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Is your System Builder Doing Things Correctly ?

This week Computer Solutions would like to draw your attention to small scale system builders. The vast majority of which, including ourselves are doing things correctly in terms of Microsoft software licensing etc.

Today Computer Solutions were called out to a regular customer of ours in Baginton, near Coventry. The customer had had his system built for him about two years ago and it is based on an Intel Dual Core G620 processor. This is an entry level system.

Recently there had been a series of regular power cuts in the Baginton area and this had caused some errors on the computer's hard drive, preventing it from starting up correctly. The machine was installed with Windows 7 Ultimate, although it was not connected to a domain and was just used for normal everyday work.

We had previously mentioned to the customer in the past that the computer did not appear to have a licence sticker on the machine at all. This is usually located on the top or the side of the machine and indicates that an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) software licence had been supplied with the machine.

In other words the customer has paid for a licence to use the Microsoft Operating System, when they purchased the machine. Small scale builders should supply both a disk and a licence which is attached to the machine at the time of the build. However there are a few who for whatever reason do not follow the rules.

Initially the machine could not be restored using the built in system recovery tools, although we did manage to resolve this.

Closer inspection revealed that the software fitted could well have been a counterfeit version as it did not appear to have been activated. Activation is the process of letting the Mictrosoft Licensing Server know about the new installation.

It appears that there is or was a 'hack' which allowed Windows 7 to be used without being activated. Normally activation should take place automatically once the machine goes online.

We think the company responsible for this is called Communikom, who were previously fined several thousand pounds by Microsoft for doing this previously. They have since fled to Spain and do not appear to be contactable. Our advice, should they return is to steer well clear of them. We've seen a couple of installations by them and this one seemed to bear many of their hallmarks.

The customer had no option but to purchase a valid licence for Windows 7 Ultimate from Microsoft costing £229.00, plus our time for putting things right and registering the software with the new licence correctly.

So if you are thinking of having a system built to your own custom specification please remember to ask for the licence sticker and software reinstallation disk as it will save you a lot of money later on, should you need to reinstall the Operating System.


Click here to download your FREE Windows 7 Boot Disks