Windows 10 License Restrictions On The Users

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.

Ade Malsasa Akbar <teknoloid@gmail.com>

I am not a lawyer, and here I act only as a regular computer user that just mentioning texts from Microsoft Windows 10 license. This article lists the restrictions on the users from Windows 10 license (retail or oem). In other words, this article collects what you are forbidden to do towards Windows according to Windows 10 license. I try to show the restrictions as many as possible here but not complete of course, because I avoid the things I don’t know here. I accept comments here but please stand for the users freedom, not merely absolute monopoly for the sake of the vendor.

Why This Article Is Written

I write this article because it is difficult to find article that explains Windows license’s restrictions explicitly. I have an assumption that free software movement is easier to do towards Windows users (so that they migrate to GNU/Linux) if they Windows users read the Windows license. They will automatically reject Windows by themselves without any intervention. So free software activists do not waste their time for re-reading and re-speaking Windows license. I build my assumption based upon the fact that any of Windows licenses is nonfree so it harms the users individually and socially. Soon as you finished reading this article, you will eventually reach the conclusion either Windows 10 license is impossible, or it is too difficult to obey. I am curious to prove my assumption by writing this article.

The Windows 10 License Text

These 2 links are original license from the Retail and the OEM versions of Windows 10:

Retail:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Useterms/Retail/Windows/10/UseTerms_Retail_Windows_10_English.htm

OEM:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Useterms/OEM/Windows/10/UseTerms_OEM_Windows_10_English.htm

1. Windows 10 Rejects The Users

There is a rejection against the users from Windows 10 license. This rejection is conditional, and the condition is you must comply to all the restrictions in this license, so this rejection rejects all the users that disagree with Windows license. Look at the third paragraph which starts with “By accepting this agreement“:

… you may not use the software or its features

2. Windows 10 Forbids Access To Source Code

The license forbids the right to access Windows 10 source code from all users. And Microsoft also forbids the right to reveal Windows 10 source code from its binary version. See this:

… The manufacturer or installer and Microsoft reserve all rights (such as rights under intellectual property laws) not expressly granted in this agreement …

And look at this:

(vi)    reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the software, or attempt to do so, ...”

3. Windows 10 Forbids All Usages

There are the great restrictions in Windows 10 license aimed towards all users. It is located at section 2. c.

“Restrictions. The manufacturer or installer and Microsoft reserve all rights (such as rights under intellectual property laws) not expressly granted in this agreement. For example, this license does not give you any right to, and you may not:

(i)      use or virtualize features of the software separately;

(ii)     publish, copy (other than the permitted backup copy), rent, lease, or lend the software;

(iii)    transfer the software (except as permitted by this agreement);

(iv)    work around any technical restrictions or limitations in the software;

(v)     use the software as server software, for commercial hosting, make the software available for simultaneous use by multiple users over a network, install the software on a server and allow users to access it remotely, or install the software on a device for use only by remote users;

(vi)    reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the software, or attempt to do so, except and only to the extent that the foregoing restriction is permitted by applicable law or by licensing terms governing the use of open-source components that may be included with the software; and

(vii)   when using Internet-based features you may not use those features in any way that could interfere with anyone else’s use of them, or to try to gain access to or use any service, data, account, or network, in an unauthorized manner.”

4. Windows 10 Forbids Installations

Windows forbids the users for installing 1 (one) authorized copy of Windows 10 in 2 (two) or more computers. Installing a DVD of Windows 10 in 10 computers in lab is forbidden.

Look at this:

(i)      use or virtualize features of the software separately;

And look at this:

…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

5. Windows 10 Forbids Copying

Windows forbids the users for making copies of their own purchased Windows DVD for themselves and for their friends/neighbors/society. Look at this:

(ii)     publish, copy (other than the permitted backup copy), rent, lease, or lend the software;

6. Windows 10 Forbids Backups

There is a special restriction aimed to forbid making backups in section 2. e.

Backup copy. You may make a single copy of the software for backup purposes, and may also use that backup copy to transfer the software if it was acquired as stand-alone software, as described in Section 4 below.

7. Windows 10 Forbids Lending

Windows forbids the users for lending Windows DVD to their friends/neighbors/society. Look at this:

(ii)     publish, copy (other than the permitted backup copy), rent, lease, or lend the software;

8. Windows 10 Forbids Selling Copies

Windows forbids the users (that have installed Windows 10) from selling, renting, and leasing their own purchased Windows DVD to their friends/neighbors/society. Windows forbids the users for selling, renting, and leasing their DVD copies of their own purchased Windows DVD. Windows forbids the users for selling, renting, and leasing their DVD copies of their modified (reverse engineered, “cracked”) of their own purchased Windows DVD. Look at this:

(ii)     publish, copy (other than the permitted backup copy), rent, lease, or lend the software;

And look at this:

(iii)    transfer the software (except as permitted by this agreement);

And look at this:

4.      Transfer. […]

Stand-alone 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.

And look at this:

(ii)     Evaluation. For evaluation (or test or demonstration) use, you may not sell the software, …

And look at this:

(iii)    NFR. You may not sell software marked as “NFR” or “Not for Resale”.

9. Windows 10 Forbids Modifications

Windows forbids the users to modify the runnable version of Windows 10. Look at this:

(iv)    work around any technical restrictions or limitations in the software;

And look at this:

(vi)    reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the software, or attempt to do so, …

And look at this:

5.      Authorized Software and Activation. […] You may not bypass or circumvent activation …

10. Windows 10 Forbids Distributing Modifications

The license forbids you and all users to modify Windows binary code. And it forbids you from making copies. And it forbids anyone for receiving a transfer without obeying the license. So distributing modifications of Windows (“cracked” Windows, or just the “crack” program for Windows, or Windows “remastering”) is also forbidden. Look at this:

(iv)    work around any technical restrictions or limitations in the software;

And look at this:

(vi)    reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the software, or attempt to do so, …

And look at this:

(ii)     publish, copy (other than the permitted backup copy), rent, lease, or lend the software;

And look at this:

… so long as you comply with all the terms of this agreement

And look at this:

b.      Stand-alone software. […] 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 …

11. Windows 10 Forbids Remote Desktops

Windows forbids you for sharing your own desktop to 2 or more another users via remote desktop. Look at this:

(vi)    Remote assistance. You may use remote assistance technologies to share an active session without obtaining any additional licenses for the software. Remote assistance allows one user to connect directly to another user’s computer, usually to correct problems.

12. Windows 10 Forbids Virtualizations

Windows 10 forbids you to install 1 Windows in 2 or more virtual machines. See 2. d. (iv).

(iv)    Use in a virtualized environment. This license allows you to install only one instance of the software for use on one device, whether that device is physical or virtual

13. Windows 10 Forbids Post-trial Usages

Windows 10 forbids any use after trial period. Look at this:

(ii)     Evaluation. For evaluation (or test or demonstration) use, you may not sell the software, use it in a live operating environment, or use it after the evaluation period. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Agreement, evaluation software is provided “AS IS”.

Summary

To sum up those restrictions, we can use the 4 criteria known as free software definition, introduced by The GNU Project. Those 4 criteria represents 4 acts of the user towards software, simplified in 4 words RUN, STUDY, MODIFY, and SHARE. So the Windows 10 restrictions mentioned in this article are like this:

  • User’s right to RUN: restricted, not for any purpose.
  • User’s right to STUDY: forbidden, completely.
  • User’s right to MODIFY: forbidden, completely.
  • User’s right to SHARE: restricted, not for any purpose.

Article License

This article “Windows 10 License Restrictions On The Users” by Ade Malsasa Akbar is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/.

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