Granted, someone were negligent in failing to prepare for a future restore procedure. I don't think this is atypical. Planning and preparing for the future does not usually show a return in the first fiscal period.
Ever since one of my kids brought home a floppy with the Monkey-B virus, I have kept backups. I remember sitting through over 60 floppy changes to back up my DOS drive. A 1.6 GB TR-3 tape drive was a huge improvement, but still slow and cumbersome. Recordable optical discs were another improvement. I would image my Windows setup in stages from just OS to all apps installed. Still, manual backups were a pain. Network servers doing the job automatically on a schedule is where I am at now.
More importantly, I have done many restore operations, to verify that backups actually work. I have found that this is an oft-neglected step. One company had automatic tape backup with rotation off the premises. When I checked the logs, every backup on record showed up as failed. They thought they were protected when they were not, and no one had the computer skills to monitor and maintain their setup.
Like Granny, I too have kept stacks of old media and documentation. Now that I think about it, it is probably time to throw out the 5 1/4 inch floppies, as I don't have any drives to read them any more. What has disappeared or gotten destroyed in our family is gaming disks. Since they are designed not to be copied, and you need them in the drive to run the games, they get a lot of use and abuse.
As far as the EULA's go, I have tried to read and understand many of them. Honestly! But it is written in a language that I have a hard time understanding. As when trying to figure out how Windows Server 2003 licensing worked, I found Windows XP pro was permitted to access terminal services without buying additional licensing, but only if you already owned that copy before the release date of Server 2003. That is not clear in the XP EULA. Then there is the interpretation of what they are saying. Like: "You may install, use, access, display and run one copy of the Software on a single computer". Does that make access through VNC illegal? Very good legal knowledge and record keeping is needed to keep up with all this.
So I admit that I do not have a full understanding of all the laws that apply to me. I also admit that at times I may be in breach of some, as when I am keeping up with traffic that is going over the speed limit. I recognize that by cloning the drive I violated the EULA. However, I think that to disable the computer was an unreasonable response.
With Vista auditing the computer 30 times every second, I suspect that my experiments would quickly get me in trouble should I ever decide to use it.