Advice on buying Windows XP

  WGW 00:31 02 Mar 05

I'm currently trying to purchase WinXP Home Edition to install from scratch on a new HDD for my father's PC, without breaking the bank.

I experienced problems with the Certificate of Authenticity when I recently tried purchasing from eBuyer and all they could offer was a refund, at the end of the day. I've asked PC World, and the price they quoted was £160 (£100 more than eBuyer), stating that at least I'd get the real deal from them. From my recent experience, I can't argue with that but I'm sure I could get the real deal much cheaper online. The problem is, once bitten.... Following my eBuyer caper, I'm not feeling too confident about other dealers. Novatech looks promising but can anyone on here endorse them?

This has been an ongoing saga for one reason or another, and if I could finally get what I really need, it would not only be a huge relief, but it would allow me to close off about three other related threads on here.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as always.

  Totally-braindead 00:46 02 Mar 05

The cheapest way to get XP is to get the OEM edition but you have to buy some hardware with it in order to qualify for the reduced price. This isn't a major problem as you can buy a mouse, keyboard, memory or other such item, details are on most of the websites. I was just looking this afternoon at the suppliers I have used for Windows XP Home OEM edition and found that the cheapest were Komplett at £58.00, Novatech was £60.63 and Scan was the cheapest at £55.78. I'll be using either Novatech or Komplett mainly because I'm needing new memory and Scan doesn't have the make I want. The only thing I'll have to check is postage costs as that can make the price increase significantly.

  Jak_1 00:53 02 Mar 05

PC World are not the cheapest in the world, £160 does seem a bit excessive to say the least. Try contacting Microdirect, Morgan Computers or Maplins to name 3. A flip through the ad pages in PC Advisor may be useful too.

  Flaco 01:03 02 Mar 05

I'm really surprised there was any problem with the pack from eBuyer. I'd say this was a bit of an anomaly. Getting a genuinely authenticated version of XP is not a major deal. I certainly hope PCW weren't seriously trying to use the fear factor on you?

Have a you thought about getting an OEM version? As opposed to Full Retail versions, the OEM alternative gets you the identical product but for a lot less money. The trade off is that you would not have any direct support from Microsoft. Not such a big deal when there is a wealth of informal help out there in forums such as these. In particular, I can personally recommend click here for some really great assistance.

I bought an OEM version of XP Home as a spare about 3 years ago because the price was right (£55). I finally used it a few months ago and it worked just fine.

Have a look at this site, which got a thumbs up in a popular PC mag last week. click here

  Flaco 01:34 02 Mar 05

Go with Totally Braindeads suggestions. I've bought from both those suppliers and not had any problems. Those are good prices.

Re the sale conditions on OEM versions, this is what Software Galaxy say: "OEM Microsoft products can only be sold (a) for refurbishing of PCs (b) to System Builders (c) additional services for Branded PCs or (d) to Sub-Distributors".

I don't want to appear condescending, but what is your general level of expertise with PCs? I just want to make sure that you have considered things such as peripheral drivers and memory before you go ahead and upgrade to XP. I know that many state 128MB as minimum workable RAM for XP, but I keep hearing problems where this is concerned because XP is memory-hungry. Many won't think about it with anything less than 256MB (subject to the PCs core duties, of course).

By the by, which OS version are you upgrading from? I say this because if, for example, your father already has a licence for Windows 98, you are entitled to load that onto the new HDD and then purchase a retail version XP Home Upgrade pack. Did they ask you that question at PCW?

  Strawballs 01:42 02 Mar 05

I have bought quite alot from Novatech not online but direct as I live close to it and have never had a problem but they did win PC Pro online dealer of the year.

  Gaz W 01:59 02 Mar 05

click here

Professional Edition there for £79.99 - depends whether or not you think it's dodgy. Wouldn't like to recommend it myself, although they do use PayPal as a payment method and (correct me if I'm wrong) that means you would have comeback if anything went wrong.

  961 09:42 02 Mar 05

We need to know about the computer. How old is it, what operating system is on it now and what processor does it have

If you are merely replacing the hard disk then is it not possible to buy an upgrade to XP, probably for around £70-£80

I am not sure that oem is appropriate for an existing computer bearing in mind that the software dies with the computer and cannot be transferred to your next one

A full retail version is yours to keep and transfer from the existing computer to the next. Prices generally run from about £145

  ventanas 10:23 02 Mar 05

PC World were quite correct in what they said. OEM is only an option if purchased simultaneously with a qualifying non-peripheral item of hardware, which must be installed and in use on the computer concerned.

Also read Flaco's post. OEM can only be sold by Microsoft certified system builders, this will probably not include ebuyer. Even if they sell it with a piece of hardware, they cannot legally do so under Microsoft's rules.

Your only legal option, if not bought from a certified dealer (and with a qualifying and installed item of hardware) is to buy full retail. The price quoted by PC World is about right.

I'm sorry if I appear to have a thing about this, but I have. Misuse of OEM has gone on far too long

  Fellsider 10:25 02 Mar 05

Give Novatech a ring or e-mail, they'll tell you exactly what you'll get. I've e-mailed with enquiries and get quick replies.

  961 10:27 02 Mar 05

It's probably right to add that you can buy a new Dell computer with Windows xp installed starting at around £250. On that basis you will see how much a retail buyer actually pays

To put it another way, the money for the retail version takes you half way to a new computer!

If you seek to buy much below the prices I quoted above then proceed very carefully

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