Windows without disc

I’m thinking about buying a laptop which has a Windows 2000 liscence but no install disc included. Without starting a win/linux argument, is this a good idea, or should I get one with a disc? They assure me if anything goes wrong I can bring it back and they’ll reinstall the system, but they’re going to charge me for it, I’m sure.

is win2k already installed on the system? and do you have a means for getting an install disc?

if it already installed, maybe. but i would sure hate to be without an OS install disc in the case something went horribly wrong. of course, as long as you have a valid license for the machine, you could always find a pirate win2k disc and just use your valid license to install.

or just tell them to knock 150 bucks off the price, and you’ll buy your own new copy and license of win2k.

This laptop is perhaps an ex-corporate that has been refurbished. Hence the lack of an individual install disk. A large company can buy a company wide license and then do a network install of a number of machines.

The other possibility is that the seller has bought licences without disks(which can be bought seperately from suppliers) and then popped the sticker on the machine.

With the latter it is well worth checking that the license is for the correct region. I know that there were issues up here (scotland) with Customs and Excise checking these type of licenses and finding that some were licenses for eastern europe and were not for use in the United Kingdom. Be aware also that there have been otherwise reputable suppliers who have been found to have been in receipt of incorrect licenses for their region.

There is very little gamble to be taken provided you are given a receipt and can get some kind of assurance that in the event of a dispute the seller has a paper trail leading back to their supplier. In this way you can ensure that should you receive a license which is not designated for your region you can still receive a replacement.

It’s highly unlikely that you can get that kind of discount on the system as the trade price for a win2k license would be around £10-£15 with a retail of about £40.


Get one with a disc. My uncle’s PC came with a restore disc, which is adequate but I’d feel safer with an install disc. What I do is have a clone of my internal drive on an external HD so if something does go horribly wrong (which it did as my internal HD crashed), I just clone it back.

But I also have an install disc because they come with all Macs and I will say that having that security is well worth it. So I repeat, get one with a disc. One major advantage for me is that I can install the system on more than one machine so if a friend or family member needs it, it’s available.

Its always best to get the disk.

But I heard Windows 2000 was very unreliable and insecure.

I would ask for the laptop without win2k, if you ask with a nice enough smile you could get maybe £80 off.

Then go get a more up to date reliable O/S.

Unless you have the printed cirtificate in what ever form its made, Win98 is a green, square printed cert. but XP i think it’s just a hologram or somin - then even if you have the CD it could be technically illegal.

New PC/laptops all get packed with a cert, they almost always come with a CD that says “for distrabution of new PCs only” and there sould be somthing along with that, unless the CD is the authentic identification, i.e. cert. (i think the CD has the hologram stuck to it or somin)… Otherwise it is illegal (mainly for the seller so long as your act as the innocent victim)

Basically, they might full well have a liecene for the copy of windows, but they might not have a licence for all 800 PCs they’ve decided to install it on to make themself an extra £100 per sale.

If you have the “licence”/buying it with the laptop, that means you own the CD, and since any unit that is sold with windows has the “for distrabution of new PCs only” CDs, then technically speaking, you own the CD not them… while they can keep the CD they are not llowed to sell it to you installed on the computer if they do… and they cant re-sesll the CD singally.

Basically, the “licence” their talking about is probably a keycode to install it, which means nothing.

The license key is the holographic sticker you are thinking off lukus. That alone is what qualifies ownership / lease of the OS as I remember.

Having a CD legally means nothing but without it, the license is pretty hopeless.

Kit89, Win2K is neither unreliable or insecure when compared with XP or older version likes 98. Win2k is a sturdy build and more functional than most people give it credit for. Remember that the Xbox was shipped with a stripped down version of Win2k as they needed something reliable due to the lack of patching opportunities they would have. XP just didn’t cut it.

Just for reference there’s a list of licensing types for windows software available here.


so was the dreamcast

[windows xp boots faster than 2k though]

good luck getting a copy of the disc…

If it’s a really good laptop and you’re just not willing to pass, get Linux. Use Wine or ($$$) Microsofts Virtual PC.

Drivers are iffy though.

All hypothetical unless you lose the drive, of course.

laptops usually come with recovery disks. While this is not as nice as a real instal disk, if all you want to use it for is recover in case of total system failure, it is usually good enough.


i can see why you are wary about getting one without install disks.

i bought my computer from compaq, and it had no disks with it, just some program to make disks with. i never bothered to get around to it… i just decided to install linux on my computer. i had a partition that said PERSARIO_RP. it was 5 gigs. i said, gee i havent used that in the years ive had my computer, ill format it and install linux on it.
so last week i noticed windows was running quite slow. i figured ill do a reinstall, since its been awhile. well, i dont have the disks. so i go to my disk maker, and it says “cant find partition”. then it hit me.

i deleted everything i needed to reinstall windows.

yeah i have done similar… like deleting all my documents (should have been on the c drive in the first place, but microsoft decided it would be a nice idea to change my settings when it did a software update :stuck_out_tongue:


dell does the same thing [as does emachines], except you might get an xp install disc from dell

but it requires that partition to function

… in a corporate environment the company has its own license of windows that it probably uses on all the machines. It is standard practice where I work when getting a new laptop to format and install our copy of windows [at the very least we install our copy of office]. I would highly doubt any corporation you bought a computer from would have kept the install or any bundled discs available.

If there is nothing that proves you own a win2k licence, then you don’t have one.

The only thing that proves it (for personal users) is one of those stickers you find on the leaflets or under the laptop. With those, I think it’s legal to copy the disc from somewhere else and use your key (which is already stated above).

AFAIK, the only thing that is worth money is your licence key. So they should provide one when they say it’s included in the price.

These are refurbished laptops, probably bought off some dying dot-com or something.

Just a quick question: if I have the license number, and I borrow a disc, I can reinstall it? Is the license number easy to find, or will I have to fight the store for it?

The licence number usually comes the manual.

I’m not all to fond of windows licencing. If I’m right (I could be wrong I’m sure soemone will correct me.) but when you pay your £100 of hard earned money on the windows O/S you dont actually own it you merely have the right to use it for one machine and nothing else.

Yes Kit, depending on the type of license I think. But you “lease” the software from microsoft. In the case of OEM software the license is non-transferable I believe.

Plantperson, if you have the license sticker with the serial on it you can simply “borrow” a disk and install it with your serial number.