21 Aug 2012

In the past Microsoft has only offered either a full retail license, retail upgrade and OEM license.  If you build your own PC as it stands today, you are expected to buy a full retail copy of Windows because the fine print states that individual use of the OEM is prohibited.  The OEM has always been the cheaper of the bunch, however.  Now with Windows 8 this all changes.

Windows 8 will support users who build their own machines or run Windows 8 as a virtual machine.  This option is called a Personal Use License for System Builder or PULSB.

With PULSB, Microsoft offers a version of Windows that is intended to be the main operating system on a single system which is meant for personal use or in a virtual machine.

Final pricing has yet to be set, but you be sure it will be cheaper than the full retail versions and most likely more on the level of the OEM pricing.  Overall, analysts expect that the costs for Windows 8 will generally be lower than what is currently paid for Windows 7.

Microsoft also made another change and re-wrote the EULA agreement.  It's written in plain English and split into two parts:  The first a Q&A format and the rest in plain language terms.

Below is an example from the OEM Eula for Windows 8 RTM for the FAQ section:



Thank you for choosing a computer preinstalled with Microsoft Windows 8 Pro. This is a license agreement between you and the computer manufacturer or software installer that distributes the Windows 8 Pro software with the computer. This agreement describes your rights to use the Windows 8 Pro software. For your convenience, we’ve organized this agreement into two parts. The first part includes introductory terms phrased in a question and answer format; the Additional Terms and Limited Warranty follow and contain greater detail. You should review the entire agreement, including any linked terms, because all of the terms are important and together create this contract that applies to you. You can review linked terms by pasting the forward link into your browser window once the software is running. The Additional Terms contain a binding arbitration clause and class action waiver. If you live in the United States, these affect your rights to resolve a dispute with the manufacturer or installer, or with Microsoft, and you should read them carefully.

By accepting this agreement or using the software, you agree to all of these terms and consent to the transmission of certain information during activation and for Internet-based features of the software. If you do not accept and comply with these terms, you may not use the software or features. Instead, you may contact the manufacturer or installer to determine its return policy and return the software or computer for a refund or credit under that policy. You must comply with that policy, which might require you to return the software with the entire computer on which the software is installed for a refund or credit.

How can I use the software? The software is licensed, not sold. Under this agreement, we grant you the right to install and run one copy only on the computer with which you acquired the software (the licensed computer), for use by one person at a time, but only if you comply with all the terms of this agreement. The software is not licensed to be used as server software or for commercial hosting – so, for example, you may not make the software available for simultaneous use by multiple users over a network. For more information on multiple user scenarios and virtualization, see the Additional Terms.

May I make a backup copy? Yes, you may make a single copy of the software for backup purposes, and use that backup copy as described below.

Can I downgrade the software? Instead of using the Windows 8 Pro software, you may use one of the following earlier versions:           Windows 7 Professional or Windows Vista Business.

This agreement applies to your use of the earlier versions. If the earlier version includes different components, any terms for those components in the agreement that come with the earlier version apply to your use of such components. Neither the manufacturer or installer, nor Microsoft, is obligated to supply earlier versions to you. You must obtain the earlier version separately. At any time, you may replace an earlier version with Windows 8 Pro. To enable downgrade on this computer to Windows 7, you must change the settings to boot into legacy BIOS mode. If the BIOS setting is not changed back to native UEFI mode boot prior to installing Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Pro will install; however, the following Windows 8 Pro functionalities will not work as they rely on UEFI mode boot:

 ·     Secure Boot,

·     Seamless Boot experience,

·     Network unlock for Bitlocker for computers with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), and

·     eDrive support.

Can I transfer the software to another user? You may transfer the software directly to another user, only with the licensed computer. The transfer must include the software, proof of purchase, and, if provided with the computer, an authentic Windows label such as the certificate of authenticity label, including the product key. You may not keep any copies of the software or any earlier version. Before any permitted transfer, the other party must agree that this agreement applies to the transfer and use of the software.

How does Internet activation work? The first time you connect to the Internet while using the software, the software will automatically contact Microsoft or its affiliate to confirm the software is genuine, and the license is associated with the licensed computer. This process is called “activation”. Because activation is meant to identify unauthorized changes to the licensing or activation functions of the software, and to otherwise prevent unlicensed use of the software, you may not bypass or circumvent activation.

Does the software collect my personal information? If you connect your computer to the Internet, some features of the software may connect to Microsoft or service provider computer systems to send or receive information, including personal information. You may not always receive a separate notice when they connect. If you choose to use any of these features, you agree to send or receive this information when using that feature. Many of these features can be switched off or you can choose not to use them.

How does Microsoft use your information? Microsoft uses the information it collects through the software features to upgrade or fix the software and otherwise improve its products and services. In certain circumstances, Microsoft also shares it with others. For example, Microsoft shares error reports with relevant hardware and software vendors, so that the vendors can use the information to improve how their products run with Microsoft products. You agree that Microsoft may use and disclose the information as described in Microsoft’s Privacy Statement at go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=190175.

What does this agreement apply to? This agreement (including any printed-paper license terms that accompany the software) applies to the software, the media on which you received the software (if any), and any Microsoft updates, supplements, and services for the software, unless other terms come with them. It also applies to Windows apps that are included with Windows 8 Pro, which are separate from the software features. Standard Application License Terms at go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=246694 (Windows Store Terms of Use) govern any preinstalled apps that are not Windows apps, unless other terms are provided with such apps.

Are there things I’m not allowed to do with the software? Yes. Because the software is licensed, not sold, the manufacturer or installer and Microsoft reserve all rights (such as rights under intellectual property laws) not expressly granted in this agreement. In particular, this license does not give you any right to, and you may not: use or virtualize features of the software separately; publish, copy (other than the permitted backup copy), rent, lease, or lend the software; transfer the software (except as permitted by this agreement); attempt to circumvent technical protection measures in the software; or reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the software, except if the laws where you live permit this even when this agreement does not. In that case, you may do only what your law allows. When using Internet-based features or Microsoft Family Safety, you may not use those features in any way that could interfere with anyone else’s use of them, or to try to gain access to any service, data, account, or network in an unauthorized manner.

Lets expand and contrast the OEM, the Retail and the new Personal License side by side.


The software is licensed, not sold.  Under this agreement, we grant you the right to install and run one copy only on the computer with which you acquired the software (the licensed computer)

Retail upgrade:

We do not sell our software or your copy of it – we only license it.  Under our license, we grant you the right to install and run that one copy on one computer (the licensed computer), for use by one person at a time, but only if you comply with all the terms of this agreement.  Typically, this means you can install one copy of the software on a personal computer and then you can use the software on that computer.


We do not sell our software or your copy of it – we only license it.  Under our license, we grant you the right to install and run that one copy on one computer (the licensed computer) as the operating system on a computer that you build for your personal use, or as an additional operating system running on a local virtual machine or a separate partition, subject to the restrictions outlined under “Are there things I’m not allowed to do with the software?”

As we can see the new Personal Use License grants you the ability to buy the same software available to System Builders and use it on your custom built PC, either on a physical partition or virtual machine.  This is a major change from the past standard OEM terminology.  Another key feature of the personal use license is the VM ability.  You can run on ANY platform, that of linux or mac and have a Microsoft Windows 8 copy installed in the virtual partition.  This was not allowed by previous licensing terms.

In a snippet from the Personal License Q&A there is this question:

Are there things I’m not allowed to do with the software?

You may not install the software as an operating system on any computer except one that you are building for your own use or as an operating system running on a local virtual machine or a separate partition. You may not install the software on a computer that is running a non-genuine Windows operating system.

That statement does not mean that Unix and Mac users cannot install the OS in a VM, it simply means that if installing in a VM on an existing Windows OS, that Windows OS must be genuine or basically not a pirated copy.

The new Personal License agreements open up many doors for consumers and home system builders that were previously difficult to achieve or more costly.  We should know soon how much Microsoft will charge for the Personal option as we get closer to general availability.  This topic will certainly be at the center stage of our forthcoming podcasts as well.

Source: Zdnet.com

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