I have to change my current single-core Pentium computer to a new Dell XPS8300.

Unfortunately, I'm deadly allergic to Microsoft and someone where I work says I can return the Microsoft Windows that comes with it as long I don't boot nor open/burn the copy.

I would like to know if it's true, since Dell has no option to have Ubuntu:

No configurations are valid for the chosen filters

I tried this link. Will it be easier to sell the copy or return it to Microsoft?

  • 4
    I suspect the easiest thing is to call up your local dell branch and ask them. The smart thing would be to build your own system, in which case OS won't be an issue, and you can tailor linux friendly parts and such
    – Journeyman Geek
    Feb 17, 2012 at 14:22
  • 1
    @JourneymanGeek I called and talked with their online assistant, and both said NO it comes with MS Windows, no other option. Build can be a good solution but I have no idea what do to.
    – rcs20
    Feb 17, 2012 at 14:39
  • 4
    Welcome to the world of Microsoft monpoly
    – user
    Feb 21, 2012 at 20:26

4 Answers 4


I believe TECHNICALLY per the terms of the Windows OEM EULA, you're supposed to be able to contact Dell and say 'I don't want this OEM license' and get a refund for the difference. PRACTICALLY, doing that is going to be almost impossible. I've heard of it happening but it takes months of phone calls, etc, it really is an enormous pain. Not only does it require the involvement of divisions that you can't call directly, but they really don't want to fuss with it.

It is a Dell OEM copy, so Microsoft has no interest in it. I would also point out that it's already worked into the price of the machine, and you won't be saving a significant amount of money this way.

You cannot resell an OEM license like this; not only is it against the EULA, but it won't work anyway. The license key on the sticker is really just for show and will not work with an off-the-shelf copy of Windows - when you install with the Dell custom image you should never actually be asked to enter it, and if you enter it on a regular copy of Windows it will not accept it as valid. (Note that this isn't true for system builder OEM packs, just ones from giant bulk volume vendors like Dell).

EDIT: Clarification from the comments: when I say these keys won't be valid, I mean for internet activation. If you want to call you can possibly get the authentication string.

  • 8
    The other thing that probably should be noted is that there's very little actual cost to the customer from most baseline OS level OEM installs. The licensing fee to MS is largely subsidized by other companies paying to install their bloatware in the OS image or to splatter shortcuts on the desktop. Feb 17, 2012 at 19:48
  • 1
    +1 for bloatware. Don't even get me started on expired 'trial' copies of Norton and McAfee on my older user's machines...
    – goblinbox
    Feb 17, 2012 at 19:58
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    Dell isn't nearly as bad as some, but yeah, I can agree with that sentiment.
    – Shinrai
    Feb 17, 2012 at 20:06
  • @Shinrai I have successfully used the serial number on the bottom of my laptop to register Windows 7 using non-OEM installation media (it was a custom RT7Lite'd ISO). You may have to call Microsoft and activate manually (as opposed to the internet), however, but all they ask is for you to provide them with details about the laptop it came from (e.g. manufacturer & model number). That being said, everything else you said is more than valid (including the fact that you're not allowed to use the serial number on anything else but the machine it came with). Mar 2, 2012 at 13:31
  • @Breakthrough - Calling them sometimes does work, in fact, if you can talk them into it. (They can generate you authentication codes even if your key doesn't jive, actually - if you tell them you're doing an XP downgrade they don't even bother asking you for your Windows 7 key to authorize XP anymore!) I've never seen an OEM key which will successfully autoactivate, though, which is really what I meant.
    – Shinrai
    Mar 2, 2012 at 16:14

You are best to contact Dell as they may offere a Linux option not listed on a site. An OEM license is a Dell product and you would need to deal with Dell. Terms may be differenet depending on country of sale. Normally the COA is affixed to the system so removing to return may not be psossible. Selling an OEM copy to a third party may violate the license agreement as well

The link you provide simply goes to a Dell sales site, possibly one you used to build a config and it has expired.


I think there are many others who seek the same thing, but unfortunately it seems to be not easy. The situation is worse once UEFI gets more widespread. You should probably contact Dell


(I Am Not A Lawyer.)

OEM licences should not be resold. According to Microsoft's EULA (pulled out of the Win7 Home Premium OEM, section 2):

One Copy per Computer. The software license is permanently assigned to the computer with which the software is distributed. That computer is the “licensed computer.”

Licensed Computer. You may use the software on up to two processors on the licensed computer at one time. Unless otherwise provided in these license terms, you may not use the software on any other computer.

Even if you do resell it, it should only work on a Dell computer. Any support should be provided by Dell, not Microsoft, including returns. It would be best, if you really don't want it, to contact Dell before purchase and maybe negotiate a lowered price for the PC to come without an OS.

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