Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Important Windows Vista Licensing Changes

Ed Bott tells us about changes to the Windows Vista EULA. But that's not the whole story. Starting on Page 11, here is a synopsis of what I believe are the most far-reaching changes, as I have interpreted them:

  • Home Basic
    • Can't copy ISO to your hard drive
    • Can't install to a network server
    • You may share files, printers, etc with a maximum of 5 network devices
    • You MAY NOT use Remote Desktop, only Remote Assistance
    • You MAY NOT use in Virtual PC | Virtual Server |VMWare
  • Home Premium
    • Still can't copy ISO to your hard drive
    • Still can't install to a network server
    • Sharing for 10 network devices
    • Still no Remote Desktop
    • Still no virtual hardware
    • 5 simultaneous Media Center Extender sessions (up from 3 in MCE 2005)
  • Ultimate
    • Can copy ISO to your hard drive
    • Can install to a network server (I'm assuming for Terminal Server scenarios)
    • Sharing for 10 network devices
    • Can use Remote Desktop
    • Can use in a virtualized environment, BUT
      • Can't use DRM-protected content if Vista Ultimate is the "guest" OS
      • Can't use BitLocker if Vista Ultimate is the "guest" OS
    • 5 Media Center Extender sessions

I'm not sure how I feel about this yet. On one hand, I don't have a problem with it, cause I'll be using Ultimate anyways... but I have a feeling that other people probably will. Either way, I'm thinking maybe they should put this stuff at the top of the EULA, instead of burying it at the bottom. These are important things that people in a purchasing position need to know about.

Well, you saw it here first... don't forget to Digg it ;).



  • The virtual hardware ban sucks. Even though you might have Basic installed on your system you need to run Ultimate in your VM due to license constraints, that's just silly.

    'You may remotely access and use the software installed on the licensed device from another device to share a session using Remote Assistance or similar technologies.'

    One can say Remote Desktop is a 'similar technology' to Remote Assistance. Same protocol/technology just slightly different implementation.

    October 12, 2006 1:42 AM
  • ringi said:

    How can I test any software I write on Home Basic or Home Premium if I can't run them in Virtual PC?  (Given that they are a subset of the full Vista, it is not good enough for me just to test to the full Vista.)

    I was hoping for pre-built Virtual PC images to aid testing, not a ban on Virtual PC!

    October 12, 2006 3:14 AM
  • n4cer said:

    From reading the license, my interpretation differs from your summary on a few points.

    The license does not state that you cannot use Home Basic or Home Premium within a virtual hardware system. It states:


    4. USE WITH VIRTUALIZATION TECHNOLOGIES. You may not use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system.


    meaning you cannot use the same software you have installed on a licensed device (e.g., your computer) in a virtual hardware system.

    IOW, you can either install Home Basic or Home Premium on a real computer or a virtual machine, but not both (without acquiring an additional license).

    Likewise, the limitation on rights management technologies and BitLocker in a VM only apply when you are using the same Ultimate license on both real hardware and the VM. Otherwise (i.e., you have a seperate license for the VM instance), you may use those technologies in a VM. The license doesn't exclude them in the latter case, but does strongly advise against their use for obvious reasons.


    6. USE WITH VIRTUALIZATION TECHNOLOGIES. You may use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system on the licensed device. If you do so, you may not play or access content or use applications protected by any Microsoft digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other Microsoft rights management services or use BitLocker. We advise against playing or accessing content or using applications protected by other digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other rights management services or using full volume disk drive encryption.


    Last, Remote Desktop isn't specifically excluded as an access technology for Home Basic and Home Premium. It just isn't mentioned in their context likely because the server is not included with either Home Basic or Home Premium. Since the server isn't included in those SKUs, you aren't licensed to use that piece of software, but nothing in the license prevents you from using a substitute for an RDP server (e.g., VNC) in that case, and the RDP client is included, as usual, for connecting the Home SKUs to RDP servers.

    October 12, 2006 4:58 AM
  • Like people care that they can't copy the iso to their hard disk after purchasing the Basic or the Premium edition. People don't read this and what are the chances that they even will get sued for violating these kind of licenses. We are not talking about enterprises here but home users.

    October 12, 2006 3:58 PM
  • Just wanted to let you guys know that I e-mailed Microsoft asking for some clarifications on the post

    October 12, 2006 8:30 PM
  • darkonc said:

    Supposedly Vista checks for things like an unlicensed copy of a product (e.g. office) on <b>any</b> of your virtual PCs and will disable that product on <b>all</b> virtual machines if it finds a problem on any of them.  I can't see why MS won't go hunting on your disk for a copy of the Vista ISO and trash your machine if it finds one.  It's well within the rights that they claim under the EULA.

    October 12, 2006 8:50 PM
  • Open Sources said:

    Via TechWeb: Microsoft has released licenses for the Windows Vista operating system that dramatically differ from those for Windows XP in that they limit the number of times that retail editions can be transferred to another device and ban the...

    October 12, 2006 11:21 PM
  • No wonder I'm glad I left the world of closed software behind, when I see what you guys on the other side of the fence are being put through.

    From this side it seems bizarre to be using software which comes in various intentionally crippled versions, where the software is there and installed, the hardware is capable, but various entirely artificial and arbitrary restrictions are imposed for purely marketing reasons to screw as much revenue out of the victims^H^H^H^H^H^H customers as is possible.

    Even more bizarre is the idea of buying a computer which comes pre-installed with operating system spyware that phones home to the vendor's mothership on an ongoing basis, and pre-rooted with a component designed to shut it down remotely (sorry, I meant "reduce functionality". Complete with digitally signed kernel components designed to be tamperproof so it can't be turned off by the user, not even by purchasing third-party security software?

    Thank you, sir, may I have another? Is this some strange sort of fetish where you guys get off on being repeatedly screwed over, or am I missing something?

    It all seems very different to the days when I used Windows, when having a valid purchased license key meant I could transfer the same software I had been using from a scrapped machine to the replacement, and was under no obligation to repurchase the latest Windows unless I actually wanted to and it was good enough to be worth doing. The last version of Windows I can do that with seems to be Windows 2000, and my W2K install only gets booted very rarely now since almost everything I do has been migrated to open/libre software anyway.

    October 13, 2006 9:33 AM
  • I'm still waiting for an official clarification from Microsoft on what the new Vista licensing terms

    October 13, 2006 3:21 PM
  • I have been a Microsoft user for 10 years, but everyday for the past year I am being attracted more and more by the other side (Ubuntu, Mac OS ...) If Microsoft keeps being so lame about everything that they are making it easy for me to step over and if I feel like that I am pretty sure that a lot of user do too.

    October 13, 2006 3:33 PM
  • use the Source, gabriel,  come away from the Dark Side...

    ~apologies to George Lucas  :-)

    October 13, 2006 5:28 PM
  • I just got an e-mail from Nick White, of the Official Windows Vista Blog . He said that my interpretation

    October 15, 2006 2:06 AM
  • For Windows Vista Home Basic and Home Premium, the language contained in the license is as follows: You may not use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system. While for Windows Vista...

    December 15, 2006 1:40 PM
  • WTF Mate said:

    I and everyone I know will not be upgrading, whats the point really? Everything we currently do on XP works great. So MS just wants everyone to shell out some money to have a pretty GUI and upgrade hardware to use that pretty GUI. Sure they updated a few things but nothing thats really NEEDED.

    Vista = MS croaking

    December 21, 2006 12:56 PM
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