Vista Logo There are all kinds of rumors and misconceptions that are floating around the Internet with what is going on with Windows Vista lately. We have been hearing about several changes in the License Agreement that are supposed to limit people more so than XP, and there has also been a lot of talk about the European Union (EU) forcing Microsoft to make some changes before Vista launches. Paul Thurrott has decided to cover both aspects so I decided to provide a “quick” summary of each.

–Vista Licensing Changes–

I have read so many different articles regarding the changes in Vista’s End-User License Agreement (EULA) that I am on the verge of insanity :) . Everyone has their own interpretation of the agreement but Paul contacted Microsoft in order to clear things up.

People apparently think that you can transfer Windows XP to as many computers as you would like but Paul is quick to point out that Windows is tied to a device and not a person. The Windows XP EULA doesn’t exactly say that it is limited to the number of transfers but a transfer should only be used in special circumstances, such as a hardware failure causing you to buy a new machine. Paul concludes by saying:

And if you do actually have a catastrophic PC failure, you’ll be able to transfer your license just as before. The process, as it turns out, hasn’t changed at all. “The escalation process is exactly the same in Vista,” Boettcher told me. “You have to call support. It just wasn’t clear in Windows XP. But we wanted to do the right thing by the customer. So we let them move a license, while being clear about what the license is intended for. In the past haven’t been super clear up front.”

Virtualization has also raised quite a few eyebrows I think mostly because no one understands how it is going to work. You will be able to use Microsoft’s Virtual PC or other virtualization software such as VMWare on any version of Vista. However, you will only be able to legally use Windows Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate Editions on that virtual machine. The key is legally, because you will be able to install any version of Vista on a virtual machine if you would like.

You will still have to activate Vista on that virtual machine which requires you to have a legal copy of the operating system. Vista Enterprise is a little different because of the volume licensing that it uses. Users that have a valid Enterprise edition will be able to install and activate up to four virtual machines provided that they are all on the same computer and for the same user. That means if you are really looking to use Vista on virtual machines then the Enterprise edition is probably what you need.


–Vista Changes because of the European Union–

It seems like there is always a company that will get angry with Microsoft for releasing some new feature in Windows because someone else probably makes a profit from Windows lacking that feature. Paul Thurrott’s article on the last minute changes in Vista covers a few aspects that Microsoft is being forced to change in order to comply with the European Union.

It starts off with some security changes that Microsoft originally did to help protect the user. Paul starts off by saying “I want to be clear here: Microsoft security improvements in Windows Vista should be applauded by all Windows users, and any security company that wants to bypass them while not providing equivalent or better functionality is more concerned about their own profits than they are about users.” The primary concern that security companies have had is that they can’t change the kernel at run-time in Windows Vista 64-bit versions. Well, no one can and that includes Microsoft! However, Microsoft decided to create some API’s that would allow security companies to access the kernel in a secure fashion, but nothing is as secure as no access!

The other primary area of concern was with the default search in Internet Explorer 7. Microsoft, of course, would like it to be set by default to Windows Live but other companies, like Google and Yahoo, for some reason aren’t so fond of that idea. For users upgrading from IE 6 to IE 7 they will now be prompted with a screen that shows them what their current search engine is as well as several other search engines ranging from Google to Lycos. The user will see this screen every time that they start Internet Explorer until they make a choice to keep the existing search engine or pick a new one, so the program will not be choosing for them.

The last change comes in response to Adobe’s complaints. Microsoft has developed a new format for files called XPS which is very similar to PDF’s. By default this is included in Windows Vista and, and just like with Office 2007, Adobe wasn’t too happy about that. Instead of making this a separate add-on for Vista like Microsoft has done for Office 2007 they decided to open up the XPS format as an international standard so that everyone can use it how they please and create applications that support it.


As you can see there are a lot of last minute things going on with Vista that Microsoft needed to take care of before they officially release it. Some of the things are a little disappointing to see Microsoft being forced to change when some were implemented to protect users, but I guess that is the corporate world.

In the next month we should be seeing Vista available to companies and I’m still not sure if the public release date of December is true.

Thanks to “Jack of all Trades” for the tip!