Windows XP EULA in Plain English

Story: LXer Feature: Early results of the (Dutch) Windows refund surveyTotal Replies: 8
Author Content

May 06, 2006
5:28 PM EDT
"What does this document contain? Most people don't know, because it is written in legal-speak. Still, you are expected to read it and are required to agree to it before using Windows XP Home. Even if you don't read it, you are still bound by it, so it's good to know what's in there."

May 06, 2006
6:30 PM EDT
Actually, the Windows Eula is very easily summed in plain English:

"You're screwed."

May 07, 2006
1:16 AM EDT
A few things stand out in particular...

Microsoft is further not liable for failing to use “good faith,” “reasonable care” or for negligence.

Microsoft is not liable even if they break the terms of this agreement.

If any part of this agreement is found to be illegal and therefor void, the rest of the agreement remains in place.

Talk about writing your own "get out of jail free" card!

May 07, 2006
2:55 AM EDT
sal -

Shockingly, Microsoft's EULA is not unique. In terms of liability, most software companies disclaim pretty much everything the law allows.

When I was in law school, I took contracts from a professor who had drafted contracts for Lotus 1-2-3. He all but cackled as he told us how Lotus not only didn't stand behind the spreadsheet's calculations, but effectively required users to double-check its results.

There is this myth of having someone to sue if everything goes wrong. There are precious few cases of a software company actually being sued, and fewer still of one losing the case.

May 07, 2006
8:32 AM EDT

Every ladder I own has cartoon-like warning stickers plastered all over them, depicting someone falling. Since manufacturers of commodity products (not much inventiveness involved in a plain ladder) do not normally spend money on parts not required to sell the things, there must be a history of lawsuits from people falling off ladders who claimed it was the ladder maker's fault for not warning them they could fall.

If software licensors were held to the same level of liability, MS boxed software would have so many stickers on it each box would need its own shelf per aisle at Wal-Mart.

May 07, 2006
8:36 AM EDT

I have to agree. The absence of liability is stunning.


May 07, 2006
10:38 AM EDT
Sad that any person of company should feel that they need or want to use such a contract(?). Equally sad that our laws support such a thing.

May 07, 2006
12:15 PM EDT
Henke54: Thanks very much for the link, it's really usefull (for people not bothering to read the EULA).

Most stunning (this is _only_ in the XP System Builder License) is term 16.1 (I believe that's the number), which states that 3d parties (system builders, the OEMs) are forbidden to tell how much people pay for Windows.

Here is the MS SysBuildLicense:

(Please be patient with the site, it's a bit slow, if it gives error 403, select the address in the addressbar and click enter. Excuses for the quality, but it's a free FTP server, so the files may not be too big).

And something else comes to mind: When asking Microsoft where people can find the EULA online, the telephonists at Microsoft plagued by an attack of shyness, and they use Google to search for it, since it simply can't be found on any MS website.

May 07, 2006
12:34 PM EDT
Con Zymaris authored "A Comparison of the GPL and the Microsoft EULA" and makes it available as a PDF at

The license allows copying.

Posting in this forum is limited to members of the group: [ForumMods, SITEADMINS, MEMBERS.]

Becoming a member of LXer is easy and free. Join Us!