User paid to uninstall Windows XP

A Sheffield man has won a refund from Dell for not installing Microsoft's Windows XP on a laptop he bought from the PC giant. Freelance programmer Dave Mitchell ordered a Dell laptop on 21 October, and the machine was delivered a few days later.

As Mr Mitchell was planning to run the Linux open source operating system on the machine, he had no need for the copy of Windows XP Home that had been pre-installed. When he started it for the first time, he clicked the box that said "no" on the Windows licence agreement that asked him to agree to its terms. The text of this agreement states users can get a refund for the "unused products" on their new computer if they get in touch with the machine's manufacturer.

Mr Mitchell, who is an active member of the open source community, said he knew that other Linux fans had tried to get refunds in a similar fashion with varying degrees of success.

News source: BBC

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Dell lets you customize your machine. What they really should do is allow the customer to choose what operating system they want on the desktop along with an option for no OS. This would solve a lot of problems

I tried getting a refund for not getting windows on a machine (already had XP pro from MSDNAA), they wouldnt let me because they said they couldnt. After I got it, I called again, said I didnt want it I already had XP Pro (it came with home), they said sorry they cant take XP back because it has a sticker with the code on the side -.- Seemed rather much like BS. I wish i would have read the terms :P

But its ok, dell has sent my company a free server and 20" lcd...so i guess that makes up for it

Frankly I've done this plenty of times before, so I don't see the big deal :S

Phone them and order it with no OS, simple.

Quote - markjensen said @ #21.1
Wow. You got Dell to ship you a laptop with no OS and reduce the price by the cost of a Windows license?

Dell is very flexible when you order on the phone. Even more if you ring and order and go through the business department. Plus the business department won't fill your system with crap. Or "less" at the very least.

Quote - joeydoo said @ #21.2
Dell is very flexible when you order on the phone. Even more if you ring and order and go through the business department. Plus the business department won't fill your system with crap. Or "less" at the very least.
They weren't that flexible when I called them. I asked about a "no OS" laptop. Or if they would refund me the Windows price. She told me they would not.

Try it yourself.

(this was the standard phone number. I didn't use "business". Feel free to try it yourself. If you get someone to quote a discounted "no OS" system, please post it here, along with the name of the person you talked to and a reference number for that quote, so I can verify and see that it can be done. Because, frankly, I don't believe I can purchase a single laptop from them without Windows. They told me so.)

WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO -- is simply to ask for a refund, and if/when they say no, take them to small claims court.

They won't show up, you win by default.

At least that's what I'd do.

Title is misleading...they didn't pay him to uninstall something he had been using.

Good for him though, spank Dell for not offering an OS free product.

Quote - Dashel said @ #19
Title is misleading...they didn't pay him to uninstall something he had been using.

Good for him though, spank Dell for not offering an OS free product.

I wonder how much these OEMs pay to license Windows? They must have some kind of deal with the Borg. I get the feeling it's something like $10, then they charge $100 for XP Pro. Otherwise I think they would have dumped OS preloads long ago if they weren't making a profit.

Great trick if you're a student, gets you £55 off any laptop and you can get a free copy of XP from your uni's MSDNAA store

Just to clarify: I'm not interested in eye candy, I'm interested in going into a shop, buying software or hardware, coming home, and it actually working, without having to go to some forum to get a hack from a team of patronising uber-geeks

Personally, I'd rather them keep the money and I'll keep the OS thanks.

Rather that than the heap of **** that is Linux. In any form. Ever.

I too got sucked in by the "its not windows" hype a few years back. Its crap. Wake up, realise it, and go back to windows.

Thanking you.

What a fantastic post!! I feel much more informed. I was going to try this "linux" thing but I guess if the one user can't get it working then why should I try. Smart post, very smart indeed.. Thank you!!

Quote - OrganicPanda said @ #12.3
What a fantastic post!! I feel much more informed. I was going to try this "linux" thing but I guess if the one user can't get it working then why should I try. Smart post, very smart indeed.. Thank you!!

He never said he couldn't get it working, possibly an assumption you made? I too tried linux many times over the last 5 years or so, every now and again ill give it a go to see how far its come, but simply I have to agree, its not good.

The simple fact is you have 2 main developers of OS in the world, Microsoft and Apple. Both of them have millions of dollars for R&D. Then you have open source activists who are no more than hobbyists at what they do (outside of their day jobs). While passion may drive them forward, its not enough.

Linux tends to lag way behind current OSes, its taken roughly till now for linux to get the features of commerical OSes, and frankly its still not the same. True plug and play still doesn't exist in the OS to any more extent than simple mass storage devices. Then there are the driver issues that still plague the OS, even in 2006. Want to install that modem? Sure, find an open source driver for it (because the binary is for an older kernel version that wont work), then compile it for your OS. Oh wait, your GCC is too new a version, better install an older one. Hmmm it appears i need to install a kernel module here, i think i need to recompile my kernel to suit.

Do all this, still doesn't work. Get the picture? Linux has always been like this, and nothing changes. Quite simply its an OS for die hard computer (ab)users who want to feel as though they still have an edge over your average joe. They will complain about newer OSes because they are too 'fisher price', with too much of an emphasis on HCI (or lack of) and how DOS was the best gui there ever was. Even with HIMEM being at disposal.

/rant

So...claim the refund, keep the OEM sticker. Now all he needs to do is "find" an OEM CD, use the sticker on the laptop and boom he has a "genuine" and "legal" copy of Windows. (After all, do you really want to run Linux?). Genius move, Dell. How many others are going to claim to want Linux and get a refund? (Not saying that this guy is frauding the system but it opens the doors for others)

This is a great way to keep a legit OEM key code and save money on a laptop. Plus, we all now know roughly how much Dell pays Microsoft per license of Windows. Now people will ask Microsoft why they have to pay $199 retail when Dell onyl has to pay, what, $50-60?

Knowledge really is power.

I'm guessing you don't know how software licenses or even just business sales works. Typically a company like Microsoft who offers software licenses will issue these licenses in bulk at a cheaper price per license.

Dell is only charged roughly ~$104 USD (55 pounds converts to $104.33 as stated in an earlier comment, not '$50-60' ) per license because they buy them by the thousand. Normal consumers on the otherhand, do not buy thousands of licenses at one time, so they are charged the full price for one license, which is $199 for Home and $299 for Professional.

Furthermore, when Dell or any other company sends you a refund for an unused and unwanted OS PID, chances are they'll ring Microsoft and tell them to invalidate the OS PID you requested a refund for. You're not keeping a legit OS PID, no company in their right mind would give you a refund and not invalidate the PID they issued you a refund for.

Knowledge is only power when you actually have it.

$104 USD is what Dell charges the end user since the refund came from Dell. There is probably a mark up that Dell transfers to the end user so it is not out of the question to say Dell pays less than $104 per license.

Saidee: Wow, thanks for the introduction to sales. I mis-read the pound sign for the dollar sign so the difference in price is not as significant as I thought. However, if you knew anything about marketing, you'd see that my point still stands.

"Normal" customers (as you call them) don't care about volume discounts or how they work. "Normal" customers will wonder why OEM versions are cheaper and how they can get them. It's like Wal-Mart. A lot of people don't care how or why Wal-Mart can offer the lowest price, they just shop there because they know the prices are the lowest (for the most part).

You might also want to stop acting like you are more educated or have more "power" than others on this board. When you guess wrong and then go on and on like that it's very amusing but gives you no credibility.

Quote - Saidee said @ #7.2
I'm guessing you don't know how software licenses or even just business sales works. Typically a company like Microsoft who offers software licenses will issue these licenses in bulk at a cheaper price per license.

Dell is only charged roughly ~$104 USD (55 pounds converts to $104.33 as stated in an earlier comment, not '$50-60' ) per license because they buy them by the thousand. Normal consumers on the otherhand, do not buy thousands of licenses at one time, so they are charged the full price for one license, which is $199 for Home and $299 for Professional.

Furthermore, when Dell or any other company sends you a refund for an unused and unwanted OS PID, chances are they'll ring Microsoft and tell them to invalidate the OS PID you requested a refund for. You're not keeping a legit OS PID, no company in their right mind would give you a refund and not invalidate the PID they issued you a refund for.

Knowledge is only power when you actually have it.

Awesome explanation.

Quote - C_Guy said @ #7
So...claim the refund, keep the OEM sticker. Now all he needs to do is "find" an OEM CD, use the sticker on the laptop and boom he has a "genuine" and "legal" copy of Windows. (After all, do you really want to run Linux?). Genius move, Dell. How many others are going to claim to want Linux and get a refund? (Not saying that this guy is frauding the system but it opens the doors for others)

This is a great way to keep a legit OEM key code and save money on a laptop. Plus, we all now know roughly how much Dell pays Microsoft per license of Windows. Now people will ask Microsoft why they have to pay $199 retail when Dell onyl has to pay, what, $50-60?

Knowledge really is power.

don't know where you are from but the current price for windows xp home OEM is 82€ in belgium, that's defenately less then 199$

Dell, I think, but certainly other computer companies sell models that don't include a version of Windows, so people who are concerned about this can buy those models.

But I think the action was right, because of the text of the EULA, saying he should be able to get a refund

Apparently, it was very easy to get a refund for him, so this should make open source activists quieter.

Have you ever looked at the very limited selection of Dell's "no OS" PCs?

And, i certainly don't see any Dell laptops (like the relevant unit in the article) with a "no OS" option.

It would be nice if consumers could pick their computer, then de-select the OS (like monitors, speakers, etc.). Maybe someday...

mark,

i wonder what it would legally mean if he clicked on the EULA just so he could download a copy of Linux, but never registered or activated Windows. of course, Dell would never know this; but i'm wondering what that means for the interpretation of EULAs in court.

does windows really give you a EULA agreement when its preinstalled though? i dont remember this.

btw, consumers can't pick the brand of graphics card or processor for a certain model, generally, so i suspect Dell doesn't see the OS as a different issue.

in some cases im sure this is because of things like media center designed notebooks, built to MS specifications, or even things like keyboards with windows keys

i alsodoubt you can remove an intel processor, put in an amd, and get a refund for unused hardware.:) yes software is different obviously.. but i'm talking about how dell sees it, especially with intellectual property issues. you can still use the windows cd after all

Hmmm.. "graphics cards". Seems like Dell offers plenty of systems with different choices in them. And "processors" you say. Again, they offer many systems with a choice of AMD or Intel based processors.

Software, you may notice, generally comes down to: XP Home, Pro, or MCE. Like going to a car dealer (and yes, I do hate car/PC comparisons, but this fits), and getting your choice in shade of black color. I allude to, of course, "any color, as long as it is black".

mark, i remember when i ordered my HP pavilion, there were models with different processors or graphic cards, but once you chose a model, customizability did not include the brands of processors or graphic cards. and it wasnt insignificant, because i couldn't get what i wanted. the notebook models with intel processors had better graphic cards than the ones with AMD, even though the AMD notebooks could support them. i chose an AMD notebook because i wanted the 64-bit processor at the time, and HP wasnt selling 64 bit intel notebooks yet.

i would guess one of the issues with hardware is all of the compatibility issues, maximum performance issues, price range issues, plus the fact that they try to make it easy for consumers by narowing things down by model and not asking them to decide processor and graphics card per model. im sure this is in part what influences to offer a limited choice on OSs, especially on notebooks--which use nonstandard hardware often. they don't want to be responsible if hardware built to work well on windows doesnt work well on Linux, due to driver support, or whatever else (think winmodems), if the customer chooses Linux from a list box; or if the hardware won't work to its advertised capacity (think media center notebooks). so they offer only certain models without an OS or with Linux, or rely on people to notify them like this person did.

i would be happy if we had more choices when buying PCs, but i think real business decisions over MS pressuring is what leads to this.

When can i get Flip3d & Aero in Linux?...

If it is before 2008, then i would go for that version...else i will stay with vista ultimate(planned to grab a DVD on the first day from a near by store)

Quote - guruparan said @ #4
When can i get Flip3d & Aero in Linux?...

If it is before 2008, then i would go for that version...else i will stay with vista ultimate(planned to grab a DVD on the first day from a near by store)

I'm guessing you've never seen this video before:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpIhoLzDOTY

Linux desktop rendered in OpenGL while playing a 1080p trailer in the back.

Author says that there is no performance hit.

http://www.saguratus.com/nick/beryl/layers/

---------------

Here is another example with a integrated video card with 8MB of RAM:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OKsH5JWA7g

You'll see transparency, expose switching ,etc.

-------------

All of this can be used now and its free.

Quote - xxpor said @ #4.4
its called XGL + Compiz :rolleyes:

No, compiz blows... it's called XGL + Beryl >_>

Quote - Pox said @ #4.6

No, compiz blows... it's called XGL + Beryl >_>

It does look amazing. Could help my productivity because I usually have tons of windows open at work.

I will check that out.

Hardly Gnome and KDE run as fast as a XP in the GUI. In fact keeping a lot of windows open in linux will cause many undesirable effects. But in windows i can open 20 windows without a trouble even in old computers.


Linux must focused in speed and stability not in more features.

Quote - Magallanes said @ #4.8
Hardly Gnome and KDE run as fast as a XP in the GUI. In fact keeping a lot of windows open in linux will cause many undesirable effects. But in windows i can open 20 windows without a trouble even in old computers.
What "effects"? I use Linux 100% at home for the past (almost) four solid years. I keep TONS of windows open.

Even my wife notices my PC is much more stable than her Windows PC. But such evidence is just as anecdotal as yours, isn't it?

Quote - markjensen said @ #4.9
What "effects"? I use Linux 100% at home for the past (almost) four solid years. I keep TONS of windows open.

Even my wife notices my PC is much more stable than her Windows PC. But such evidence is just as anecdotal as yours, isn't it?

Most people will thats because an inexperiances computer user is not normally going to be running linux. People running linux will know how to keep their system fast and secure where most windows users will click on the first "Download your free screensaver" link that pops up on their screen.

Quote - Unplugged said @ #4.11
Most people will thats because an inexperiances computer user is not normally going to be running linux. People running linux will know how to keep their system fast and secure where most windows users will click on the first "Download your free screensaver" link that pops up on their screen.
You missed my point. Magallanes stated that having many open windows in Linux would cause "many undesirable effects". I challenged him to mention just one or two perhaps. Having many windows open causes no problems. He's either making up information, or he is talking about a single system he personally set up and had a config issue with (maybe he was trying an experimental 3D windowing system?).

Quote - Jesse Carlton said @ #3.1
umm...55 pounds is 104 US dollars...

I guess Dell is going to think twice about preloading Vista Ultimate. A $399 refund on a $400 PC would not be good.

Quote - toadeater said @ #3.2

I guess Dell is going to think twice about preloading Vista Ultimate. A $399 refund on a $400 PC would not be good.

I'm pretty sure you'll find any PC worth only $400 won't be running Vista Ultimate :P

Quote - toadeater said @ #3.2

I guess Dell is going to think twice about preloading Vista Ultimate. A $399 refund on a $400 PC would not be good.

Not rearlly $400 is the Retail version they would at most get back the cost of an OEM copy. And as the previous poster pointed out a laptop worth $400 ( £270 ) is NOT going to be running vista.

That and the fact that Dell would never bundle Ultimate with a laptop anyway, it would be Home Basic or at at a push Home Premium but anything more than basic would cost extra on top of the laptop ( a bit like they offer you to upgrade to XP Pro at a small charge ) to knowingly pay for an upgraded copy of XP and then claim you dident want it would

A) Make you look like a moron
B) If successful you would get back 1) the extra cost of the upgrade and 2) the OEM price of the previous version getting back exactly no more or less than you shelled out.

Seeing that the majority of customers actually WANT windows doubt this is going to stop dell from bundling windows with the laptop. They might offer a OS free version for a small discount but normally people who buy these are genuine linux users or people just planning on sticking a bootleg copy of windows on which for the cost of maybe a £30 reduction that would be made on an OS free PC is hardly seems worth it.

If anyone it too lazy to read the article, Dell paid him £55.23 for "goodwill unspecified" refund.

Didn't someone try to do this in the US and had a hell of a time with it, maybe about 6 months ago?

That's because Dell bought the O/S off Microsoft as part of the package, so it was simply a refund from Dell not Microsoft.

Oh, so he got the money from Dell. He didn't pay Dell to have it uninstalled. The title had me believe he paid to have it removed. I was a bit confused at first, haha.

Quote - DjmUK said @ #1.1
That's because Dell bought the O/S off Microsoft as part of the package, so it was simply a refund from Dell not Microsoft.

That's why he was a bit disappointed. It's hard to buy a notebook from a major vendor without getting Windows. As an open source enthusiast he wanted to send a message to Microsoft that he didn't want their OS. He would have rather that Microsoft reimburse him the £55 than Dell.

Dell wrote it off as a goodwill expense suggesting that they had no intention of asking Microsoft for credit in return.

Quote - noroom said @ #1.2
The title had me believe he paid to have it removed. I was a bit confused at first, haha.

I read it to mean that someone didn't wanted him using XP and paid him remove it. About what you'd think if you read: "Farmer paid to not grow corn."

Obviously, to avoid confusion, the story title should have read something like: "User gets refund for refusing Windows XP."

Quote - Octol said @ #1.5
I read it to mean that someone didn't wanted him using XP and paid him remove it. About what you'd think if you read: "Farmer paid to not grow corn."

Poor example -- in Europe farmers do get cash subsidies to grow (or not grow) certain crops

(noroom said @ #1.2)
Oh, so he got the money from Dell. He didn't pay Dell to have it uninstalled. The title had me believe he paid to have it removed. I was a bit confused at first, haha.

Same here.

You mean to tell me you CAN'T buy a computer, whether laptop or desktop from Dell WITHOUT an OS installed? Doesn't Dell still custom build systems? Why wouldn't this person have done that knowing he didn't want Windows? Just trying for his 15 minutes of fame? LOL