My friend has a eMachines PC complete with OEM installed copy of XP home. The PC stopped working, I investigated and found the power supply blown - easy and cheap to fix £30 - a new power supply from PCWorld.
Then USB and audio on motherboard was found to have failed - easy and cheap to fix - new mother board. £30.
So for £60 I have a working PC BUT what is this? XP wants to be validated.
OK I phone MS and they are very helpful. I put in my valid key and ... Oh dear it is no good.
After speaking with a number of MS staff they tell me that they cannot help me as it is an OEM copy and give me the number of the eMachines support. I phone the "tech guys" and they are very helpful, tell me how other customers have had the same problem and ask for my extended support contract details - as soon as I say I haven't one they tell me they cannot help me...
Back to MicroSoft, it seems the line is new motherboard = new pc = new XP licence
(cost £199 from PC world). I could get a new PC for not much more than £200 complete with another OEM licence!
I haven't upgraded the PC, I have changed nothing but the powersupply and motherboard. The PC has the same CPU, same memory, same hard disk, same case, same CD drive, same floppy. But microsoft insist it is 'new' and needs a full licence.
Microsoft's policy may help their bank balance and manufacturers of complete pcs but it contibutes to waste, adds to global warming and increases the number of disaffected microsoft users by 2.
So how do I get at all my photos and applications and data? MS answer is to pay for a full licence £199; my answer is to install a second hard drive £50, install linux (free) and copy over my pics, mp3s and data. I will need some new apps too as MS office wont work on linux.
So Microsoft, you have lost me (and my friend) lost future upgrade licence fees to vista, lost MS office licence fees and driven me reluctantly to linux.
PCWorld, I will now advise not to buy a PC with MS windows unless you are willing to pay for ongoing support that covers windows licence costs should the motherboard fail.