Windows XP EULA

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computing: operating systems: Windows: XP: EULA

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This page is for information about the Windows XP EULA, which displays when Windows XP is being installed.

Excerpts and Notes

  • (1.2) A fresh install will only work for 30 days after installation unless you "activate" it by contacting Microsoft and giving them certain information. The nature of this information is not explained, but presumably includes some kind of individual license code.
  • (1.3) XP can't be used to access more than 10 other computers or standalone devices (e.g. networked printers) on a network. (This is XP Pro, folks; I have to wonder what the limitations are on the Home edition.) You're also not allowed to give access to your files or shared printer to more than those same 10 devices.
  • (2.1) Microsoft has ultimate control over what Secure Content you're allowed to play. Any time you download a license for new Proected Content, Microsoft could turn off your ability to play others already downloaded. What is the arbitration process if you believe Microsoft has erroneously turned off your access to a download you paid for? The EULA mentions none, so unless there are existing laws which trump the EULA, you may be SOL.
  • (2.1) You are also forced to upgrade your DRM components anytime Microsoft or the Secure Content Owners wish it. What if the latest version causes problems on your particular hardware? What if they decide to add stuff to the component which kicks up a fuss if you have too much "unprotected content" on your computer? Of course, one could argue that they could do this from the very beginning, but then you would be forewarned and might decide not to get involved with building up your library of Secure Content. The automatic component updates (and the centralized "off-switch", for that matter) means that they can wait until people are hooked before doing this.

Relevant verbatim quotes from the EULA (formatted slightly for easier reading):

1. GRANT OF LICENSE. Microsoft grants you the following rights provided that you comply with all terms and conditions of this EULA:
1.1 Installation and use. You may install, use, access, display and run one copy of the Software on a single computer, such as a workstation, terminal, or other device ("Workstation Computer"). The Software may not be used by more than two (2) processors at any one time on any single Workstation Computer.
1.2 Mandatory Activation. The license rights granted under this EULA are limited to the first thirty (30) days after you first install the Software unless you supply information required to activate your licensed copy in the manner described during the setup sequence of the Software. You can activate the Software through the use of the Internet or telephone; toll charges may apply. You may also need to reactivate the Software if you modify your computer hardware or alter the Software. There are technological measures in the Software that are designed to prevent unauthorized use of the Software. Microsoft will use those measures to confirm you have a legally licensed copy of the Software. If you are not using a licensed copy of the Software, you are not allowed to install the Software or future Software updates. Microsoft will not collect any personlly identifiable information from your Workstation Computer during this process.
1.3 Device Connections. You may permit a maximum of ten (10) computers or other electronic devices (each a "Device") to connect to the Workstation Computer to utilize one or more of the following services of the Software: File Services, Print Services, Internet Information Services, and remote access (including connection sharing and telephony services). The ten connection maximum includes any indirect connections made through "multiplexing" or other software or hardware which pools or aggregates connection. This ten connection maximum does not apply to any other uses of the software.


2.1 Digital Rights Management. Content providers are using the digital rights management technology contained in this Software ("DRM") to protect the integrity of their content ("Secure Content") so that their intellectual property, including copyright, in such content is not misappropriated. Portions of this Software and third party applications such as media players use DRM to play Secure Content ("DRM Software"). If the DRM Software's security has been compromised, owners of Secure Content ("Secure Content Owners") may request that Microsoft revoke the DRM Software's right to copy, display, and/or play Secure Content. Revocation does not alter the DRM Software's ability to play unprotected content. A list of revoked DRM Software is sent to your computer whenever you download a license for Secure Content from the Internet. You therefore agree that Microsoft may, in conjunction with such license, also download revocation lists onto your computer on behalf of Secure Content Owners. Microsoft will not retrieve any personally identifiable information, or any other information, from your computer by downloading such information lists. Secure Content Owners may also require you to upgrade some of the DRM components in this Software ("DRM Upgrades") before accessing their content. When you attempt to play such content, Microsoft DRM Software will notify you that a DRM Upgrade is downloaded. Third party DRM Software may do the same. If you decline the upgrade, you will not be able to access content that requires the DRM Upgrade; however, you will still be able to access unprotected content and Secure Content that does not require the upgrade.


2.3 Internet-Based Services Components. The Software contains components that enable and facilitate the use of certain Internet-based services. You acknowledge and agree that Microsoft may automatically check the version of the Software and/or its components that you are utilizing and may provide upgrades or fixes to the Software that will be automatically downloaded to your Workstation Computer.


5. NO RENTAL/COMMERCIAL HOSTING. You may not rent, lease, lend or provide commercial hosting services with the Software.

Minor Quibbles

  • 1.1 If you have a computer with more than 2 CPUs, you're not allowed to install XP unless you can prevent it from using the additional CPUs. This is a minor quibble today, when few personal computers have as many as 2 CPUs, but it may well be an issue in a few years. Will they change the EULA to reflect popular needs?
  • 2.3 What if the latest versions of these components include blocks of certain sites or services "for your protection"? You can't prevent the new version from being installed, and you can't uninstall them. Microsoft owns your machine as long as it has XP on it. So far, they haven't seriously flexed their ownership muscles. Do they have any incentive not to, when it suits them? This is a minor quibble only because it has already been raised with regard to the DRM control.