Registered owner may transfer Office license

HELP LINE

May 07, 2001|By James Coates | James Coates,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Recently, I was given Microsoft Office 2000, which I installed and registered. However, it is much more program than I need - Office 97 was fine for my limited use. I would like to uninstall and give 2000 to a friend who could make better use of the program. Is that permitted? Or do I need to contact Microsoft to authorize a transfer to a new owner?

Even by the letter of the law as it is laid out in the license that comes with each copy of Microsoft Office, it is permissible for you to transfer that license to another party. Technically, such a transfer would require you to do exactly as you propose, which is to remove Office from your computer once it is installed on somebody else's.

In reality, there has been widespread abuse, with people thinking little of lending their friends the CD with Office for them to install on their own machines.

Microsoft has a hard-nosed plan to crack down on that kind of informal copying with Office XP, which will replace Office 2000. When you buy a copy of XP, you will need to register it either online or through a phone call to Microsoft in order to obtain the password needed to activate it. The price of the software includes a preset number of installations, thereby slamming the door on casual and illegal copying.

My 3-year-old IBM Aptiva E26 started acting up after I tried to remove a couple of Russian language translation programs from my computer by dragging stuff from them to the Recycle Bin. When I click the My Computer icon, I get a display showing a flashlight that lasts very long time, and then things come up with an error message saying the machine can't find a required file called MSSETUP.DLL. I tried to get phone help from IBM but was told I had to pay $35. Also, I have loaded America Online 6.0 on this machine even though it is running Windows 95.

What those people at IBM should have told you is that you have corrupted your operating system by trying to erase those Russian language translation programs. The only sure fix is going to be to reinstall Windows 95 with the software that came with that Aptiva PC. It is called the Restore Disk, and you can find it among the papers that came with the machine.

You can either restore the operating system or use the Restore Disk to wipe out the hard drive and start over again.

I am betting, however, that after what sounds like three years of heavy use, you've got a lot of data on that computer that you don't want to lose, so you should probably stick with the restore operating system feature.

Also, I would urge you to uninstall America Online 6.0 and replace it with the version that came with your Aptiva, probably AOL 5.0 or maybe 4.0. The reality is that AOL 6.0 requires more horsepower than you have in that Aptiva running Windows 95.

If you eliminate AOL 6.0, you can rest assured that for the next few weeks your version of America Online will automatically download additional code needed to bring it up-to-date.

As a final word, it is essential to use Windows' built-in Add/Remove routine to erase software rather than attempting to find files and erase them manually. Click on My Computer, open the Control Panel folder and click on the Add/Remove command, which will bring up a list of programs installed on your computer, ready to be removed as desired.

Send e-mail to jcoates@tribune.com.

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