Ask Dave Taylor: Tech and Business


Don't loan your Windows XP install disk to your friends

This may be a really stupid question, but I have a family friend who recently bought a 6yr old Compaq computer running Windows 98. Her father is currently updating it to be Windows 2000 but once she found out I still had my Windows XP restore/install discs she asked if I could update her to Windows XP. I just want to know though - is this legal? Or will I be chased down by guys in black jackets and charged? (lol worse case scenario). I just want to know if it's okay sharing the discs with a friend or not?

Well, this isn't a bad question, per se, but I think you already know the answer, somehow. The answer is that Windows XP and just about every other non-open source operating system, is licensed for you to install on a single computer only.

Even Apple has this restriction and theoretically if you want to upgrade both your desktop and laptop from, say, Panther to Tiger, you'd need to buy two copies of the OS.

Realistically, though, I know of few people who...