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Prices on Windows XP Professional Why the Range?

  1. Aug 3, 2009 #1
    I am going to invest in a copy of Win XP pro to install on my MAC. A quick search on Google for "windows xp professional" yields prices that vary from as low as $89 like http://www.softwarestockpile.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MS-10293&click=30".

    What gives? Is there a difference? I don't want to get ripped off either way.

    Any advice is appreciated :smile:
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 3, 2009 #2
    There are three versions (usually from cheapest to most expensive).

    OEM: OEM is for system builders. An OEM license is only good for one specific computer. Once you use it, it cannot be transferred to any other computer. This is the kind of license that comes with most new computers, and is also good for someone building their own system.

    Upgrade: Upgrade versions require that you upgrade from a previous, qualifying operating system. They can be transferred from one computer to another, provided that they are only installed on one computer at any given time.

    Full: Can be installed on any computer, regardless of whether you have a previous copy of windows. Can be transferred to any other computer, provided it is installed on only one computer at a time.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  4. Aug 4, 2009 #3


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    There's also MSDN (Microsoft Developers Network), or better yet, MSDN-AA (Academic Alliance). Free if you're a QUALIFIED student (are in EE / CS / something that could plausibly make you a software developer--check with your IT department), not so free if you're not. You can also get Academic pricing (check with your school's bookstore) which should be cheaper than OEM (and doesn't tie you down, though there are occasionally ways around that).
  5. Aug 4, 2009 #4
    If one of your departments subscribes, they typically will offer semester-long access to anyone taking a course in that department.

    Also, Microsoft offers its Dream Spark to any qualified student, but the only OS's that you can download are Windows Server 2003 and 2008.
  6. Aug 4, 2009 #5


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    Really? I was able to get a .iso image, and (as far as I konw) non-expiring serial number for XP-PRO (it was under the 'legacy' heading), and could've gotten most flavours of Vista. The fine print mentioned that they'd extend me the 'courtesy' of continuing to use the software even after I was no longer a student (irrespective of what courses I was taking, which is none, as I'm completed my coursework).

    Then again, I'm in Canada, and perhaps there's an element of what your department / university is able to negotiate.
  7. Aug 4, 2009 #6
    You should be aware that Windows XP apparently has problems on a mac (there are websites devoted to just getting it to boot, and they mention there are still problems once it has booted). If you want an alternate OS on your mac, Linux will probably work better. I put Linux on my macbook and got it working fine, by following the instructions here.
  8. Aug 4, 2009 #7
    It goes by what the university purchases. Each department has to buy a license/subscription for students taking their classes. The computer science department is the only one that pays for the subscription, which makes sense, since more departments = more students = more money, and computer science students are the ones most likely to use Visual Studio or other programming software it provides.

    Now, the chemistry or physics department could add themselves to the agreement, but they probably believe that they have better things to spend their money on, besides, if you want access, all you have to do is take a CS class.
  9. Aug 4, 2009 #8


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    Eh? Which problems are these? I've had no problems getting my Macbook Pro (second generation) running various flavours of Windows XP (Home OEM and Pro), on Bootcamp or with VMWare Fusion. It's about as difficult as a regular clean-install of Windows (though once you do have it installed, you should boot into Windows, pop in your OS X DVD and have it install Windows-specific drivers for all your bits and pieces--from multi-touch to your IR remote, and the function keys)

    Word of advice, though. If you're not going to be playing games or doing anything where you need continued top-notch Windows performance, I highly recommend you get VMWare Fusion (or Parallels, but I thought fusion was much more responsive). There's another virtualizer released by Sun (and it's free), but VirtualBox is in (severe) beta, last I heard (about a few months ago). These will allow you to run Windows (or various Linuxes in Fusion) concurrent with Mac OSX.

    There's usually a mode where you can use your OS installed on the Bootcamp partition(s), but there's no way (that I know of) to suspend your guest OS, or for your computer to (gracefully) go to sleep with this running. If you forgo Bootcamp and install the guest OS onto a virtual disk, you're able to do all of the above, and you can resume in seconds instead of having to wait for the guest OS to boot up (it's as close to seamless as I've seen) If you *do* need that performance, the Bootcamp + Virtualization option is a decent compromise for when you need to run say, Word or light MATLAB without having to reboot, and only reboot when you need full performance out of Windows or whatever.

    Using Windows via Boot Camp:

    An article on Virtualization, comparing Fusion and Parallels:
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