So I was talking to a group of System Builders while presenting at a road show in Florida. One of the System Builders in the audience made a comment that he was annoyed that every time someone came in with a machine that needed the OS reinstalled, he had to call to have it activated. That struck me as a little odd so I asked a couple qualifying questions and found out that these were typically machines made by Dell, HP, etc. I asked if he was using the reinstall disk that came with the computer and he indicated to me that no he was using a copy he had on hand and using the COA number on the side to activate it. I took the opportunity to inform him that what he was doing violated the System Builder license.
Well I am pretty sure you could see the explosion from space. Needless to say this was not only a revelation to many of the partners in the room but it was also cause for great consternation and anger. Well the fact is, it's a tough situation. A customer comes in and just wants their machine fixed and they are looking to you to do it. In order to be fully license compliant, however, you have to use the restore disk that came with the system. Now I understand that often times these computers don't come with restore disks but with images on the hard disk that can be used to create recovery media. The problem is that often times the consumer chooses not to be diligent in storing their installation CD's and various backups of their software. So you want to help out the customer but you also don't want to do something that violates the OEM license. I am wondering if anyone has any ideas on how we can make this situation better for both the System Builder and the consumer.