buying second hand xp os


Distinguished Member
could anyone explain the pitfalls of buying xp off someone whos got a copy?
i'm thinking of upgrading from 98se but if i'm going to i would like to wipe my hard drive and install the full version and not the upgade.
thing is as i'm feeling tight i've been looking to buy outside the realms of pc world and have also posted in the 'wanted' section of this forum.
thing is as i understand it you cant use a disc that has previously been registered?
so what to look out for or do you pay your money and take the chance?
i'd hate to have big bad bill kick my door in.

The Dude

Distinguished Member
you're really just taking it on trust that the software (more importantly the license key) haven't been used before.

Personally, I'd never buy 'second hand' OS... but that's just me.

I'd always suggest buying an OEM version of the OS from a retailer.. it will save you quite a bit on the full cost of the off-the-shelf package, and makes buying second hand seem almost pointless anyway.

FWIW, you can buy an OEM version of windowsXP for around £65, including the token mouse/RAM/DVD drive etc required in order to purchase an OEM copy.. :)

Monty Burns

Prominent Member
Additional info to what the Dude says.

I *believe* an operating system can be activated 10 times before that serial number becomes useless. At least, thats what it used to be with MSDN. Nobody will bang your door down, you just wont be able to activate windows and it will stop working. If you are going to do this, can I suggest you install and then activate it ... upon activation working you know it had atleast 1 activation left and that you are now safe until you need to re-install. At this point you can then pay the man the small (we hope) fee.

I have to agree with the Dude though, it can be so cheap to buy a legal copy, why risk anything else?


Outstanding Member
I really don't think that anyone has the right to sell an OS on to a 3rd party legally (unless you are a reseller). I would steer well clear and spend the little bit extra it will cost to buy the pucka version.

Cable Monkey

Prominent Member
My understanding is you can sell the retail version on, and if you know what comes with that to confirm it is genuine, you have what is necessary to prove to MS that you have the original version. You cannot sell the OEM version on once it has been installed unless sold with the machine it was installed on. If the machine dies, the OS dies with it. Be warned, there are very good copies floating around, good enough to fool some retailers even.
There is a roaring trade in network admins selling on un needed OEM's that came with machines they have subsequently installed their Corporate/Unix operating systems on. Even though never used and possibly even untraceable, technically that is illegal too.


Distinguished Member
thanks for the replys,more or less confirmed what i suspected that the saving's probably not worth the hassle.
the kicking in of doors bit just sprang to mind from a simpsons episode when bill gates and some heavies came round to see homer ;)
still the idea of seeing if the software can be registered before paying is good one...providing the seller is willing to go for it.

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