I'm considering buying a Windows 10 Home 64-bit (not OEM) license. Since Microsoft claims there will be no Windows 11 and at the same time this license is not tied to a specific machine, does that mean I'll be able to not pay for Windows ever again and still use it for the next 10, 20, 40 years?

I read a couple of articles about how MS will still earn on Win10 as computer producers will need to pay to MS to sell them with Windows 10 on board. But if I already have a BOX license that is not tied to a specific machine, wouldn't I be able to buy laptops/PCs without an operating system and always install the Windows 10 I bought?

This doesn't seem like a sustainable strategy for a company so I wonder where's the catch?

Link to the Microsoft Store page: https://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/Windows-10-Home/productID.319937100

  • As far as I know, there is no such thing officially called "Windows 10 BOX license". You can buy a box with the OS installation media from MS e.g.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/Windows-10-Home/…, or if you buy a system you get an OEM licenses version. You are asking about the not OEM license, right? – user6726 Sep 4 '16 at 19:17
  • @user6726 Yes, I'm asking about the not OEM one, the one you linked to. I edited the question, is that clear now? – mgol Sep 4 '16 at 19:40
  • You misunderstand by Windows 10 being the last. It is the last that will be sold with a perpetual license. Future versions will be sold with a subscription licence. Hardware and software will continue to ask more of the OS and eventually your Windows 10 will be as useful as Windows 98 is now. – Dale M Sep 4 '16 at 21:14
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    @DaleM any chance you have a link to something about that, it's the first I've heard and I can't find a reference to it? – Jim W says reinstate Monica Apr 19 '18 at 4:22

I have no opinion of sustainability, but one can look at the terms and see what you're getting. The license is here, theoretically, but keep the piece of paper in your box, if you have a piece of paper, just in case the online version disappears / changes. Part 2(a) says:

The software is licensed, not sold. Under this agreement, we grant you the right to install and run one instance of the software on your device (the licensed device), for use by one person at a time, so long as you comply with all the terms of this agreement.

The expression "on your device (the licensed device)" could easily make one think that it is tied to a specific machine, but that is only true in the sense that it is for a single machine (at a time). Regarding changing machines, part 4(b) would be relevant (this assumes you didn't acquire the software in Germany, where there is special law):

If you acquired the software as stand-alone software (and also if you upgraded from software you acquired as stand-alone software), you may transfer the software to another device that belongs to you. You may also transfer the software to a device owned by someone else if (i) you are the first licensed user of the software and (ii) the new user agrees to the terms of this agreement. You may use the backup copy we allow you to make or the media that the software came on to transfer the software. Every time you transfer the software to a new device, you must remove the software from the prior device. You may not transfer the software to share licenses between devices.

So you can continuously transfer from machine to machine, as long as you uninstall the OS from machines that you are done with -- you cannot multiply copies by serially upgrading hardware. If you only need 1 machine, you're set for life (your life, or the person why acquires it from you, but no further than that). Also please note that the claim that Windows 10 is the last version is not a binding license term, so legally speaking, W10 could go the way of XP.


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