Microsoft Eases Vista Licensing Terms

Responding to complaints from the PC enthusiast community, Microsoft has eased clauses in its license agreement for its forthcoming Windows Vista operating system to allow customers to transfer Vista between machines and re-install Vista as many times as they wish without requiring authorization from Microsoft’s customer support services.

Initially, Microsoft’s Windows Vista licensing terms enables users to re-assign their Windows Vista license one (and only one) time. If a user wanted to transfer their copy of Vista to a new PC more than once—or, in the case of modders and gamers, modified their system in a way which triggered Vista’s built-in Software Protection Platform—they would have had to obtain authorization from Microsoft technical support in each instance. The idea was to thwart simple forms of software piracy, but the PC enthusiast complained that the license terms were unduly restrictive for folks who routinely modify and/or upgrade their systems to keep up with the latest-and-greatest hardware.

Microsoft’s new license terms enable users to un-install and re-install Vista as often as they like, although users are not permitted to do so to “share” a license between two devices. Users can also transfer their Vista license to another user provided they uninstall the original copy and do not retain any materials from the original installation.

License terms for EOM versions of Windows Vista (which will be pre-installed on new computers) still forbid any form of transfer.