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How is OEM versions of Windows different from Retail?

  • CD-Rom
  • OEM
  • Windows XP
Last response: in Windows XP
January 7, 2007 7:43:29 AM

I'm looking at Newegg, and the OEM full versions of XP and Pro are even cheaper than the Upgrade versions! The reail versions are over double the price.

What's the difference other than a fancy box? It's just a CD and nothing more...

More about : oem versions windows retail

January 7, 2007 11:34:27 AM

The only difference is that the Retail version comes with 90 days of support from Microsoft.

January 7, 2007 3:03:35 PM

Here's the full scoop.

1. No MS tech support at all.
2. No manual.
3. No retail box.
4. CANNOT upgrade from a previous Windows.
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January 7, 2007 3:12:13 PM

Here's the full scoop.

1. No MS tech support at all.
2. No manual.
3. No retail box.
4. CANNOT upgrade from a previous Windows.

1. what a joke what support?
2. manual?
3. box?
4. I'll give you 4 but not too many people get/use it for upgrade
January 7, 2007 3:41:47 PM

I love your emoticons.
January 7, 2007 3:57:47 PM

there is yours
January 7, 2007 6:21:26 PM

That is cool. Amazing stuff.
January 7, 2007 9:15:31 PM

January 11, 2007 6:25:53 AM

the main difference is that oem software is for use on 1 computer, only, ever. In theory if you try to reactivate for a major upgrade or because you have built yourself a new pc, microsoft can refuse to do it. thats why its cheaper
January 17, 2007 12:33:13 PM

Have posted this in other thread, but after posting found out it was 2 months old, so I am reposting here in the hopes of getting an answer before I do something stupid...:

Ok, interesting thread...I have just built a complete new PC (the lot, including case), but my problem is I live in France and the retailer could not give me an English XP MCE (with Express Upgrade). I was told first time that I had the right to buy an OEM version with them since I bought all the hardware. But I don't want a French Windows so I found an English Version on Amazon (OEM with voucher). I received that today, but I am now getting doubts. The box is still closed (with the seals on). I have phoned first MS and they said that since my PC didn't come with XP preinstalled (like an OEM should) the Express Upgrade wouldn't work. I then called the (online) retailer, got a different support guy, he checked my order and he responded that I didn't have the right to an OEM since they didn't assemble and preinstall it, and I didn't even order Windows with them (which they didn't have in my language!!!), so a complete 180 on the first support call and even in conflict with several information texts on their own website (they even give buying an XP OEM for your existing system as an option to get the Vista Express Upgrade!).

All this is very confusing to me. I spent more money on hardware than I would have if I had bought a complete system. I have complied to the System builders' clause on the XP OEM package as I am building a 'Fully assembled computer system'. I have built dozens of systems (for a studio I worked for) in the same way in the Win2000 era. Does this mean I have to return this to Amazon UK, and spend an enormous amount of money on a retail box (I have never called MS support once in my life, except to get my xbox repaired, so I don't need that) to get my PC working now and then spend even more money on a Vista Full upgrade in 2 weeks time (totalling over € 500, more than a Retail Vista Ultimate)? Or do I just rip open the box and install the damn OS like I always do with retail versions, activate and be done with it (and consider myself the OEM systembuilder AND End-User) and forego the Express Upgrade (for which as it turns out they will need a PC serial number, a proof of purchase for a complete PC and a lot more), and buy a legal upgrade in a few months time once the dust has settled and driver support is in full swing?

Sorry for the long post but I want to be sure before I break the seals and open the OEM box...thanks
January 17, 2007 2:24:57 PM

Since they owe you an O/S oem flavor - what about taking the box (they did build the box?) and the English flavor back to the Retailer and have them install it? Get a serial number.

Bring along printouts of the texts from their website, and speak to a manager.
January 17, 2007 2:42:41 PM

No you don't understand. They didn't assemble it, I ordered all the parts to assemble them myself (again, because they have an assembly service but the needed parts weren't available for assembly only as seperate parts). I asked before sending the order confirmation what the rules were about obtaining an OEM version, and the lady on the phone said it was no problem with my order, even if I decided to buy an OEM version a few weeks down the line because my efforts to track down an English version would have been fruitless, than that was no problem either. They sell OEM versions seperately, without hardware (with the disclaimer that it can only be installed onto one PC without the possibility to transfer it to a new PC), but the support guy I had on the phone today was quite rude and stated that I had NO right to buy OEM, despite the € 1500 price tag for all parts that make a complete PC. Now my question is, can I open this box (OEM), install the OS in a normal fashion (OS first then drivers etc, like you would a retail version) and activate it (put the COA sticker on the box and consider it 'assembled')? Or do I need to supply all sorts of OEM info before it will activate?

It would be hard for me to believe that just because I need specific hardware I would have to pay as much as a complete Dell PC (with XP installed!) just for my OS...I understand the service limitations and the inability to transfer the license (or upgrade certain parts), and I can live with that, but before I break the seal on this box...Can I actually install this version on my (generic) PC and tie it to this PC like an OEM would? Is the installation/activation procedure any different from a retail install (do I need to show proof that I am an 'OEM Systembuilder' instead of a 'System Builder for personal use'?

MS is making it very hard for PC enthusiasts to go the legal route this way. If I wasn't hooked on games so much I would just buy a Mac and forget the whole MS scene...
January 17, 2007 3:09:43 PM

The install will not be a problem. It will activate without any hassle.

Your retailer owes you the right to purchase an oem XP, as per their website. You purchased an entire comp (albeit parts - no matter; that still qualifies).

If the price you paid at Amazon is very close to what they would have charged you at the store - you're even.
January 17, 2007 3:17:23 PM

As a matter of fact I payed less with amazon (saved about 10 €, despite shipping). But my real question is, can I physically install it the same way as I would a retail version, and after that as long as the hardware doesn't change (as per OEM license), will this pass Activation/WGA. All I'm saying is, I am now tempted to install this OS to get my PC up and running, leaving Vista for what it is (there was no price difference anyway between Voucher or no Voucher) and in a few months time buy a Vista Upgrade or even complete Retail (to have less hassle). I am not talking about exactly following the OEM license (I am not selling the PC after assembly, nor am I a certified MS partner), but just installing it, to have a legal OS on my PC, rather than trying to circumvent WGA and all that stuff...And exchanging this EN version for an FR version is NOT AN OPTION...
January 17, 2007 4:22:06 PM

January 18, 2007 7:13:22 AM

Thanks a bunch, I've gone ahead and installed yesterday, works fine. Now if there were some way of getting the free Vista Upgrade...If not, has MS released OEM Pricing for vista yet?