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Is it Legal to run Windows PE as a general operating system


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Does anyone know if you can run Windows PE as general operating system in a home or business environment. I read at another forum that you cannot as it's only made for recovery purposes.

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A quick search will tell you:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff794946(v=winembedded.60).aspx

Automatically stops running the shell and reboots after 72 hours of continuous use. The reboot timer cannot be configured. This constraint helps prevent the use of Windows PE as a general-purpose operating system. Windows PE is not licensed as a general-purpose operating system.

The "PE" in Windows PE/WinPE stands for "Preinstallation Environment", although with the advent of MS DaRT (Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset) back when Microsoft acquired Winternals, it can also be used as a rudimentary recovery environment (sometimes called Windows RE or WinRE - "RE" is Recovery Environment) that actually ships with Windows installation DVDs and gets installed when you install Windows Vista or higher. DaRT is a standalone toolset available to customers with a Premier contract and SA on their volume licensing for Windows that is a more fully-featured recovery environment built by Microsoft that runs on Windows PE.

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I can only answer your first question with Microsoft's official statement on WinPE:

Windows PE is not licensed as a general-purpose operating system.

Therefore, using it as such does violate the license for use. Getting in trouble for violating the license terms is relative, so I can't comment on that. You have to make your own decisions on whether or not to follow the licensing terms.

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In any case, settings and configurations like those written to registry, are not kept over a reboot when in WinPE. It is only kept in memory.

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