Subscriber Mickey wrote this week to ask:
I am considering buying my wife a new laptop, probably a Dell since friend works there, and I don’t want to change the OS and programs she is using. Is there a way I can buy the new laptop and re-format the drive and then load the Windows XP pro and other programs on the new machine?
She is using an older Dell laptop now and it is so slow it needs to be replaced. I put more memory in it and it has 1 gig now and still is slow. She uses Outlook 2003, Office 2003, and some old cookbook programs now. Her internet connection is through AOL.
I don’t think I can install XP Pro from the CD on a second computer, so how can I just switch from an old (to be discarded) computer and use the XP pro that I previously paid for on the new computer? Can I uninstall XP Pro from the old one and install it on the new one?
I hate to pay Microsoft for an OS I don’t want, but may not have any other choice.
I wrote back to Mickey to try to clarify the licensing issues he was going to run into.
If you did not purchase a retail copy of Windows XP — which he didn’t if the windows XP came on his other computer — it is licensed only for that specific computer. You are not permitted by the license to install it on a different computer.
Dell did offer a "downgrade" to XP, but you had to purchase Vista Ultimate and purchase XP Pro from them in order to for them to deliver the computer with XP. (Thanks, Microsoft)
I told him that thought he should wait for the October 22nd release of Windows 7. One of its features will be a built-in XP Mode in Windows 7 Professional (not in Windows 7 Home), which includes a licensed copy of XP running in virtual computer mode so that you can run programs that won’t run in Windows 7.
The only caveat that I’ve heard about this is that Microsoft’s VIrtual PC for Windows 7 requires one of the recent CPU’s that has special functions for virtual PC’s. In other words, putting Windows 7 Professional on a low-end computer may not have the necessary hardware to be able to run XP Mode.
I’m using the Windows 7 Release Candidate and I LIKE IT! I hated Vista the few times I touched it. Despite Windows 7 being based on Vista, it’s very logical and seems much more user-friendly than Windows XP does.
I won’t be sad to see Windows Vista get replaced in the marketplace after such a short life. It happened before to the OS that followed Windows 98 — the infamous Windows Me. Hopefully Windows 7 will have the long life that Windows XP (and its users) have enjoyed.
Although many vendors are taking advantage of Microsoft’s "buy a computer with Vista now and get a near-free upgrade to Windows 7" program, you’d still have to do the upgrade. Personally, I think most people would rather wait a few more months rather than do an operating system upgrade.