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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's what I have put together for my HTPC. I plan on using it to stream content, download media, emulators, etc.


Mostly everything:


I'm using the Silverstone aluminum case.


I don't have an ODD, and I'm not sure I'm going to get one. If I get a Blu Ray drive it's going to be for strictly ripping blu rays.


I'm also not sure if I should go Windows 7 or Linux. My girlfriend can get the Windows 7 upgrade disc for $30, so I might just do that. Between trying to install a full version of Windows 7 using an upgrade, and doing it from a flash drive instead of a cd, it might turn out too complex for me lol.


Any suggestions? Thanks
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jp8811
Here's what I have put together for my HTPC. I plan on using it to stream content, download media, emulators, etc.


Mostly everything:


I'm using the Silverstone aluminum case.


I don't have an ODD, and I'm not sure I'm going to get one. If I get a Blu Ray drive it's going to be for strictly ripping blu rays.


I'm also not sure if I should go Windows 7 or Linux. My girlfriend can get the Windows 7 upgrade disc for $30, so I might just do that. Between trying to install a full version of Windows 7 using an upgrade, and doing it from a flash drive instead of a cd, it might turn out too complex for me lol.


Any suggestions? Thanks
Honestly you could build a Intel Pentium G620 Sandy Bridge for about the same price. My understanding is that blu-rays wont play in Linux unless you re-encode into another format. I have a 785G Regor 250 system and it works fine, but if I were to build a system now I would get something newer.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jp8811
Here's what I have put together for my HTPC. I plan on using it to stream content, download media, emulators, etc.


Mostly everything:


I'm using the Silverstone aluminum case.


I don't have an ODD, and I'm not sure I'm going to get one. If I get a Blu Ray drive it's going to be for strictly ripping blu rays.


I'm also not sure if I should go Windows 7 or Linux. My girlfriend can get the Windows 7 upgrade disc for $30, so I might just do that. Between trying to install a full version of Windows 7 using an upgrade, and doing it from a flash drive instead of a cd, it might turn out too complex for me lol.


Any suggestions? Thanks
Going by the experience that I've had thus far with my desktop HTPC, I will definitely recommend:


1. It is better to have a system that is a little overpowered rather than a system that is a little underpowered. The Pentium G620 is a nice little CPU, but, I'd recommend going with the i3 2100 as HyperThreading will make a big difference performance-wise vs a non-HT CPU.


2. Windows 7 vs. Linux: Linux is a different animal when is comes to operating systems. Make sure that you know your way around Linux very well. I have found that doing basic tasks such as installing a program or getting a freaking temperature app/widget to work with Linux is a huge, and I mean ABSOLUTELY FREAKING ENORMOUS pain in the John Brown hindparts. My advice: "Windows until death do us part."


3. Want a quick and snappy OS? Get an SSD! If price is a concern know that your money is well-spent with a faster PC experience, and you can save money by going with a smaller SSD.


4. Blu-Ray? Yes. Why would you not want to enjoy the highest quality entertainment? If quality is a must, then Blu-Ray is a must.


5. You have a girlfriend? Some guys got it, some guys don't...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanSmooth /forum/post/20764030


Going by the experience that I've had thus far with my desktop HTPC, I will definitely recommend:


1. It is better to have a system that is a little overpowered rather than a system that is a little underpowered. The Pentium G620 is a nice little CPU, but, I'd recommend going with the i3 2100 as HyperThreading will make a big difference performance-wise vs a non-HT CPU.


2. Windows 7 vs. Linux: Linux is a different animal when is comes to operating systems. Make sure that you know your way around Linux very well. I have found that doing basic tasks such as installing a program or getting a freaking temperature app/widget to work with Linux is a huge, and I mean ABSOLUTELY FREAKING ENORMOUS pain in the John Brown hindparts. My advice: "Windows until death do us part."


3. Want a quick and snappy OS? Get an SSD! If price is a concern know that your money is well-spent with a faster PC experience, and you can save money by going with a smaller SSD.


4. Blu-Ray? Yes. Why would you not want to enjoy the highest quality entertainment? If quality is a must, then Blu-Ray is a must.


5. You have a girlfriend? Some guys got it, some guys don't...

1) I ended up going with the i3, thanks for the help on that everyone.


2) I'm going to use my girlfriend's student discount for windows 7. But it's actually an upgrade disc, so I have to figure out if I can do a full install from it.


3) SSD might be a future upgrade. I can't justify spending the money right now.


4) I'm still not sold on Blu Ray. It'd be nice to rip Blu Rays once and a while, but that will not be the main source of media for my system.


Thanks all!
 

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Originally Posted by spivonious /forum/post/20764967


The double-install method will work, but remember that you're still violating the license. You may as well just pirate it and save the $30.

Its recognized as genuine by Microsoft. Some on here have stated that Microsoft also has told them to install it this way when they have called.


I think its a gray area but to say that its definitely a violation when Microsoft allows it is inaccurate. They obviously know which product keys are upgrades.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin /forum/post/20764996


Its recognized as genuine by Microsoft. Some on here have stated that Microsoft also has told them to install it this way when they have called.


I think its a gray area but to say that its definitely a violation when Microsoft allows it is inaccurate. They obviously know which product keys are upgrades.

Just because it activates doesn't mean it's a valid license. I can use all of the software on my MSDN subscription at home, but it's violating the license since I'm not using them for testing or development work.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious /forum/post/20765027


Just because it activates doesn't mean it's a valid license. I can use all of the software on my MSDN subscription at home, but it's violating the license since I'm not using them for testing or development work.

Again, you don't have to agree with me here. But I am not alone on this stance that this is legitmate.

Quote:
Is this legal?


One might naturally wonder whether the aforementioned instructions describe an action that is legal or ethical. After all, anyone could purchase an Upgrade version of Windows Vista (therefore saving a lot of money when compared to a Full version) and use it to perform a clean install even if they don't own a previous, compliant Window version.


After telling my "Windows Vista Secrets" coauthor Brian Livingston about this workaround, he wrote that using this process was indeed ethical, in his opinion. "Microsoft itself created the upgrade process," he wrote in a newsletter article describing the workaround. "The company designed Vista to support upgrading it over a previously installed copy of XP, W2K Pro, or Vista itself. This isn't a black-hat hacker exploit. It's something that's been deliberately programmed into the approved setup routine."


Fair enough. Of course, if you do use this workaround to clean install Vista with the Upgrade media, and you don't own a previous, compliant version of Windows, you're most certainly violating the Windows EULA and, thus, breaking the law. Proceed at your own risk.


Final thoughts


This is an interesting and viable workaround for anyone who owns a previous Windows version but would like to perform a clean install of the new operating system on their existing hardware. While I'm a bit nervous about legal implications and Microsoft's ability to cut off this process in the future, I'm glad that innocent Windows upgraders do in fact have all the options that were available to them in previous Windows versions. For its part in this silliness, Microsoft gets a virtual slap on the wrist: Sometimes, it seems, the company forgets that Windows is expensive and paying customers should be able to easily install the new OS without taking on the added clutter of a previous Windows installation.
http://www.winsupersite.com/article/...-upgrade-media

Quote:
Get Vista upgrade, never pay full price

By Brian Livingston


Many people are upset by the fact that the economical, upgrade version of Vista won't accept a Windows XP or Windows 2000 CD-ROM as proof of ownership. Vista Upgrade is said to install only to a hard disk that already has XP or 2000 already on it.


But I've tested a method that allows you to clean-install the Vista upgrade version on any hard drive, with no prior XP or W2K installation or even a CD required.


Save by avoiding the full' version


Windows Vista, in my opinion, is a big improvement over Windows XP in many ways. But the new operating system is distinctly overpriced.


The list price of the full (not upgrade) version of the most expensive edition, Vista Ultimate, is $399.95 USD, with a street price around $380. That gold-plated retail figure is only possible because Microsoft long ago achieved monopoly pricing power in the PC operating system market.


Most computer users would prefer to keep using an older version of Windows, such as XP, rather than paying the inflated prices for the "full" version of Vista. To encourage switching to a new OS, Microsoft has historically offered a lower, upgrade price to people who can prove that they've previously purchased an older copy of Windows.


The difference between Vista's full and upgrade prices can be substantial. Based on the asking prices shown at Shopping.com on Jan. 31 the day after the consumer version of Vista became available the four most popular Vista versions will set you back approximately as follows:


Edition Full version Upgrade version

Vista Home Basic $192 $100 ($92 less)

Vista Home Premium $228 $156 ($72 less)

Vista Business $285 $192 ($93 less)

Vista Ultimate $380 $225 ($155 less)


The upgrade versions of Vista have street prices that are 32% to 48% cheaper than the full versions. If you're truly installing Vista over an old instance of XP or W2K, the upgrade version of Vista will find the older OS on your hard drive and install without question. The problem is that Vista, unlike every version of Windows in the past, doesn't let you insert a physical disc from an older operating system as evidence of your previous purchase.


Vista has an undocumented feature, however, that actually allows you to clean install Vista to a hard disk that has no prior copy of XP or W2K.


Use Vista's upgrade' version to clean-install


The secret is that the setup program in Vista's upgrade version will accept an installed copy of XP, W2K, or an unactivated copy of Vista itself as evidence of a previous installation.


This enables you to clean install an upgrade version of Vista to any formatted or unformatted hard drive, which is usually the preferred method when installing any new operating system. You must, in essence, install Vista twice to take advantage of this trick. But Vista installs much faster than XP, so it's quicker than installing XP followed by Vista to get the upgrade price.


Before you install Vista on a machine that you don't know is 100% compatible, you should run Microsoft's free Upgrade Advisor. This program which operates only on 32-bit versions of XP and Vista (plus Vista Enterprise) reports to you on any hardware or software it finds that may be incompatible with Vista. See Microsoft's Upgrade Advisor page.


Also, to see which flavors of XP Home, XP Pro, and 2000 officially support in-place installs and clean installs of the different Vista editions, see Microsoft's upgrade paths page.


Here's a simplified overview of the steps that are required to clean-install the upgrade version of Vista:


Step 1. Boot the PC from the Vista DVD.


Step 2. Select Install Now, but do not enter the Product Key from the Vista packaging. Leave the input box blank. Also, turn off the option Automatically activate Windows when I'm online. In the next dialog box that appears, confirm that you really do want to install Vista without entering a Product Key.


Step 3. Correctly indicate the version of Vista that you're installing: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate.


Step 4. Select the Custom (Advanced) install, not the Upgrade" install.


Step 5. Vista copies files at length and reboots itself one or more times. Wait for the install to complete. At this point, you might think that you could "activate" Vista, but you can't. That's because you haven't installed the Vista upgrade yet. To do that, run the DVD's setup.exe program again, but this time from the Vista desktop. The easiest way to start setup again is to eject and then reinsert the DVD.


Step 6. Click Install Now. Select Do not get the latest updates for installation. (You can check for these updates later.)


Step 7. This time, do enter the Product Key from the Vista packaging. Once again, turn off the option Automatically activate Windows when I'm online.


Step 8. On this second install, make sure to select Upgrade, not Custom (Advanced). You're not doing a clean install now, you're upgrading to Vista.


Step 9. Wait while Vista copies files and reboots itself. No user interaction is required. Do not boot from the DVD when asked if you'd like to do so. Instead, wait a few seconds and the setup process will continue on its way. Some DOS-like, character-mode menus will appear, but don't interact with them. After a few seconds, the correct choice will run for you automatically.


Step 10. After you click a button labeled Start in the Thank You dialog box, Vista's login screen will eventually appear. Enter the username and password that you selected during the first install. You're done upgrading to Vista.


Step 11. Within 30 days, you must activate your copy of Vista or it'll lose functionality. To activate Vista, click Show more details in the Welcome Center that automatically displays upon each boot-up, then click Activate Windows now. If you've dismissed the Welcome Center, access the correct dialog box by clicking Start, Control Panel, System & Maintenance, System. If you purchased a legitimate copy of Vista, it should quickly activate over the Internet. (You can instead activate by calling Microsoft on the phone, which avoids your PC exchanging information with Microsoft's server.)


UPDATE 2009-11-12: In the Nov. 12, 2009 Top Story, Woody Leonhard describes how to clean-install Windows 7 from the upgrade disc and also answers other reader questions about Windows 7.


I'm not going into detail today on the merits of buying Vista at retail instead of buying a cheaper OEM copy. (The OEM offerings don't entitle you to call Microsoft for support, while the retail packages do.) Also, I'm not touching here on the least-expensive way to buy Vista, which is to take advantage of Microsoft's educational rate. I'll describe both of these topics in next week's newsletter.


Why does Vista's secret setup exist?


It's reasonable for us to ask ourselves whether buying an upgrade version of Vista, and then installing it to an empty hard disk that contains no previous version of Windows, is ethical.


I believe it is. Microsoft itself created the upgrade process. The company designed Vista to support upgrading it over a previously installed copy of XP, W2K Pro, or Vista itself. This isn't a black-hat hacker exploit. It's something that's been deliberately programmed into the approved setup routine.


Microsoft spent years developing and testing Vista. This upgrade trick must have been known to many, many people within the development team. Either Microsoft planned this upgrade path all along, knowing that computer magazines and newsletters (like this one) would widely publicize a way to save money buying Vista. Or else some highly placed coders within the Vista development team decided that Vista's "full" price was too high and that no one should ever have to pay it. In either case, Vista's setup.exe is Microsoft's official install routine, and I see no problem with using it exactly as it was designed.


We should also think about whether instances of Vista that were installed using the clean-install method will continue to operate. I believe that this method will continue to be present in Vista DVDs at least until Microsoft begins distributing the Service Pack 1 edition of Vista around fall 2007. Changing the routine in the millions of DVDs that are now in circulation would simply be too wrenching. And trying to remotely disable instances of Vista that were clean-installed even if it were technically possible to distinguish them would generate too many tech-support calls and too much ill will to make it worthwhile.


Installing the upgrade version of Vista, but not installing over an existing instance of XP or W2K, probably violates the Vista EULA (end-user license agreement). If you're a business executive, I wouldn't recommend that you flout any Windows license provisions just to save money.


If you're strictly a home user, contributing editor Susan Bradley points out that Microsoft's so-called Vista Family Discount (VFD) is an economical package that avoids any license issues. If you buy a retail copy of Vista Ultimate, MS lets you upgrade up to two additional PCs to Vista Home Premium for $50 each. For example, if you buy the upgrade version of Ultimate for $225, the grand total after you add two Home Premiums is $335. That's about $133 less than buying three upgrade versions of Home Premium. Details are at Microsoft's VFD page.


Microsoft did revise a Knowledge Base article, number 930985, on Jan. 31 that obliquely refers to the upgrade situation. It simply states that an upgrade version of Vista can't perform a clean install when a PC is booted from the Vista DVD. A clean install will only work, the document says, when the Vista setup is run from within an older version of Windows (or if a full version of Vista is being used).


This article doesn't at all deal with the fact that the Vista upgrade version will in fact clean-install using the steps described above. It'll be interesting to see whether MS ever explains why these steps were programmed in.


Personally, I consider Vista's ability to upgrade over itself to be Digital Rights Management that actually benefits consumers. It's almost cosmic justice.


I invite my readers to test Vista's undocumented clean-install method for themselves. There certainly must be aspects of this setup routine that I haven't yet discovered. I'll print the best findings from those sent in via our contact page. You'll receive a gift certificate for a book, CD, or DVD of your choice if you're the first to send in a tip that I print.


I'd like to thank my co-author of Windows Vista Secrets, Paul Thurrott, for his research help in bringing the clean-install method to light.


Brian Livingston is editorial director of the Windows Secrets Newsletter and the co-author of Windows Vista Secrets and 10 other books.
http://windowssecrets.com/top-story/...ay-full-price/
 

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Of course, if you do use this workaround to clean install Vista with the Upgrade media, and you don't own a previous, compliant version of Windows, you're most certainly violating the Windows EULA and, thus, breaking the law. Proceed at your own risk.

That's all I'm saying. Will MS come after you? Of course not, they're too busy shutting down mass piracy in China. As Paul says, "Proceed at your own risk".
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious /forum/post/20765094


That's all I'm saying. Will MS come after you? Of course not, they're too busy shutting down mass piracy in China. As Paul says, "Proceed at your own risk".

True. That's one opinion from above. Here's another:

Quote:
Why does Vista's secret setup exist?


It's reasonable for us to ask ourselves whether buying an upgrade version of Vista, and then installing it to an empty hard disk that contains no previous version of Windows, is ethical.

I believe it is. Microsoft itself created the upgrade process. The company designed Vista to support upgrading it over a previously installed copy of XP, W2K Pro, or Vista itself. This isn't a black-hat hacker exploit. It's something that's been deliberately programmed into the approved setup routine.


Microsoft spent years developing and testing Vista. This upgrade trick must have been known to many, many people within the development team. Either Microsoft planned this upgrade path all along, knowing that computer magazines and newsletters (like this one) would widely publicize a way to save money buying Vista. Or else some highly placed coders within the Vista development team decided that Vista's "full" price was too high and that no one should ever have to pay it. In either case, Vista's setup.exe is Microsoft's official install routine, and I see no problem with using it exactly as it was designed.

Again, I think this is a gray area. And again, it is recognized by Microsoft as a genuine product. I think they could easily put a stop to this if they wanted to and they haven't. So to me that means that it is supported.


Continue the argument if you wish. I will not.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin /forum/post/20765114


True. That's one opinion from above. Here's another:


*snip*


Again, I think this is a gray area. And again, it is recognized by Microsoft as a genuine product. I think they could easily put a stop to this if they wanted to and they haven't. So to me that means that it is supported.


Continue the argument if you wish. I will not.

Could they though? The product key is genuine, and they have no way of telling on their end if the user has a valid license to a previous version of Windows. Plus, they need to allow the user to reinstall, so working when the current OS is installed is a valid use case.


The opinions of journalists mean nothing if MS would decide to take action.


Do I agree with MS's licensing? Not at all. They should take a hint from Apple and make their OS upgrades $30. They would get a lot more people off of XP that way. And their decision to limit the OEM license to only systems that are resold to a third party is wishful thinking against the DIY market.


I'll stop too, since this is derailing the thread. It makes an interesting debate though. Do software manufacturers need to do more to enforce the licensing terms? Or should those terms be relaxed to fit any case where the software successfully installs?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jp8811 /forum/post/20764901


2) I'm going to use my girlfriend's student discount for windows 7. But it's actually an upgrade disc, so I have to figure out if I can do a full install from it.


I've got the "Upgrade Win 7" from a SUNY computer store and it installs fine without "upgrading"
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious /forum/post/20765217


Could they though? The product key is genuine, and they have no way of telling on their end if the user has a valid license to a previous version of Windows. Plus, they need to allow the user to reinstall, so working when the current OS is installed is a valid use case.


The opinions of journalists mean nothing if MS would decide to take action.


Do I agree with MS's licensing? Not at all. They should take a hint from Apple and make their OS upgrades $30. They would get a lot more people off of XP that way. And their decision to limit the OEM license to only systems that are resold to a third party is wishful thinking against the DIY market.


I'll stop too, since this is derailing the thread. It makes an interesting debate though. Do software manufacturers need to do more to enforce the licensing terms? Or should those terms be relaxed to fit any case where the software successfully installs?

Yup, MS provides the OS to manufacturers at a reasonable price and then tries to nail the system builders. If they would have provided windows at a similar price to what they charged manufacturers I don't think they would have ever had a problem with piracy. You have to remember almost all windows sells come from the sell of new pc's.
 

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Since everyone else is beating a dead horse, I will put my 2 cents in. Technically it is illegal because you are NOT your girlfriend which is using her student discount. At the university I got my undergrad at and the university i got my doctorate at, they both beat me over the head about only using the discount for me only. But hey, go for it, I know my friend sure as hell benefited from me being in college for 9 years
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ughhhhh. So I bought the Silverstone case from Amazon, but just realized it ships in 1-3 weeks. I'm thinking about cancelling it and going with another case because all the rest of my parts will be in today.



edit: I'm actually thinking of getting a mid-tower case now, so that I can house a few HDDs in it. I don't really have anywhere else for storage (no other desktop or server), and I have a feeling I'm gonna fly through my 2TB spinpoint. Has anyone else gone that route? It won't have the aestethics I'm looking for but function first I guess lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Alright, so I'm with this case: http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-...2550212&sr=8-1


Obviously not as pretty, but all the rest of my parts are in and I didn't want to wait around until the end of August to put this together. Since this case was shipping right away, it worked out better.


Hopefully I can pick it up at Microcenter, and get to building it this weekend.
 
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