Will Microsoft Let Me Use 2K When I Paid for XP?

My employer, a very, very big electronics reseller, just acquired a piece of security equipment.
The equipment is a custom-built PC with a few proprietary system boards and I/O devices.
I powered the unit up and the command WINVER.EXE reports:
Microsoft ® Windows
Version 5.0 (Build 2195: Service Pack 4)
Copyright © 1981-1999 Microsoft Corp.

I opened the box and pulled out the associated copy of Windows. The license key reads “Windows XP Professional OEM Software”. The front cover of the “Start Here” booklet is branded, in red and along the left side, “For distribution only with a new PC”.

Does anyone know if this distribution is in line with Microsoft policies?
This unit won’t be resold to customers, but others might, and I’d like to make sure we aren’t reselling something that will come back to haunt us.

I know I can call Microsoft on this, but rather than get bounced around there I am hoping some Doper has experience with this.

Microsoft generally has a 7 year support cycle, which means that if 2K isn’t retired by now, it will be soon. That isn’t to say that they won’t let you sell it; but they may not support it. That means no security updates, etc.

I strongly recommend you call the builder of that custom PC and ask what the support story is.

No, this isn’t normal distribution policy: if you resell a similar unit to a customer then you will be in the wrong, as you will be supplying them with software without the appropriate licence. Granted, you’re supplying with a licence, but you’re also supplying them with an XP CD, effectively giving them two OSes for the price of one. And even if you didn’t pass on the XP CD, you’d still be misselling; the licences aren’t retroactive for older versions. This cite suggests Microsoft aren’t even selling Win2K for OEM builders any more; perhaps the problem is that your supplier is used to building their machines with Win2K but can’t get hold of the OEM copies to actually ship to customers?

Leviosaurus has a good point re: support issues (although MS are only just retiring Win 98, so the 7 year thing is somewhat nominal), but I do think that the licence issue needs sorting out first; you should definitely ensure that your supplier is giving you licences and software that match up. If you’re selling large(ish) quantities of these machines, the likelihood is very high that Microsoft will be notified at some point and will come asking questions. They may well be reasonable about things (since you’re not building the systems yourselves), but it’s almost guaranteed to cause you some degree of hassle down the line.

I agree with everything **Badger ** has said, but I still think you need to check the support policy first. This device is specifically for security, right? If a security vulnerability for 2K comes out after Microsoft has ended support, then it may go unpatched. In a worst case scenario, your customers may end up getting their machines comprimised, and they may try to hold you liable for damages.

I could be paranoid with this suggestion - there may be a plan to upgrade the machines regularly, and if so, fine. But if the supplier doesn’t have a support plan in place to cover this kind of contingency, you may want to re-evaluate your plans to use or sell this equipment. The licensing becomes a moot point.

That said, if support is fine and the supplier covers liability, then definitely make sure the licensing is straightened out before going any further.