How to return your unused Windows license and get your money back

Dell and many other service providers bundle Microsoft Windows when you buy a computer system (even if you didn’t ask for it).


So you often pay for Microsoft Windows and aren’t going to use it. This article shows you how to return your unused Windows license and get your money back, freeing yourself from the Windows tax.

From the article:
I recently purchased a new laptop computer from Dell. As a GNU/Linux user and believer in Free Software, I knew from the start that I wasn’t going to run Microsoft Windows. Unfortunately, Dell didn’t offer this laptop with Ubuntu or a no-OS option, so I tried getting my Windows refund from Dell after the purchase. After working with customer service, I received a refund of $52.50. In the course of getting my refund, I found some techniques worked better than others. By knowing what works, you may be able to get your refund quickly and easily

Few problems

a) You need to spend some time and energy to get back $50.

b) Most CTO or managers are not going to ask for 1000 PCs refund. A better option is allow users to select OS.

c) However many computer vendor, especially Dell’s “terms of sale” clearly say that the operating system is bundled software and may only be refused/returned if the entire system is returned.

My suggestion is simply – give end user an options such as Desktop should bundled with:
(1) Linux
(2) No os
(3) Microsoft Windows etc

What do you think?

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I'm Vivek Gite, and I write about Linux, macOS, Unix, IT, programming, infosec, and open source. Subscribe to my RSS feed or email newsletter for updates.

5 comments… add one
  • TC Sep 1, 2009 @ 18:36

    All this fills me with anger and with hate. How the hell can we let those corporate brain addled bunch of motherfuckers know that WE DO NOT FUCKING WANT WINBLOWS WITH OUR FUCKING HARDWARE.
    I hate them for forcefully making us pay for shit we are not asking for, I hate how the market imposes winblows. I wouldn’t be surprised if next-gen mobile phones came with vista…
    The only way to defeat this shit is that us, users/customers, expressly refuse to buy any laptop or computer if there’s no “NO-OS” option available at least.

  • Antonio Napoli May 6, 2010 @ 20:31

    I completely agree with everything you wrote.

  • John Kahler Jan 6, 2012 @ 3:42

    Yeah, I think that more manufacturers should give you the option of whether you want an OS installed in the 1st place. That way there’d be less rigmarole to go through to return copies of Windows you didn’t want.

  • Matt Oct 24, 2012 @ 10:32

    I’m in the UK and there are no options for buying laptops (with a decent spec) from UK retailers without Windows preinstalled and nobody seems to recognise that this is an unfair business practice. There are a couple of companies in the UK that offer laptops with Ubuntu pre-installed, but to be honest, the systems they offer are last generation, lower spec than I want and are over-priced (for what they are).

    A number of people have told me that it’s my fault for being an ‘edge-case’ customer. Well that’s wrong. Whether or not I’m edge case, I should have a choice as to what I’m buying, and that choice doesn’t exist. MS have a monopoly in this country – and this country has laws against that… so why aren’t retailers forced to offer choice?

    Unfortunately, spending hours to get £30 refunded isn’t an option – my time is worth far more than that – so it looks like Micro$oft is going to be able to extort yet more money out of me for a product/service that I will never use.

    Sad state of affairs IMHO

  • NotSet Sep 9, 2020 @ 8:58

    As today there are still very few vendor who offer you an option for choosing preinstalled OSes

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