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Reinstalling an OS on a new computer
September 9, 2010 10:54 AM   Subscribe

I'm purchasing a computer. It requires Win7 Ultimate and I have a choice as to how that happens.

I'm about to purchase a computer from a major manufacturer. It needs to have Win7 Ultimate, and I have a choice as to how that's done:
  1. Buy the computer with Win7 Ultimate pre-installed ($150).
  2. Buy the computer with Win7 Home Premium pre-installed ($0), then buy a Win7 Ultimate install disk for $10 on my university's site license and re-install the OS myself.
Can you see any disadvantages with #2? Warranty problems, install issues, etc.?
posted by davcoo to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
 
Does the license expire after you graduate?
posted by WhiteWhale at 10:55 AM on September 9, 2010


for #2, you should be able to do an in-place upgrade (ie, not have to reinstall applications or restore data from backup)
posted by Oktober at 11:03 AM on September 9, 2010


You'll want to do an Anytime Upgrade. See Microsoft's relevant things here.
posted by deezil at 11:13 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


1. Advantages: It's done for you already, one OS install less for you. Warranty is guaranteed on it. If you need to have the computer sent in, it will come back with Ultimate. Disadvantages: The $150 is $10 more than the cost of the "normal" upgrade path, and $140 more than getting a disk and using the university site license.
2. Advantages: cheap. Disadvantages: Potentially illegal (IANAL) as it's the university's license for university computers and not your license for your personal computer. Warranty for your computer would not be comprimised, however, if you did need to send in the computer for repair you should expect them to wipe/downgrade it back to Home Premium. WhiteWhale has an excellent point of the potential of your license ending, which means at the end of your time at the university you would likely have to re-install and drop back to Home Premium.
3. Other options: If you can get away with Professional instead of Ultimate, the upgrade is available for students through Microsoft for $29.95. Some other sites on the internet have Ultimate upgrades for "students" at $119.95. Last, check with the campus computer store. The TTU one is in the student union.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:36 AM on September 9, 2010


If you're comfortable with doing an OS install, go for it. Just try to get a 64bit version.

Also, if you do it yourself you'll probably have to track down all the drivers, which might not be so simple.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:01 PM on September 9, 2010


Seconding Anytime Upgrade.
posted by msbutah at 12:58 PM on September 9, 2010


2, and it's not close. Use those university perks.
In the event (which I doubt, but it has been some time since I had access to a university with a site license) that you can't use it anymore once you leave the university, you're only out $10.
Also, since it's a new computer, the only things you'll be losing when you format the drive and install the new OS will be the bloatware that the manufacture throws on there in apparent effort to make you want to die. Win-win.
posted by willpie at 1:15 PM on September 9, 2010


I see only advantages with #2, the biggest being that your OS won't automatically come with a bunch of crapware that you'll need to spend an hour or more deleting before the computer is usable.
posted by coolguymichael at 1:17 PM on September 9, 2010


I'd go for option 2.

With option 1, you'll get an OEM licence (which will also apply with anytime upgrade). This copy of windows can only be legally installed on one computer once, i.e. the laptop. If you want to put ultimate on another/new pc later you'll need to buy a new copy. It is possible to ring up microsoft, claim you've had to repair the computer and get it activated on the new one, but it's pretty dodgy.

With option 2, you'll get a full copy that can be reinstalled on any 1 pc at a time - so you can always reuse the licenced copy later, assuming you've wiped it off the first one.

It does depend upon the volume licence agreement the uni has, but it's most likely they have a campus agreement, and they exercise the Student Option. Under this, they pay microsoft for the number of students they have, and then issue you with your own copy of windows 7 with your own personal key, with a nominal cost for the media. This does *not* expire when you graduate, you get a perpetual licence. (though if you leave for other reasons, it does expire)

You also get the advantage of doing a fresh reinstall of cleaning off all the crapware everybody ships with windows these days, and manual driver needs are pretty minimal on windows 7 these days post-install.

Version of windows installed on the hard-drive will not affect any hardware warranty, though any software support issue (or a replacement hard-drive) may result in them doing a fresh install of the original version. Always backup your data before you send it off for repair...

If you're particularly worried, you could always image the drive before blowing it away, and restore it (via putting the drive in another pc if it's totally hosed) before warrantying it.
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:38 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


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