Saturday, June 11, 2016

Clean install of windows 10 on VMWare Mac - getting a license ($130)

I needed to use Microsoft Access.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re wrong. Yes, Access is a horrible old patchwork beast, but for some kind of data manipulation it’s still unequaled. It’s particularly good at mixing local data store with ODBC stores. It helps that I know where the bugs are buried — though Access 365 on Windows 10 is particularly buggy.

So about two weeks ago I fired up my old copy of VMWare Fusion 7, downloaded Windows Pro 64bit OEM and used my multi-platform multi-machine Office 365 license to install Microsoft Access. It was all relatively painless. I did find Fusion 7 isn’t happy with Yosemite virtual desktop, so I only use full screen Win 10 in just one display. That works until I do my El Capitan/Fusion 8 update.

The entire package takes up about 23GB on an external SSD. 

I did wonder how I was going to pay for Win 10. It was working without complaint. I figured I’d get some kind of notice. About two weeks after installation it began showing a watermark on the screen requesting activation and personalization features were turned off. That was a polite reminder.

I went hunting for a Win 7 or 8 license  to get the free upgrade — but no-one I knew had one to spare. My own Windows licenses was for XP, that didn’t help. I couldn’t find any good educational deals either. Amazon had lots of Win 7/8/10 licenses at suspiciously low prices, all of which seemed a mixture of counterfeit and genuine product. (Amazon — the crooked pawn shop of the Net.)

In the end I remembered PC Connection and found that while MSFT charges $200 for a Win 10 Pro 64bit license PC Connection had an OEM version for about $145. Once I knew the right price range I found an OEM version on Amazon that shipped from Amazon for about $135. I can’t link to it because Amazon’s fraud-friendly habit of consolidating product listings that ship from multiple sources mixed in their source with $105 versions that seem to include counterfeits.

It came in a legitimate looking Microsoft white envelope holding some kind of disk thing envelope (what’s a DVD?) with a sticker and license number on the front of the inner envelope. The license number was all I needed, it worked.

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