Legal question about OEM operating systems

I have another thread going here about how to repair a completely hosed system. I’m still working on it.

But being that I value a working computer more than my vast sums of cash, I just bought a new laptop. I’ll repair the old one at my leisure. And I love the new one. It’s pretty awesome.

I bought both at Best Buy. Yeah, I know. I kept asking Pimple Face about backups, restores, virus protection, etc. He kept trying to upsell me on specially made disks so that I could have my new computer in a week, 18-month payment plans, add-ons, etc. I wanted to punch the kid, but I have a rule against torturing lower life forms.

When I got it home, the first thing I checked for was all of the included components. One thing that I checked for was recovery disks. Just in case this one craps out on me, I’d like the disks to reconstruct it. It came with some, but I noticed that they were generic writable disks, written on with magic marker. Someone at Best Buy burned them in a back room, I’m guessing.

It’s my understanding (from my time as a Microsoft support subcontractor) that when you buy a computer pre-loaded with an operating system, the computer must come with OS installation disks. If you paid for the pre-loaded computer, you own the software that comes with it, as advertised.

Is that true? Do they owe me original installation disks, as opposed to what some kid burned in the back office?

Should I return the laptop?

FWIW, this is an Asus K53. My hosed laptop is a Dell Inspiron 15, and I have the Dell OEM disks for that.

Oh, also:

Pimple Face convinced me to buy this one because it has 500GB of hard disk space. He wouldn’t sell me the cheaper one with a mere 350, because they were out of them. But checking on the C: drive properties, the capacity is only 200. WTF?

Not that I care much, as I don’t really install much stuff. But still, he sold me a Cadillac because they were out of Yugos?

No. Most major manufacturers no longer include factory disks, so they can save 39 cents. They include a wizard in the Start Menu to burn your own. Best Buy saves you the trouble, and does it for you.

And also, the restore image is usually included in a separate unmounted partition on the hard drive.

Also, if there appears to be missing space in the hard drive, it is probably unallocated. You can create a new partition (ie. create a D:\ or E:\ drive).

Go to Start > Control Panel > System and Maintenence > Admin Tools > Computer Management > Storage > Disk Management. You should see a graphiky representation of the hard drive partitioning (a bunch of rectangles with drive mount info). There is probably a block that says unallocated. Right click on that, select New Simple Volume then just follow the wizard instructions. It’s pretty simple, also it seems like there is no need to format the new partition since its a new computer and there is no data there. Hth.

If I remember correctly everything you need (OS, Office, etc) is on the partition disk and you can restore/reformat with it. In practicality its the same as an OEM disk only difference are it eat up you hard drive space and may come with bloatware you don’t want.

As for companies saving 39 cents I don’t think thats completely accurate. Many people have brought their laptop to me complaining it runs too slow because they installed too much crap on it, when I recommend a reformat and asks for the installation CD half of the time they tell me they lost it.

I would definitely start a witch hunt on the 200GB capacity. Considering 500GB is really 465GB minus the already installed software and partition disk you should still have around 400GB left. But before you start you witch hunt check for any other factory partition that was not formatted in control panel.

Ah, there is a D: drive called DATA that has 254 GB of free space. Silly me, I thought that D: was for the optical drive. So nice of them to make that decision for me.

You know you can change that right?

If you want to resize your partitions I recommend EASEUS Partition Manager. It’s great, easy to use and best of all it’s FREE.

Link here

That’s pretty typical nowadays–it’s not a bad idea in general to separate the OS drive from the working drive. A separate physical hard drive would probably be better than a mere disk partition, of course. And when you buy hardware with stuff preinstalled, they’re making a lot of decisions for you–if they left off the partition & put everything on C:, that’s a decision they made as well. If you want to make all those choices yourself, buy a blank computer & install the OS from scratch. (That’s not sarcasm, BTW–if you have the competence and the time, there’s a lot to be said for that.)

OEM just means that you own a*** LICENSE*** to run the software, but the license is restricted to one particular machine. In return for that, you get pay less for Windows. If I go to the store and buy a retail copy of Windows, I can install it on a PC, then change my mind, uninstall it, and put it on a different PC. (Their activation system may flag it if you do that, then you have to phone to get a code.)

There is no requirement for install disks; it’s just a good idea to give someone a way to reinstall if heaven forbid, Windows should bugger up completely. As mentioned above, nowadays you burn your own copies and unless the disk dies, you can also repair from the “install” partition.

Separate Operating System and Data drives are a good idea; however, most windows programs put their libraries in “(My) Documents” or worse yet, Program Files, unless you deliberately redirect; and those are by default on the C: drive. So you have to be a bit savvy to use yuor D drive. If you keep this separation, you can back up one drive (my data) or the other (just operating system, not too big). Unfortunately, Microsoft makes this difficult.

You can change disk sizes in the disk manager, but I strong recommend NOT messing with stuff you are not sure about.

If you use a digital camera or do digital video, you will fill a lot of space very quickly. The old saying was a picture is worth a thousand words, but nowadays, it’s several million. A 15Mpixel photo can be about 5MB; you will fill your 350GB with holiday photos etc. very quickly, so 500GB was probably a good investment.

Considering that it’s easier to buy 1TB disks (1024GB) it’s not surprising that he may not have had any 350GB disks left. FOr desktops, and even for Windows laptops, that’s getting to be “too small to bother making”. Plus, since the fall the industry has being trying to recover from a mild overall shortage, since a number of disk-making plants were in Thailand and got flooded last fall.

You should go back and ask for a genuine set. If they won’t give you one, report this to Asus and Microsoft. MS are cracking down on corporate piracy and they will not be best pleased with BB. It’s possible that you have a repackaged return.

I tried this once so that if the operating system caught a virus or otherwise needed to be reloaded, it would be easier to format the drive and not worry about any other data or installed programs.

Unfortunately, it entails more than just the Program Files folder. Lots of programs write to other areas on the C drive like the Applications folder under each user profile. There are also temp areas, log files and who knows what else. In short, you can never just erase format the C: drive and re-install windows.


The requirements are to:
Provide an original windows disk
Provide you with a way to reload the system back to OEM specification by a restore partition
a way to create your own restore disks to return the system to OEM specification

at no point are they mandaded to provide an actual hologram windows disk.

You want original disks, buy a computer from me :smiley:

Painfully incorrect

It is possible to reload windows on a reformatted C partition while leaving a separate D: partition untouched. This is fairly common in businesses where you can have all of the docs and program data stored outside of the OS partition so that a restore can be done without having to set the data aside.

With businesses when you do this, its really helpful because a backup of the OS and applications drive can be reloaded without disruption of the data on another partition. so reload the backup and the data is all still married up where you left it minimizing the need to reconfigure applications.

I beg to differ. While the OP will be unlikely to get a holographic DVD, he should get OEM branded media. Not ones done with Magic Marker. MS have just come down very hard on a British retailer for supplying bogus media.

Wrong. Most OEM manufacturers do not supply OS or recovery disks with their computers. MS is Ok with that.

tech used the “restore disk creator” on the machine with his own blank media. This is normal and expected for any mass produced machine right now.

If someone went into a best buy ranting that they read on the internet that BB had done something bad BB would treat them like a raving nutjob, and they would be right to.

I do not agree with many of BB’s practices, but this IS NOT an example of something nefarious. This is an offshoot of providing restore partitions which have made the world of computers orders of magnitude easier to support.

This may well be a difference between the U.K. and the USA. But IME when people buy a PC, they have the option of purchasing a set of restore DVDs when they place the order, or there is a set of DVDs or CDs included, or there is a restore partition (which I note is absent in this case) with instructions on how to create restore disks and a note in the instructions that restore DVDs may be obtained from the manufacturer. They do NOT come with DVDs done with a sharpie.

I agree with that!
I bought a pair of HP laptops that had the restore partition BUT you were given two shots at burning the recovery discs (13 CDs or two DVDs) and two months to do it.
Neither machine was any good and were returned and exchanged for a pair of Toshibas (using one now, six years later).

A workmate brought me his Packard Bell laptop, not long out of guarantee and that was the same deal.

Unfortunately he had never burned the recovery discs and the recovery partition was corrupt (whole system was virused to bits).
He has Ubuntu on it now :slight_smile:

I may be misinterpreting what he said, but I think he means if you install programs on another drive that those programs also need to be reinstalled along with the OS, otherwise the OS won’t be able to access those programs. If it is just data, then no, you don’t have to reinstall the data.

Those disks are provided as a courtesy by Best Buy. They are in no way required to provide any disks.