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What's up with sony PCs?

Ok this is less of a programming topic and more of a general computer question, but anyway...
What's the deal with Sony PCs?  The boot screen doesn't offer any options to enter the BIOS, nor do you get the text-based "starting windows..." screen where you can enter safe mode.  To top it off, they don't give you a bona fide Windows OS CD with it.  I assume the OS is included in the set of System Recovery CDs, but the option those give you is to format the C drive.  So the question is twofold: (1) How do you get to the BIOS and/or safe mode? and (2) Aren't they supposed to give you a Windows CD when they sell you a new PC with Windows pre-installed?

I'm not really looking for tech support, I just find this strange- I'm probably just going to bring an WinXP disk home from work and upgrade it tonight.

Ken
Monday, August 04, 2003

On just about any computer that doesn't give you a "Press X to enter setup" prompt, hitting F1, F2, or F3 when the logo appears will do the trick.

On my Sony Vaio laptop, F1 during the "Vaio" logo will bring up the BIOS settings, and gives me the option to have the computer display the rest of the startup information.


Monday, August 04, 2003

The 'System Recovery' CD(s) are your Windows CDs. This is the way Microsoft is licensing Windows for OEM's now - you don't get a 'real' Windows CD that'd install the OS, you get a CD that'll (basically) reimage the hard drive to look like a factory install.

This keeps the cost lower for the OEMs (since MS charges less), and MS insures that you can't take the OS CD from one machine and install it on ther rest of your machines.

Most OEM CD's are also 'locked' so that they'll only work with a particular manufacturer's machines (sometimes even to a specific model).

RocketJeff
Monday, August 04, 2003

Pretty much no manufacturer gives you real windows disks anymore. Haven't for years. You'll find a sticker on the side of the system that contains your product ID's. All of the drivers, extra windows bits, etc are somewhere on your HD. This is a win for the manufacturer and MS in two ways:

The manufacturer doesn't have to dink around with people re-installing the OS and picking the wrong options, screwing up the drivers, etc. If they are re-installing for some reason, then they will be getting exactly what they got originally, saving tech support a lot of time and effort.

MS doesn't have to deal with folks taking their windows CDs and installing them on another machine, nor do they have to deal with as much of a 'black' market in OEM copies of Windows. They also don't have to explain as much about why you can't take your OEM copy of windows to your next machine - since it's a CD custom to the box, obviously it won't work on another box. Simpler for the end user to deal with than 'well, we included this cheap because you agreed not to take it to another computer'.

This is a lose for the consumer because if you buy with any bundled applications, they ALSO tend to be on that original CD. So if you  end up for some odd reason needing to re-install just one app, you're toast. It's also usually impossible to JUST re-install windows. Usually the recovery system involves total wipe of the HD and replacement with the standard image.

As in everything, there's a plus and a minus. For the uninformed end user this probably works out as a plus. For the more technical user who could make good use of the Windows CDs, this is probably a lose.

Michael Kohne
Monday, August 04, 2003

Wow- thanks for the replies.  I guess it's been a while since I bought a new computer.  So if I understand correctly, the license Windows that comes pre-installed on a new PC does not allow one to legally install it on another PC?  That is indeed a bummer.

Ken
Monday, August 04, 2003

I don't think it was ever *legal* to install Windows  on more than one machine from a single CD  - OEM or shrinkwrap. (Excluding of course site licenses etc.)

Now its also not *possible*.

sgf
Monday, August 04, 2003

"the license Windows that comes pre-installed on a new PC does not allow one to legally install it on another PC? "

Uh, that has *always* been the case. If you own four PC's, you are supposed to buy four copies of Windows. If you buy one copy and install it on all four, those other three copies are pirated and contribute to the "billions" that MS says it loses every year to piracy.

The system restore CD is just enforcement of an existing license. It's also why I have my own copies of the OS CD's. [grin]

Philo

Philo
Monday, August 04, 2003

Damn- I guess I should read the license agreement.  Nah, too much work.  So I'm like a hard-core lawbreaker I guess.  Hmm, feels cool.

Ken
Monday, August 04, 2003

But, Philo, I think there was a time where it was at least legal to buy a PC with Windows, then upgrade to another PC that came without any pre-installed OS, throw the old PC away and install the windows license from the old one onto the new one.
This is now also impossible, I think.

dat
Monday, August 04, 2003

I'm pretty sure that there was a time when the OS that came with a PC didn't come with a special OEM license, but it's been that way for a long time. Even when OEM CDs were usually 'real' Windows CDs, you were still violating your license to use them on another box.

Dave Rothgery
Monday, August 04, 2003

The way that they can make it easiest on you is if they provide you with the rebuild disks but give you the advanced option of installing individual pieces of the drivers.  The two Sony's that I've got are nice like that, but YMMV because they are a few years old now.

The "best" way to rebuild a system is to use a non-OEM disk and then install just what you want out of the rebuild disks, assuming of course that the OEM gives you quality rebuild disks.  At least, that's what has worked for me.  Sometimes, there's a 2-step rebuild process, or at least one that you can go to the advanced options of after OS install but before application install, but they generally expect to be able to format the drive.

Just remember, it's all to enhance your user experience with their hardware.  It's good for you!  Make sure you sign up for all of the special offers while you are at it!

Flamebait Sr.
Monday, August 04, 2003

Dumb question, I know, but what does OEM mean?

Know nuttin'
Monday, August 04, 2003

OEM = Origional Equipment Manufacturer.

http://wombat.doc.ic.ac.uk/foldoc/foldoc.cgi?query=oem&action=Search

Flamebait Sr.
Monday, August 04, 2003

Just as a matter on interest, has anyone tried to get a PC from Dell WITHOUT windows? Or even returning the O/S CD unopened for a refund of the windows licence fee?

David Roper
Monday, August 04, 2003

Ken, I'll give you some more ways that Sony PCs disappoint: integrated video, non-Sony DVD burner and lame DVD authoring software. The keyboard and mouse are also lame. I bought an RX830. Next time I'll "roll my own"

max
Monday, August 04, 2003

Sony has its own ways with PCs and laptops ...
Check out this page since it has a lot of useful info on Sony hardware:

http://myplc.com/sony/
http://pub173.ezboard.com/bunofficialsony

The also have all the drivers online, and the software can be installed one by one from recovery CDs if needed.

Providing recovery CDs for Windows XP is doubly retarded - since if you were to install that OS on a different machine it still would not work because of the product activation.

And when something goes wrong you'll have to wipe out the entire harddrive to reload the stuff from recovery CDs. Hardly an option for many ...

The crap consumers have to take from MS is exceeding all limits, you purchase something and you can't even use to recover your machine if something goes wrong ...

Mr Curiousity
Monday, August 04, 2003

To David Roper: I don't think it was a Dell, but it is a successful refund: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article.php?sid=7040&mode=thread&order=0

Roel Schroeven
Monday, August 04, 2003

If you want a standard Windows CD that can be installed on any machine, or a PC without Windows at all, don't buy from the big name brand vendors.  The big dogs are all Microsoft's bitches.  The local Mom and Pop shop and the smaller vendors on the web are much more likely to give you what you want.

IANAL, but until they take me to court over it, I'm not paying any attention to EULAs that attempt to take away rights that I would have under copyright law.  I will install any software I bought on any PC I want as long as it is not on more than one PC at a time. I am allowed to do that under copyright law, and I didn't sign any contract giving up my right to do so.

NoName
Monday, August 04, 2003

"IANAL, but until they take me to court over it, I'm not paying any attention to EULAs that attempt to take away rights that I would have under copyright law."

No software company in their right mind will take anybody to court over EULAs. Legal clarification of all this non-sense is not in the interest of the bullying software vendors.

Software companies know that and make people actually sign agreements in cases where a lot of money is involved. Then it is an enforcable contract. Click through EULAs are cr@p, the time will come when somebody stand up to this non-sense. 

Mr Curiousity
Monday, August 04, 2003

Most of this is laptops. Wth desktops you get more choice.

It's illegal bullying, but so far MS has got away with it. In Germany there was a court decision saying you could do what you liked with your OEM license.

First thing I do when I get a new machine is partition it so the reinstall only effects the C drive and not the data. Then make a Ghost/Acronis/Drive Image copy of the full thing.

There is a tendency with big name manufacturers to tie you in. Compaq is so bad I would never buy a desktop from them, but Dell does equally bad tricks, such as non-standard casing.

IBM is actually pretty good in this respect despite its reputation.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, August 17, 2003

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