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Is it illegal to download a boot disk if you already own a valid copy...?

By ksmith ·
If I own a copy of a windows operating system, but need a boot disk to make some changes...is it illegal to download a boot disk if you still use the original serial number given to you when you bought the computer?

I believe that it probably is, but if you continue to use a legal serial number I think it should be allowed.

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re: downloading boot disk

by ThumbsUp2 In reply to Is it illegal to download ...

What we THINK should be allowed and what IS allowed are often two different things. Whether we like it or not, we don't OWN the software. We buy licenses to USE it.

But, to answer your question.

(1) Often, media that you download has built in keys which must be used in order to install the software. And, 99% of the time, those keys are pirated (invalid). You can try it, but I doubt it would work.

(2) If you have a key to an OEM version that was sold with your computer, that key will not work on other versions, such as retail or upgrade, or even volume licensing.

(3) If all you need is the media because the system didn't come with it, contact the manufacturer. Often, they will sell you a copy of the media for a few bucks to cover their production and shipping costs.

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the reason I ask...

by ksmith In reply to re: downloading boot disk

When I went on break I left my desktop at school and wanted to use linux on my laptop while I was away. I thought I had a OEM bootdisk, but it turned out to only be a recovery disk. I did acquire a copy of a bootdisk which I then modified and installed onto my computer using the serial number that was given to me by my manufacturer. Everything worked out good and I wanted to write an article about it in my blog, but did not know whether what I did was considered illegal or not.

The article would mainly be focused on using the program nLite to modify bootdisks to only include certain aspects of an operating system. So that you can basically control what you want to install. But I wanted to include a background story to how I found out about it.

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If you attend a University

by normhaga In reply to the reason I ask...

Most universities have software programs for students. As an example, at the University of Utah a student can buy a copy of XP student for $60 and if a CS student for $6.00, ditto with Office 2003, Vista, Office 2007, and if a CS major you are given copies of Visual Studio 2005 and 2008.

Since you claim to be a student, look into this.

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re:

by ksmith In reply to If you attend a Universit ...

Actually we have a service in my college that allows to download certain software for free while we are still enrolled in school. I had already used the copy of xp I had downloaded from them on my desktop which originally had xp64bit installed, so I could not re-use that.

My laptop came preinstalled with xp media center, so I wanted to stick with that anyway. I was mainly asking about the legality of the situation. If it is illegal I apologize for bringing it up.

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Boot Disk or Install Disk?

by TheChas In reply to Is it illegal to download ...

Boot Disks that allow you to make the computer able to run the install disk for your OS are usually free to download and legitimate to use.

Microsoft offers boot disk build sets for all versions of XP.

There are also disks like Ultimate Boot Disk and Mad Boot that are bootable CDs that include a number of useful utilities.

Now if you are referring to the install disk for an operating system like Windows XP, the legalities are a bit different.

Anyone offering a copy of XP for download is in violation of the EULA. By extension, you share in the crime if you download the copy that someone is pirating.

Keep in mind that you do not own your copy of XP. You have purchased the right to use Windows per the terms of the EULA. Microsoft retains full rights and ownership of the software code.

Chas

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If all you have is a recovery disk

by seanferd In reply to Is it illegal to download ...

and want to make a disk using nLite, you can copy the setup files from the folders on the hard drive or the drive's setup partition, whichever applies.

You don't want to give details in your blog about downloading squat in terms of a Windows OS if you want to maintain any semblace of legality. Any user knows where their setup files came from. If they can legally get them cheap or free from university or their corporation, so be it.

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