Windows laptop and warranty


I’m new on the UK market so I would really appreciate some advice with the laws here.

My wife got a laptop from John Lewis, with uefi bootable win 8 of course. I wanted to install Linux as the first thing, but as her parents are luckily more cautious then I’m we’ve called the shop first and found out that reinstalling the OS or adding one for a dual boot would render the warranty void.

As I only have my experience with the Czech market and Google only helps me with US properly (and in any of these countries the shop couldn’t do this), can anyone please tell me if this is the reality in the UK and we’d lose HARDWARE warranty for reinstalling os? What would the court say?

Thank you very much for help.


Though I’m no lawyer (so don’t take this as though I am), I’d ask the shop to show you the small print that states you cannot install whatever software you like.

AFAIK, you are not allowed to dismantle the PC, or break any seals … but as far as software goes I’m pretty damn sure you’re allowed to do what you like.

If not, I’d expect it to be clearly written in the documentation and that you’d have to sign/accept a license to that effect.

As I said … as the shop to show you where it says that in the fine print … if they can’t, get in touch with the manufacturer … or ask them for a refund.

As I said, I’m not a lawyer … but I don’t think they can limit your software choice … unless of course it’s Win8 for ARM, in whch case the UEFI secure boot will be locked so you can’t install Linux anyway, but that’s the hardware that’s locked.

Where did you buy it from ?


Asking the shop (my wife’s parents bought the laptop in John Lewis as a xmass present for her so the refund is not really an option for her) for the license details talking about sw installations sounds really like the best option for us. In any case this whole UEFI MS nonsense can fortunately be disabled from bios without any tricks so no bigger impact on the laptop is needed.

I will try to drop by JL in Cambridge tomorrow and see how that goes. Wouldn’t want my network@home poisoned with this spyware if I can avoid it :frowning:

Thanks a lot for the suggestion.


I will add that if you search the internet, you’ll find that at one time “PC World” and in the US “NewEgg” had occasionally refused to fix PC’s that had had Linux installed … but BOTH have since stated that their staff were wrong, and installing Linux does NOT void a warranty.

My guess would be that they won’t support Linux … but as hardware issues are generally covered by the manufacturer, it’s really down to them.

Linux can no more “cause” hardware issues than Windows … if it can, that proves there’s a hardware issue to begin with, as software and/or drivers aren’'t supposed to be able to break hardware … full stop :wink:

It may be a good idea to create a recovery disk … then if something like the network adapter stops working (so the PC is still bootable) … you can reinstall Windows before sending it back … if the whole PC won’t boot, just don’t mention Linux when you return it, just say “it won’t work”, they aint gonna know Linux is installed till they fix it, by which time they’re unlikely to argue their position as it doesn’t save them anything.

Another option might be to use an external HDD, put Linux on the external hard drive, and use the Windows bootloader to boot Linux (if this is still possible in Win8), or the BIOS ability to select the boot device.

Again, no idea on the Legal, but from an ‘experience’ point of view, if you buy a laptop with Windows 7 (or 8 ) , wipe it and install Linux, then have some sort of problem you want fixed on the Warranty - there is definite chance the vendor will tell you that you’ve voided the warranty.

Reason:: for many warranty claims (!) the vendor will just replace the unit for a quick turnaround, and given “they” can’t re-install Windows on the your unit once they’ve fixed the fault - it needs to go back to the manufacturer to get Windows re-installed before they can re-deploy it. The alternative is that your specific unit (with your data on it) ends up being shipped back to China and you wait 4 weeks for it to come back fixed (maybe).

You might consider that returning your laptop (or desktop) to ANY computer store with your personal information on it, is a risk.
Having it end up in China, is even more of a risk.

Personally I would never return a unit without first wiping (or factory resetting) any storage devices … one alternative in this instance is, when you first get a new device, back up the hard drive (as is) to something that will keep. Then worry about re-installing a different OS… If you then (one day) need to return it or indeed sell it, do a restore and you’ll have pristine copy of whatever came with it for the vendor / new owner to play with.

Anyone who says “but I don’t have a backup device”, I have ~ 30 1Tb ‘expired’ hard drives here that say that one day you’ll lose everything (!)