Windows OEM problem

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Wedge
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Windows OEM problem

Post by Wedge » Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:18 pm

I have a situation.

My friend's motherboard from his eMachine is dead (reference thread here). Now I am looking to buy a replacement board, but it occurs to me that not just any board will do. It will probably have to be the exact same motherboard. Normally I would be thinking to get a compatible socket-type, compatible RAM, compatible VGA slot (if needed or desired). But the problem is this:

This eMachine, like so many other brand PCs, came preloaded with an OEM version of Windows. The discs to be used for the reinstallation are "Restore CDs" that will only work for specific hardware. How these CDs detect that the hardware is indeed that which it was meant to be coupled with, I do not know. I suspect that a person who knew which text documents to edit might be able to turn these "Restore CDs" into a regular retail-ish version. But that is beyond my abilities presently (unless one of you can offer a quick "how-to").

Okay, so I can get the same exact board and not worry about it, right? Here is the board: link

This is an outdated board for sure. It is a socket 754. eMachine is wanting $139.95 for this thing. Unbelievable.

So what am I to do? Tell my friend she should upgrade to a new platform or spend ~$140 to get this fixed?

If she upgrades, I will be buying a new motherboard and CPU + a retail version of Windows XP. I will re-use the RAM, hard drive, and optical drive. Video will likely be onboard. This still adds up to probably $250-ish, likely a little more.

What should I do? Is there a way to just buy a cheap 754 motherboard (say ~$50) and "make" the OEM version of Windows XP work with the new hardware?

Help please.
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aristide1
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Post by aristide1 » Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:38 pm

The odds are good that board and cpu combo are registered at MS and changing either one will leave you high and dry. That's how OEM OSs function. That's why they cost less.

You have a couple of options depending on what it is your friend needs to do. I have a friend who stated outright he needs to surf and use MS Word, that's it.

If you simply need Internet access and basic word, spreadsheet file I believe you can run anything like Ubuntu and Open Office.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenOffice.org

At that point you decide on what you want to replace, just the motherboard with existing memory and processor, which if its DDR is frankly not worth it IMO. I suspect any micro-atx board will fit unless the setup is really weird.

In my opinion if Gates continues to insist on H-1B employees I see no reason to remain loyal to his overpriced and bloated software.
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Michael Sandstrom
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Post by Michael Sandstrom » Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:54 pm

I agree with aristide1 that moving to Unbuntu might be the best option available. It is a shame that your friend paid for a Windows license that died with her motherboard but that is one drawback with prebuilt computers. I have heard that people who buy OEM Windows and build their own machines are sometimes allowed to swap motherboards after a failure if they call Microsoft and request permission. IMO, Microsoft's unreasonable expectation that customers purchase a second license for the same computer simply encourages piracy via Bittorrent download.

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Post by Plissken » Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:17 pm

Wedge wrote:If she upgrades, I will be buying a new motherboard and CPU + a retail version of Windows XP.
If you end up sticking with a Microsoft OS, don't buy a retail version. It's a waste of money. Get an XP OEM disc (not to be confused with a recovery disc). Your problem isn't that you don't have a retail version of Windows, but that you don't have Windows at all - just an E-machine disc.

You can upgrade components later with an OEM disc. You might have to talk to Microsoft. "The mobo died, I replaced it". No big deal.
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psklenar
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Post by psklenar » Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:02 am

Plissken wrote:
Wedge wrote:You can upgrade components later with an OEM disc. You might have to talk to Microsoft. "The mobo died, I replaced it". No big deal.
Agreed. I've done this twice ...once for my sister & brother-in-law's machine, and once for my parent's machine. You get a notice that "Activation" failed, please call MS at a toll free number (well, it's toll free from w/in USA, not sure about other areas). I did so and in both cases, they asked me why U was reinstalling (replaced dead mobo/CPU in one box, upgraded HD & memory in the other) and then they read me a new Activation Code over the phone. I was done 2-3 minutes flat. No problems.

pat----

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Post by xan_user » Tue Apr 22, 2008 5:35 am

Michael Sandstrom wrote:......... IMO, Microsoft's unreasonable expectation that customers purchase a second license for the same computer simply encourages piracy via Bittorrent download.
Having to call just to get permission to move my retail copy of MS to a new machine makes me want to bittorrent next time.--its easier.

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Post by Bluefront » Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:54 am

Wedge...I do this all the time at work with "Restore" XP CDs. When you replace a board or a HD for instance, the restore CD only looks for a BIOS of that brand......E-Machine in your case. So if you can find an E-Machine board from anywhere, used or otherwise, the restore cd will load right up. It doesn't ask for any serial #, and everything appears legal. You don't have to register anything, and the MS updates work normal.

I've done similar things with restore cds from Gateway, Dell, and HP. YMMV....but I'll bet it works the same for E-Machines. You might have to find some different drivers if the board is different from the original.

Good luck.... :)
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Wedge
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Post by Wedge » Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:00 pm

I just got in from work, else I would have responded sooner.

Thanks to you all for your responses because we are touching on something that has been unclear to me for some time now, before I found myself trying to help a friend with a fried motherboard. I have owned two Compaq PCs back when Windows 98 was the OS to have, and they came with "Restore CDs". But since I began building my own PCs, I purchase retail versions of XP.
Plissken wrote:Your problem isn't that you don't have a retail version of Windows, but that you don't have Windows at all - just an E-machine. disc
Yes, exactly. And I have an email from eMachine tech support stating "Thank you for using our online e-mail support. If you will use the the
OEM Restore Disk on a replacement motherboard it might not work for the
OEM disk will look for the hardware ID of the original board. If it
does not detect it it will not proceed to install."
psklenar wrote:I did so and in both cases, they asked me why U was reinstalling (replaced dead mobo/CPU in one box, upgraded HD & memory in the other) and then they read me a new Activation Code over the phone. I was done 2-3 minutes flat. No problems.
The "Restore CD" doesn't allow an install at all (I have attempted to begin the setup process on two of my personal PCs). I think it only initializes the installation of Windows when the specific hardware already mentioned is present and upon booting the PC with the Restore CD in the cd-rom.

Perhaps I could use my copy of XP retail with a new board, call MS as psklenar suggested and explain the situation. Even better would be to somehow get the OEM disc to at least begin the setup of Windows, then call MS when I reach the activation portion and explain that I have no key with the OEM disc because, well, it is an OEM disc (which i am sure has a key embedded in it somewhere, but the user never has to bother with entering it under normal circumstances, i.e., when using the same motherboard that shipped with the eMachine).
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Wedge
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Post by Wedge » Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:04 pm

Bluefront wrote:Wedge...I do this all the time at work with "Restore" XP CDs. When you replace a board or a HD for instance, the restore CD only looks for a BIOS of that brand......E-Machine in your case. So if you can find an E-Machine board from anywhere, used or otherwise, the restore cd will load right up. It doesn't ask for any serial #, and everything appears legal. You don't have to register anything, and the MS updates work normal.

I've done similar things with restore cds from Gateway, Dell, and HP. YMMV....but I'll bet it works the same for E-Machines. You might have to find some different drivers if the board is different from the original.

Good luck.... :)
True Bluefront, but I am trying to avoid spending $140 on an identical motherboard that is, in fact, not worth that much money. I would rather spend about half that much on a compatible motherboard and use the OS came with her PC, which is the dilemma I am facing.
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Bluefront
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Post by Bluefront » Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:55 pm

Wedge....What I'm suggesting is to find a used E-Machine board somewhere, maybe E-Bay, maybe a used computer store. The restore CD should work even if the board is a different model.

We had a Gateway computer at work go bad. I found a Gateway board at CompGeeks (refurb). The Restore CD I had installed without difficulty. I only had to find a few drivers because the board was different from the one that failed.

You can get XP Home for <$100 at Directron, other places.
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psklenar
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Post by psklenar » Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:56 pm

Wedge wrote:... Perhaps I could use my copy of XP retail with a new board, call MS as psklenar suggested and explain the situation. Even better would be to somehow get the OEM disc to at least begin the setup of Windows, then call MS when I reach the activation portion and explain that I have no key with the OEM disc because, well, it is an OEM disc (which i am sure has a key embedded in it somewhere, but the user never has to bother with entering it under normal circumstances, i.e., when using the same motherboard that shipped with the eMachine).
check the back and bottom of the eMachine case carefully. One of the license requirements for an OEM install is that the installer is supposed to place the Windows "Authentic" sticker on it and that sticker contains the unique license code for that machine. So you *should* have a code. You just need the media to do the re-install from and MAYBE you'll have to call MS to get a new activation code if that one kicks out due to too many hardware ID's changing (mobo, CPU, HD, memory, etc).

Good luck,
pat----

Wedge
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Post by Wedge » Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:22 pm

Bluefront wrote:Wedge....What I'm suggesting is to find a used E-Machine board somewhere, maybe E-Bay, maybe a used computer store. The restore CD should work even if the board is a different model.
Ah okay. I missed that upon my first read. Thus far I have only checked ebay and the eMachine parts store. I will post back if I find this board at a discount somewhere. It is an FIC K8MC51G.
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Wedge
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Post by Wedge » Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:24 pm

psklenar wrote: check the back and bottom of the eMachine case carefully. One of the license requirements for an OEM install is that the installer is supposed to place the Windows "Authentic" sticker on it and that sticker contains the unique license code for that machine. So you *should* have a code. You just need the media to do the re-install from and MAYBE you'll have to call MS to get a new activation code if that one kicks out due to too many hardware ID's changing (mobo, CPU, HD, memory, etc).

Good luck,
pat----
Will check for that....surely it is there. Still, I will need a disc that will actually begin the setup process and I happen to have an OEM disc from another popular PC manufacturer (not eMachine).

I'm just trying to find the cheapest solution here.
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Plissken
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Post by Plissken » Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:09 pm

Wedge wrote:Even better would be to somehow get the OEM disc to at least begin the setup of Windows, then call MS when I reach the activation portion and explain that I have no key with the OEM disc because, well, it is an OEM disc (which i am sure has a key embedded in it somewhere)
You are still confusing what most people call an OEM disc with your e-machine disc. They are not the same. I was referring to a new purchase of XP. You have 2 choices when you purchase XP:
- System builders disc, a.k.a OEM disc- supposed to stay with machine you initially install it on, and have no tech support. You are the OEM.
- Retail disc - same software, different license, ok to move from machine to machine, some tech support.
Both types have keys, and both need activation. Notice the price difference.
The e-machine disc is a third type. It's an special recovery-only disc with license bound thru the OEM (E-Machine Inc. or whatever). You are at their mercy with hardware options, unless you can find a way to wiggle out of it.
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