I used the Magical Jellybean Keyfinder just out of curiosity and found that the key it found doesn't match the windows 7 product key sticker on the bottom on my laptop. I assume this is from the manufacturers using a sort of universal cd key or something for a lot of computers to save them time.
Does this mean it would be possible to use the key on the bottom of my laptop on a different pc without any issues?
Does this mean it would be possible to use the key on the bottom of my laptop on a different pc without any issues? < No it can't be used again it's an OEM license.
OEM versions of Windows 7 are identical to Full License Retail versions except for the following:
- OEM versions do not offer any free Microsoft direct support from Microsoft support personnel
- OEM licenses are tied to the very first computer you install and activate it on
- OEM versions allow all hardware upgrades except for an upgrade to a different model motherboard
- OEM versions cannot be used to directly upgrade from an older Windows operating system
OEM vs. Retail
OEM Windows 7 comes preinstalled on computers. This is the cheapest way to buy windows. Large PC manufacturers like Dell, HP etc. (collectively called royalty OEMs) install windows on millions of such PCs. The main characteristics of such systems are:
The license agreement and support agreement is between you and the PC maker, not MS.
Activation by the end user is not required. Windows is preactivated at the factory by the OEM using images and standard SLP keys.
Your copy of windows is locked to that PC. The license is not transferable.
OEM system builder is what you get when you buy from say Newegg or from a local "white box" vendor. It too has the characteristics of Royalty OEM windows. Although it is possible for an individual to buy a System Builder copy, the license requires that the software be installed using the OPK (OEM preinstall kit) and then resold.
Retail version is what you buy from a retailer like Amazon or Bestbuy. Its a full price version that comes packaged in a retail box with a retail product key. It has to be activated online via MS servers using the key on the box, it is not tied to the PC it was first installed on, though it can only be used on a single computer at a time. And, MS directly provides the support for it. It is also more expensive than OEM copies.
As far as functionality is concerned, theres no difference between any of the versions above, given any specific edition (i.e. between OEM pro and retail pro, or between OEM ultimate and retail ultimate).
Computers, which are built by large manufactures that come with Windows Pre-Installed, come with two (2) Product Keys:
A) OEM SLP: This key comes pre-installed in Windows, when it comes from the Factory. This key is geared to work with the OEM Bios Flag found only on that Manufacturer's computer hardware. So when Windows was installed using the OEM SLP key (at the factory) Windows looks at the motherboard and sees the proper OEM Bios Flag (for that Manufacturer and that version of Windows) and Self-Activates. That's why you did not need to Activate your computer after you brought it home.
B) COA SLP: This is the Product key that you see on the sticker on the side (or bottom or sometimes in a laptop's battery compartment) of your computer. It is a valid product key, but should only be used in limited situations (such as this case when the OEM SLP key stops self-activating for whatever reason). The key must be activated by Phone.