Microsoft sends recycler to jail for reinstalling obsolete, licensed copies of Windows on refurbished PCs

Originally published at:


Microsoft is the heart of a increasingly toxic ecosystem of technology.






The WP updated the story. The copies of Windows he installed on the refurbished PCs were not licensed. You might want to update your headline. I’d suggest:

Microsoft sends recycler to jail for installing obsolete, unlicensed copies of Windows on refurbished PCs


OK, that was my question. The quote says they were counterfeit copies, not legit.

I still don’t understand.

How is the recycler activating windows on these machines without getting a license?

also @Mister44

Sorry, no. I read the article. Cory as usual gets the details badly garbled.

Lundgren did not install windows on PCs, he manufactured and was going to sell (but never actually sold any because criminal charges happened first) windows restore disks.

Before he came along, you could download an ISO from Microsoft’s website, burn it, and have a restore disk that you could use with the key on the sticker attached to your PC. His business model was to simplify the process for non-technical people who don’t know what an ISO is. He never intended to hand out licence keys.

Microsoft lied in court and banboozled the judge into thinking that a keyless disk (value zero dollars for the data plus a few cents for the disk) is the same thing as a disk with a key (which M$ charges OEMs $25 apiece for).

Microsoft ought to be going to jail for perjury, not this guy.


The WP article has this line with strikethrough/crossed out:

“and the license transfers with the computer for its full life span.”

Then later in the article is this sentence:
“The license for the operating system does not transfer, as Lundgren claimed, and refurbishers are required to obtain new licenses which Microsoft offers at a discounted price of approximately $25, a Microsoft spokesman said.”

So the idea that they aren’t licensed copies is Microsoft’s case and still shows them to be turd whackers.


Linux users would like to remind everyone that it’s ready to go, y’know, whenever.

YMMV, of course. You might have to - shockingly - learn something new.

If anyone has recommendations for new-user distributions, please pipe up. I’ve been using Debian for ~18 years so I have zero basis for advising people.


Microsoft is a greedy monopolist that can never resist the opportunity for a sleazy cash grab. A corporation buys PCs from dell, the cost of a windows license is baked into the price. Then the corporation pays for a site license from M$. Then a few years later the PC gets sold to a refubrisher, and the refurbisher is supposed to pay for yet another license… despite the fact that the original license printed on the sticker was never activated and is still perfectly valid. A nice scam, reselling the same thing three times over the life of the PC.

If Lundgren was planning on installing windows onto his refurb PCs, then by the terms of the soul contract license “agreement,” he should have paid M$ for those restore disks. Technically, he’s guilty.

On the other hand, if all he planned to do was sell the disks separately from the refurb PCs to anyone who wanted an installable windows disk, with the understanding that having a valid key was the buyer’s responsibility, then he was doing nothing wrong and the only reason he’s going to jail is because of the computer illiteracy of the judges who heard the case and reviewed the appeal.


Tried that with Mac OS. Discovered that dozens of tools I rely on did not exist, or existed only in severely inferior versions. Call me when the software ecosystem on Linux (or Mac) acquires the breadth, depth, and polish of the win32 ecosystem.


These were for Dell computers I believe, with the original Windows license key on a label affixed to the PC.


I don’t demand perfection, but Linux is good enough. Raise your expectations, optimize for different variables. Prioritize differently.

Maybe Linux doesn’t have the best IDE or mail client or whatever. But what it has is freedom, openness, and that has some value in itself. Tradeoffs are a thing.


You think you have a better understanding of the law and this case than the judge?

Do you think I should be able to make copies of Kanye CDs and distribute them for a fee along with a notice that they buyer should make sure they have a valid license?

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oh lol!
Well, I mean, just as long as that original key has not been used for a new OS upgrade, everything should be ok, right? Not a lot different from me buying a laptop from a friend, and later I buy an upgrade version of the OS?

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This is the definition of cruel and unusual. I can’t believe a jury gave a guilty verdict. They should be ashamed.

Use Linux. Use BSD. Use anything opensource.


I understand the verdict but I don’t understand the sentencing. Putting this guy in jail is a huge waste.


[snort] You really have drunk the Microsoft Kool-aid on this, haven’t you?

Windows install disks have no value. Microsoft lets you download them for free.
The value is embodied in the license key. Microsoft doesn’t bother checking whether or not you have a valid DVD bought from Microsoft. They do, however, check, most rigorously, via ever-evolving software activation schemes, whether or not you have a valid license key.

Microsoft damns their testimony in this case by their behaviour. They may perjure themselves in court and claim in court that the DVDs Lundgren made were counterfeit and had value, but in real life, the only thing that they act as if it had value is the license key.

As long as Lundgren was abiding by the provisions of Microsoft’s soul contract license agreement, he was doing nothing illegal despite Microsoft’s protestations to the contrary.

And even if he was not abiding by those provisions (which would have been very stupid of him), he was doing nothing wrong or immoral under any stretch of the imagination. He was providing disks that people could have made themselves by downloading them, for free, from MS’s website.