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Upgrade or Get Genuine

  • We are planning to accept a grant of computers that we anticipate will come with Widows 7 Home.  We'd like to obviously have a professional version.  Looks to me that Windows 7 home is not eligible for Windows 7 Upgrade, but may qualify for the Get Genuine program (even though they're all genuine already).  What happens if we use the Get Genuine program now and then five years from now get another gift of Microsoft Home 8 computers (or whatever is out in the future).  Since the Get Genuine program is a one-time only deal and the Upgrade program will not allow you to upgrade home versions, does that mean we're limited to either stick with Home version or pay thousands for the retail version of Pro?  Might as well not accept gifts of computers with Home version O/S on them?

  • It is impossible to predict what MS will do with software licenses, or with the installation packages for software, recognizing, or not, an upgrade path. You might not need Get Genuine anyhow, as there are loopholes in the MS license for the original W7 upgrade license -- specifically, get any old stand-alone Windows license that can be upgraded to XP (or XP itself if not too expensive), get the XP upgrade licenses (if still available on TechSoup), and then "upgrade" a clean HDD to W7. Then, maybe when W17 comes out, you'll still have your one-time-only Get Genuine option open. Or not. By then, maybe Wine will work like a charm and you can do everything on Linux.

    I heard an interesting discussion the other day on NPR's FreshAir show about conficker worm -- MS is desperate for everybody to update windows to protect against the malware, but so many Windows installations are not Genuine (and unable to update), or so many people either don't trust MS or simply don't bother to update, that there is a vast pool of infected computers all over the world. Test

  • Why not go with Ubuntu as your operating system instead? It's free, it's stable, it's frequently updated, it's secure, it's got a massive development community behind it... it just seems a much better option for nonprofits. Then it doesn't matter what happens five years from now, if you get another gift of computers, etc.

    When I worked in Afghanistan, everyone was using pirated copies of the MS OS (and everything else MS), and viruses were rampant. Extremely hard to get work done!

  • Ubuntu is a great idea, if you can have all the apps you need; that's why I mentioned Wine earlier, for those Windows programs not ported to linux. Some big important software companies deliberately do not support Linux, and I am confident it is largely or entirely because of pressure from Microsoft, the same way most computer manufacturers must install Windows on every machine, even if it is not wanted by the consumer.

    For the incredible wealth of free software that WILL work on free OSes, "particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants," see

    (thanks Jayne for that post in the OSS forum about the fsf directory)

    For the incredible wealth of free software that may run on ANY platform, see

    see also details at about:

    1. Poisoning education
    2. Invading privacy
    3. Monopoly behavior
    4. Lock-in
    5. Abusing standards
    6. Enforcing Digital Restrictions Management (DRM)
    7. Threatening user security
  • It is being suggested that future versions of Windows (and Mac OS) might not be compatible with Linux-capable hardware:

  • Hi carl, you are certainly not alone in your issue of getting home versions when needing professional.  Thankfully, our org doesn't rely on computer donations.  You might want to get a standards policy in place for accepting used computers.  You obviously don't want someone else's junk or problems.  Our domestic violence shelter got donated an older computer that they accepted without consulting us.  It had Windows 98, 128 MB of memory and a 13 GB hard drive.  We had to pay to recycle it.  As far as ubuntu and other Linux distributions, they might be free, but you'll need to have a Linux guru handy.  Hope this helps,

    Best of luck,  

    Gary Network/Systems Admin Berlin, NH
    Host Non-profit Tech Careers, Security Forums
    Co-Host Networks, Hardware, & Telecommunications Forum

  • As far as ubuntu and other Linux distributions, they might be free, but you'll need to have a Linux guru handy.

    Just as, if you go with Windows, you will need a windows guru handy!

    For tech help, with Windows, with Ubuntu, with whatever, consider recruiting volunteers. There are a huge number of places to find such support, including,,, and your local volunteer center. More advice on this web page, Finding a Computer/Network Consultant, and over on TechSoup's Volunteers and Technology forum branch.