So someone tell me if this is illegal or not before I get myself in trouble. I have a little bit older computer that had it's operating system taken out of it or something like that. It used to have Windows XP on it. I have a newer laptop that came with backup CD's and one of them is the Windows Vista operating system. Being as my older computer doesn't have an OS I want to use this CD to give it one. Is that legal or do I really have to go spend hundreds of dollars to buy something I already have? I mean, it makes sense that both computers belong to me and so does the disc so it would just be illogical that it is illegal, but I don't know. Maybe it has to be licensed or something like that.


ii) I may be in a different country from you and the legal situation may be different

Given that, the situation as I understand it, depends on what license (roughly: how you got it) your copies of Windows. That is, if you buy an ordinary consumer copy of windows, you get a more permissive license than if you buy an OEM copy. Pre-built computers are normally supplied with OEM versions, and those are normally tied to the hardware that you bought it with.

The exact conditions will have been supplied to you with the copy of windows, either in the EULA or on a separate piece of paper and you should check there for what MS thinks the conditions are (not all of the MS imposed conditions are necessarily legal in all jurisdictions, but that's too complex an issue). The other thing to note is that the licenses have become more restrictive over time, so older versions of windows may be more permissive.

Note that while you do have a disc, with commercial software, you are not, in general, licensed to do anything that you want with it.

Virtual is right on that. the OEM copy is tied to the computer you bought it. But lets go out of the box for a second and say you didn't care.

if that is the case, you'll need to do an over the phone activation, and you'll probably need to go hunting for the right drivers for your hardware.

well not really because what key is he going to use? he can't use the one on his laptop. So what he's trying to do is illegal.

1) Illegal as its OEM - tied to the hardware it came with

2) Installing it on 2 PCs at one time is illegal alwayw

3) It would fail product activation and probably put your key on the blacklist ,leaving you with no OS whatsoever

why don't you just go to and get vista ultimate for 200? or home premium for less than that.

$200 O...M..G!

Its more than that for home basic here :(

ultimate is about £295 which is about $599

I hate M$. :(

Sounds real difficult.

So you're telling me that if I tried to put the OS on my desktop pc that it would be blacklisted and I would be left with no OS on either of my two computers?

potentially yes (MS lets you get away a limited number of times (3?) with having different h/w when you activate but after that you need to do the phone activation and speak to a real person and provide a good reason for activating one copy on multiple different h/w configurations (only real legitimate reason is if you keep getting a new motherboard or something)

Oh, well thanks. That helps. I think it's stupid that I have to buy a new one even though I already have one, but that's how they get their money I guess.

the whole point of it is that you dont actually own the OS, you own a licence to use a copy of it.

Yeah, I know. I'm just a cheapskate. Lol. I don't know if that computer can handle vista though. It's a compaq presario, not that old but it isn't that new either. I bought it with xp installed on it.

a) vista wont install on under 512mb ram

b) Vista needs a pentium 4 or equivilent (at least 2ghz) or it will run unbearably slow.

c) vita in realiy needs 1 or 2 gb+ of ram

vista to xp ram performance equivilents

xp 256 mb slow but semi-usable
vista256mb doesnt work

xp 512 good enough for office tasks
vista 512mb semi-usable

xp 1gb good games performance
vista 1gb suitable for office tasks

xp 2gb amazing performance
viusta 2gb same as xp 1gb

RAM = memory (Random Access Memory)

I know what ram is, I just don't know what the ram of my computer is.

Go into control panel then open up "system". It will tell you there. Alternatively you can hit control-alt-del then go into the performance tab. Look for "Physical Memory (K)" and divide "Total" by 1024 to get the number of megabytes

So my laptop has 894 MB. But here's a question. My iPod has 30GB. That doesn't make sense that my iPod has a lot more space than my Computer. And I'm pretty sure I have more than 894MB of files saved on it (maybe). So what exactly is RAM?

RAM is Random Access Memory it is volatile storage anything stored in it is lost when you turn the computer off. The 30GB on your iPod is not the same it's non-volatile permanent storage like a hard drive or flash drive. The iPod will have RAM of some kind too, although how much I have no idea.

Surprised the Linux lovers haven't posted in droves telling you to put Ubuntu on it.

I put Kubuntu (Ubuntu but with KDE desktop instead of Gnome) on an old Compaq laptop and it ran very nicely.

Oh yeah, isn't that a free OS or something like that? I think I might have heard about it before. Well, if there is a free or inexpensive OS that works nice, is compatible with my computer then someone let me know.

Yes, RAM holds stuff you are currently working with. When you see the PCs hard disk light flashing and clicking it means you are run out of RAM and am having to keep stuff you are working with on the hard disk. This is slow as RAM = electrical/fast and Hard disk= mechanical/slow

If you get more RAM you can run more programs at once and things geberally become faster

Putting more RAM in is the cheapest and generally the most effective way to make your PC faster.

How would you increase the Ram? (And is there such a thing as a free OS?)

Yes there is . Do a google for Ubuntu. Its a type of linux.

and RAM is in the form of rectangular sticks (the size of a chocolate bar) on your motherboard. You can find out what sort of ram you bneed, how much you have, and order it by running the System Scanner Tool on

Cool, I'm using ubuntu now on my old desktop. I finally got it to work. Thanks for all your help.