I'm looking at buying Vista Home Premium 64 OEM for system builders but it says it can only be installed on one computer. Does this mean if my hard-drive crashes I'll have to buy a new copy of vista? If my computer need to be "Re-Imaged" does that mean I need a new copy of Vista?
I'm looking into getting the same thing, and from what I've found, Microsoft legally lets you buy these OEM copies if you build your own computer and install your own software(system builder). The only catch is that it does not come with support from microsoft (you are considered the support), and it is tied to your computer. Microsoft sees the mobo as the computer itself, because a change in mobo is basically the biggest upgrade you can make, most likely changing everything. Your license is tied to the mobe\o
But what if i replace a motherboard or something like that?
If the motherboard needs replacement due to defect or failure, a new OS license is not required. But if you are voluntarily choosing to upgrade the motherboard to obtain new or enhanced features as opposed to reasons of failure or defect, a new OS license is required. Everything else can be replaced or upgraded for any reason without requiring a new OS license, though you will need to reactivate Windows after changing so much of the hardware configuration.
The semantics are pretty cut-and-dried. A motherboard that is in perfect working order but does not support as much RAM as you want, doesn't overclock as high as you want, or doesn't support some new processor that you want, is NOT a defective motherboard. These are all features.
Technically, you can reactivate... you just tell MS your motherboard failed if they ask. Usually the ONLY question they will ask you is if this copy of Windows is only installed on one computer. You answer honestly (yes) and no one is the wiser.
I'm not condoning it in any way... but that's how it is.