying it in the most compatible way possible (i.e. full retail). If it's not for work, then just consider it a one-time expense that you might have to revisit if your key gets revoked.

    B
     

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