Windows 8/Windows 8


QUESTION: I have windows 8 on a laptop with no install disk.  I am planning on building a desktop and putting Windows 8 on it.  It is to my understanding that I only pay for the license for Windows 8, not the software.  Therefore is there a way to pull Windows 8 from that laptop and use a flash drive to install it on the desktop and only pay for the license?  Or do I have to breakdown and buy another copy of Windows 8?

ANSWER: Hi Michael!

Yes, you are correct, you pay only for the license.  In order to run Windows, you do not purchase the media (although some suppliers and OEM's may charge a small amount for the DVD/ISO), and you do not purchase the "software" (Microsoft always owns Windows - you simply purchase a license to run it on your PC).

So, if you want to install Windows 8 on a PC that did not come with Windows 8, you need to purchase either an upgrade or a full license.  Normally, when you purchase the license, the media will accompany it, but that depends on where you get it from.

Also, when you purchase a computer with Windows pre-installed, that license belongs ONLY to that machine and cannot be moved to another.  Sometimes (not always), the installation media for that OEM system will not work on any system or brand besides the one for which it was intended.  In any case, moving an OEM installation of Windows will require the purchase of a new license for re-activation (possibly required to activate over the phone) to run it on a different machine.

Feel free to follow up with any additional questions or clarifications.

Good luck!

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QUESTION: Thanks for the fast answer.  So, If I get the iso file from Microsoft or a free site I can use that to install Windows 8 on ANY computer, just as long as I purchase a license.  And does Microsoft make this easy or is it complicated as most Microsoft issues?

Every version of Windows  is a little different:

XP was VERY restrictive - media and keys had to match and there were NO "open" downloads anywhere.

Vista and 7 were available, officially, for download by anyone, requiring a Product Key after 30 days.

Windows 8 was notorious for there NOT being any publicly open and official downloads - the media would have to be obtained through the license purchase, directly from the OEM, or through one of Microsoft's partner programs (MSDN, TechNet, etc.).

Windows 8.1 is available as official media, as is media from sources that previously could not carry it (for example, NewEgg will be selling the media only for $15).

Just be careful looking for it on a "free site" ... since there are NO official publicly available downloads (without purchase of a license), ALL downloads from these unofficial sources are suspect to malware infection, either in the download process to your downloading PC or within the ISO file itself.

I would encourage you to get Windows 8 from a reputable and official source.  As a sidenote, Windows licensing has changed in Windows 8 for people buying an OS to install themselves:  the full retail version is no longer required (where an "upgrade" is not valid) - one can purchase the OEM/system builder version and license it legally for their own system.

Let me know if you have more questions ... licensing is NOT an easy topic to grasp.  Let me know as many specifics about what you have and what you hope to do, and I'll try to give you as direct an answer as I can :)

Windows 8

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I can answer nearly all questions about Windows 8 - installation, upgrade, virtualization (Hyper-V, etc.), configuration, how to get the most out of it, how to buy it, etc. I won't pretend to know it all - nobody can - if I don't know, I will try and find the answer. If I can't find it, I'll tell you.


I worked as an analyst in Dell server support for 2 years, and have since worked with many Dell PowerEdge servers. I am currently employed as IT Manager. I have been using Windows 8 since the early Developer Preview days and use it on all of my primary PC's for a number of activities.

I have a BS in Computer Science and have earned the following certifications: CompTIA Security+, A+, Project+; CIW Web Design, Database Specialist; Microsoft Windows 7; Dell DCSE Server. I am also an expert in Windows 7, Servers, and Hard Drives (I don't normally do XP - not because I don't know it inside and out, but because I have "retired" personal support for XP, and I want to see it die :)).

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