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WinXP Home - to OEM or not to OEM?

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February 8, 2008 3:24:58 AM

After reading up on this today I'm seriously considering returning my OEM version of WinXP Home and going for the retail version. I know it's $100 more, but there appears to be too many limitations with the OEM version. I bought the OEM version because a friend suggested it so I could save some money, but now I'm not so sure it was a wise idea.

What is your experience with using an OEM version? I would like to hear what others have experienced using this version.

Thanks.

More about : winxp home oem oem

a b B Homebuilt system
February 8, 2008 3:49:31 AM

OEM is the same as the Retail (same software) the only differences are the packaging, and you don't have the umpteen million offers/fliers or bloatware bundled with em. Save your money tho, and buy XP Pro instead (you'll thank me later)

As a side note DO NOT BUY THE UPGRADE EDITION, OEM is fine, but stay away from the upgrade.
February 8, 2008 3:55:46 AM

Thanks, IH8U. However, I was reading a forum thread about this on CNET and there seems to be a lot of limitations involved with the OEM version.

==================

The following is from this post on the forum:

ALL OEM copies can only be installed clean: (that is, the hard drive must be formatted before XP OEM can be installed). They cannot be used to perform an upgrade of an existing Operating System so make sure you back up all necessary data and files BEFORE installing XP OEM, since the format of the Hard Drive will erase ALL data on it.

There are two types of OEM CDs: 1) an OEM version created by a system manufacturer. These copies are usually "BIOS-locked", and can only be used on the exact machine they were created for. 2) a "FULL OEM", or "FULL OEM DSP". These may be installed on any IBM-compatible machine. These may or may not be provided with a factory-built machine, but are usually purchased separately for installation a home-built machine.

You will be making a trade-off in buying an OEM version. YOU will trade the ability to upgrade an existing installation of Windows (and save your data and programs) and the legal right to install the copy on a new machine, (if you should change your old machine for a new one), for a big savings in the initial cost of Windows XP.

==================

There are plenty more posts there, which made me think the OEM version isn't the best route to go. I thought about XP pro, but it doesn't offer anything I really need.
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
February 8, 2008 4:01:04 AM

You ought to be fine with OEM, alot of retailers offer OEM copies as like a builders copy you can call it. On the upgrade, if you reuse any of your parts, then technically you are still using that OEM copy with the hardware you purchased it with, no?
February 8, 2008 4:03:48 AM

Correct, but the OEM version does not come with full customer support, like the full version does. At least that's what I've learned online. Also, I'm wondering if I would be able to upgrade to Vista later with an OEM version?
February 8, 2008 4:26:22 AM

Why not just buy Vista home premium now? It sucked a year ago but it runs real smooth now. Besides SP1 is due out this month for Vista. If you dont jump on the Vista wagon now you might miss out. Windows 7 is set to launch next year. I think I read somewhere that MS is dropping XP this June anyhow. Once they drop it no more updates and possibly no more support either. Check into it. Most people these days only stick with XP because they get a higher 3dmark 06 score. Whoopie.
February 8, 2008 4:38:12 AM

I had a lot of people tell me the same thing when I was first trying to decide. In the end I decided to get XP Home and let Vista work out all its kinks. I can always upgrade later, if I want to, that is.

Right now I just want to know if I should hang on to this OEM version or spring for the full retail version. I'm not even sure if this is the "full OEM" version yet. I bought this from ClubIt and I'm discovering they're a bunch of morons over there. So far the only thing I know is that on ZipZoomFly they list the manufacturer SKU of OEM XP Home as N09-01152, but on ClubIt it is N09-01991.

I don't know if these numbers mean anything, but considering how badly they screwed up my motherboard order I'm not at all confident they sold me the "full" OEM version.
February 8, 2008 4:40:10 AM

IH8U said:
As a side note DO NOT BUY THE UPGRADE EDITION, OEM is fine, but stay away from the upgrade.

I have the Home upgrade edition. It's perfectly fine as long as you have an old windows 98/ME disc lying around to install it with.
February 8, 2008 4:45:14 AM

I agree with randomizer. On my current PC I have the XP Home upgrade and have never had any issues with it whatsoever. I still have my Win98SE disc and booklet handy just in case.
February 8, 2008 5:05:09 AM

I bought a 2 disk builders set of XP (OEM) 6-7 years ago when it first came out and have been useing it all theses years.

Today UPS brought me my -new- OEM XP with SP2 built in...now I don't have an issue with HD's over the 160GB mark on a clean install.

$89 USD @ Tigerdirrect.
February 8, 2008 5:16:00 AM

I think I would feel better if I just got the full version. I already sent ClubIt a return request. This should be interesting....
February 8, 2008 7:49:45 AM

OEM:

Sold with hardware and does not include MS support.
Can be upgraded.
When you change computers it becomes a problem because it is only meant to be put on one computer, if you upgrade hardware it often will fail WGA.

Retail:

Sold as a stand alone product, MS support is included (phone number is not toll free and you wait hours sometimes to speak to a human about your problem).
Can be upgraded.
If you upgrade hardware it will often fail WGA.
you currently are allowed to move it to a new computer, the old computer has to be wiped of the OS. Calling MS to fix the new WGA hassle can take time.

OEM software is not allowed to be returned in most cases.
Retail can be returned if you have not opened it.

OEM functions the same as retail, it's just cheaper.

MS support sucks unless you are paying for it.

If you have questions about MS software and support go to the MS site and research it, your answers will be more accurate.

MS is stopping the sale of XP this year, support

http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostI...

http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostI...

http://forums.microsoft.com/genuine/showpost.aspx?posti...

http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostI...

http://forums.microsoft.com/Genuine/ShowPost.aspx?PostI...

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/default.mspx

http://oem.microsoft.com/downloads/public/seo/winxp_sp2...

Read let knowledge be your guide.
February 8, 2008 8:02:11 AM

bobbknight said:
Read let knowledge be your guide.


I have been. So I post in forums to learn more.
February 8, 2008 8:54:04 AM

don't see what's wrong with buying OEM... after all, when are you ever going to phone microsoft.... they're product is **** anyways, so w/e.. go with Vista 32-bit, 'less you like running benchmarks and doign nothign else on your pc...
a b B Homebuilt system
February 8, 2008 9:08:42 AM

There's not a thing wrong with OEM, if you are willing to live with the limitations. For some people it's fine, for other's, like me, there is no way. Been there, done it. It doesn't work for me.
I only buy the full retail versions, I like having options.
February 8, 2008 9:41:40 AM

Buy the OEM, it is not the same one that you get with a Dell. Save the cash, when you decide to get Vista put the $100 to a full version of Vista instead of getting an upgrade copy. Upgrade copies are a pain in the a$$. Who calls ultra useless MS tech support anyway, I'd rather throw my computer in the street.
February 8, 2008 6:17:11 PM

IH8U said:
OEM is the same as the Retail (same software) the only differences are the packaging, and you don't have the umpteen million offers/fliers or bloatware bundled with em. Save your money tho, and buy XP Pro instead (you'll thank me later)

As a side note DO NOT BUY THE UPGRADE EDITION, OEM is fine, but stay away from the upgrade.



not true. the biggest issue I have with OEM copies of windows is the fact that you (legally) have to buy another copy if you change out your motherboard. if/when you change out your motherboard, you will have to buy either an upgrade copy of windows, or another OEM copy. with an upgrade copy, you can change out your motherboard as often as you want.

As long as you have any windows disc in your possession (or if you have windows on your hard drive already) you can use the upgrade copy to install. If you already have a windows disc, buy the upgrade copy. If you don't have the windows disc, you can make a bootable windows disc from the files that are on a windows computer, and then use that as your windows disc. Just keep this disc with your upgrade copy

February 8, 2008 6:59:01 PM

The only benefit of the retail version is that 6 years from now you can still install it on your new 8 core quad sli rig, but why would you want to? I have swapped oem licenses to a new machine in my home at least 3 times for 3 different oem Emachine licenses without a hitch. The retail copy is like throwing away money.
February 8, 2008 7:05:02 PM

sepayne21 said:
not true. the biggest issue I have with OEM copies of windows is the fact that you (legally) have to buy another copy if you change out your motherboard. if/when you change out your motherboard, you will have to buy either an upgrade copy of windows, or another OEM copy. with an upgrade copy, you can change out your motherboard as often as you want.


UNTRUE!! I bought an OEM XP disc with a hardware upgrade back when they were still presesing discs pre-SP1. I have since slipstreamed it with SP2 to save downloading hundreds of MB of updates, but this disc has been through 3 mobo upgrades and it re-activates every time and I get all the updates from windowsupdate without problem (read: it passes WGA). As for legal, I don't believe the EULA on the OEM is any different from the retail (never read them both in detail, but it would surprise me if they were different), you just don't get MS tech support free (not worth much anyway) with OEM. If you buy OEM you're on your own for tech support, which is why they are much less expensive - you are saving the money MS is charging you up front for anticipated tech support.

True an OEM disc wouldn't let you 'upgrade' a windows installation, but then again, why would you EVER want to do that? Clean install is always the way to go with any windows installation.

I've always used OEM discs and never had any problems.

my .02$

-J
February 8, 2008 7:10:21 PM

I can't send it back because it's software. Judging by the comments I suppose it won't be as bad as I thought. The problem I was having is that it says "For System Builder's" on my OEM bag and I figured they sent me the wrong one. I was trying to find out if this is a "Full" OEM version or not. So is the "system builder's" version any different than the "full" OEM version?
February 8, 2008 7:21:14 PM

dcinmich said:
I was trying to find out if this is a "Full" OEM version or not. So is the "system builder's" version any different than the "full" OEM version?



There is only 1 OEM version...regardless of what they call it, OEM = full version.

Always buy OEM.

If you ever have to install on a new machine you can simply call Microsoft and they’ll activate the key again.

Get XP pro, Vista premium or Ultimate OEM
February 8, 2008 7:24:27 PM

They TELL you that you have to buy a new one if you ever move to other hardware, but the worst case scenario is you have to call the activation hotline and tell them that you only have the software installed on one PC. Ive used the copy of XP pro and licence key from a gateway laptop i bought in early 2002 on at least 7 different PCs since then, only a couple of those required the phone call. Recently bought Vista Premium OEM and have had it on 2 different PCs, just had to call in.
February 8, 2008 7:51:36 PM

Thanks everyone. I appreciate all your help :) 
February 8, 2008 7:57:20 PM

randomizer said:
I have the Home upgrade edition. It's perfectly fine as long as you have an old windows 98/ME disc lying around to install it with.

I think the issue he was getting at with upgrade editions is that like you said you have to have another copy of Windows lying around. I have XP Home upgrade, but when my ME CD broke the XP disc became useless until I got another 98 disc. Funny thing is that Vista upgrade versions do not work the same way. You can install the full version with nothing but the upgrade disc. I'm not at all tryin to start another Vista vs XP debate, but if you do decide to go with Vista and buy retail, don't waste your money on full version. Ultimate Upgrade edition is pricey, but a good value at $249, since you get both 32 and 64 and two seperate keys. Technically you only have 1 liscense but you can activate both without issue and I doubt MS will be kicking down your door for it.
February 8, 2008 8:43:51 PM

jnjkele said:
UNTRUE!! I bought an OEM XP disc with a hardware upgrade back when they were still presesing discs pre-SP1. I have since slipstreamed it with SP2 to save downloading hundreds of MB of updates, but this disc has been through 3 mobo upgrades and it re-activates every time and I get all the updates from windowsupdate without problem (read: it passes WGA). As for legal, I don't believe the EULA on the OEM is any different from the retail (never read them both in detail, but it would surprise me if they were different), you just don't get MS tech support free (not worth much anyway) with OEM. If you buy OEM you're on your own for tech support, which is why they are much less expensive - you are saving the money MS is charging you up front for anticipated tech support.

True an OEM disc wouldn't let you 'upgrade' a windows installation, but then again, why would you EVER want to do that? Clean install is always the way to go with any windows installation.

I've always used OEM discs and never had any problems.

my .02$

-J


I've used an OEM copy of windows before(dell) and installed it on one of my custom builds. I'm not saying it won't work, but I am saying it is not a legal copy(when you move it to a different motherboard). when you buy an OEM copy it is tied to the FIRST motherboard you install it to. I couldn't find a review for xp (I have read it before and the rules are the same as the OEM for vista, but just couldn't find it right now) but here is one for a vista OEM. it explains basically what I said.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070130-8730.html

"What's missing from the OEM version?"

"OEM software is also tied to the motherboard it is first installed on. Unlike the retail versions of Windows which can be transferred to a new computer, OEM versions are not transferable."

before you tell someone they are wrong, RESEARCH it for yourself instead of talking out of your butt. Also, I would recommend reading the differences in two products before proclaiming they have the same rules.
February 9, 2008 12:22:07 AM

That may be with vista, but my dads XP OEM disc went through two completely different systems (including mobo). No calling microsoft, just activated over the net.

On the other hand, Vista Ultimate Retail required a phone call after a reformat because it said it was already activated. It was installed onto the same system.
February 9, 2008 12:53:18 AM

Actuall OEM's are Not Tied to Mobo's.

MS may try and tell you that, but MS does not enforce that because it's not enforcable in a court of law.

You still are not allowed to run it on more than one computer, but you are not tied to the one Mobo.

MS lies all the time about licensing.
Years ago they tried to require companies to but two copies of Windows per PC, Some Companies even Paid, but they have since given up that argument. (Again, they never actually took any company to court who refured to buy two copies per PC.)

Note: The Two Copies of Windows Per PC ties directly to the OEM argument.
February 9, 2008 1:06:58 AM

Has Microsoft ever gone after anybody for reusing an OEM? Or even using the same one on two PCs simultaniasly? I'm talking about home users here not somebody selling hundreds of computers with only one copy of Windows installed on all of them (I worked for a guy who did that and even he never got in trouble). I'm not going to lie, I buy my OSs legit, but at the same time have no issue re-using it for my own personal use as many times as I want.
February 9, 2008 1:29:08 AM

i would prefer OEM than Retail, its much cheaper and its basically the same, just that with OEM you dont get MS tech support free
February 9, 2008 1:33:54 AM

OEM disks supplied with retail purchased computers are likely burned disks by the manufacturer and could be bios locked, but these disks are different than a purchased OEM version. Big manufacturers typically buy licenses, as these are mass produced systems it save M$FT money to let them burn a recovery disk.

OEM disks [purchased]: full version.
There is no OEM upgrade version that I am aware of.

Retail version: Full version same as oem except fancier packaging maybe a manual too.

Retail upgrade: Full version on the disk, but you have to put your old disk in the drive for verification of previous perchase.

There is no limit as far as I know of as to how many times you can install / change hardware etc. As fast as this happens it's unlikely you will upgrade even 3 times before you buy a new OS of some sort.

In buying an OEM disk and not being able to "upgrade" perse is ill conceived... it is always in your best interest when upgrading to install fresh.
February 9, 2008 1:58:36 AM

I don't know why anybody would want to upgrade on OS. It'd be like cutting off one of your nuts to make the other look bigger.
February 9, 2008 2:41:58 AM

purplerat said:
I don't know why anybody would want to upgrade on OS. It'd be like cutting off one of your nuts to make the other look bigger.
I don't know why anyone would want to upgrade an OS, to Vista that is. :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  Just kidding.
February 9, 2008 2:47:56 AM

Lol @ Zorg.

Well, I am stuck with the OEM either way so I might as well be happy with it and move on.

Thanks everyone.
February 9, 2008 3:02:36 AM

Considering I never had to contact MS support, I'll buy an OEM copy any day.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 9, 2008 3:34:13 AM

And I think on OEM, as long as you are using at least 1 piece of hardware that you got with OS, your ok, b/c correct me if I'm wrong, but don't places sometimes have to give you a cheapy piece of hardware just so they can sell it to you?
February 9, 2008 3:57:31 AM

I know what you're getting at Zorg, but in reality trying upgrade XP to Vista will usually break and ends up as a huge nightmare. Thats why MS includes the ability to do a complete clean install of Vista from the upgrade disc. They just forgot to put in anything that actually checks to see whether or not you actually own a copy of Windows to upgrade from.
February 9, 2008 5:20:05 AM

lets go ahead and clear this OEM stuff up shall we? I have had a OEM winxp home sp1 disc that i bought almost 5 years ago. Since that initial install, I have changed out every single component on my computer 5 times and installed windows on my machine alone about 15 times (thanks windows!). I have also installed that version of windows on and can count it running on at least 10 other machines and every single one, including the one i am using to type this out is running fine. micro$oft will try and bully you on the phone but poor Habeeb just can't seem to understand the words 'my northbridge fan too a **** and fried the northbridge so i needed a new setup'...he blithely authorizes the installation again and again...hell, so long as i only install it on my machine once a year and that's it, i can activate over the internet every single time.

im not advocating piracy, theft, copyright infringement, vandalism, robbery, killing bill gates grandma etc because its wrong, immoral...blah blah blah. to save time, yes i download everything, no i dont pay for anything, yes i have cheated those poor recording artists and actors and directors and software programmers out of tens of thousands of dollars...and no, i dont feel bad nor will i ever.

oh and vista blows goats, if i could remove it and install xp on my dell laptop i would...but then i dont have my drivers...dell sux too...the whole world sux...ima go jump off a cliff without a parachute now.
February 9, 2008 5:57:36 AM

jrnyfan said:
I have also installed that version of windows on and can count it running on at least 10 other machines and every single one, including the one i am using to type this out is running fine....im not advocating piracy, theft..... to save time, yes i download everything, no i dont pay for anything, yes i have cheated those poor recording artists and actors and directors and software programmers out of tens of thousands of dollars...and no, i dont feel bad nor will i ever.
You aren't advocating it, you are actually doing it.

You sir are a thief, you and the people like you are the cause of all the BS that we have to deal with regarding DRM etc. etc. etc.

That's funny, I'm a thief but I don't advocate it. That's the most hypocritical thing that I have ever heard. What a dork.

Go climb back into your dark hole.
February 9, 2008 4:57:59 PM

Quote:
yes i have cheated those poor recording artists and actors and directors and software programmers out of tens of thousands of dollars...and no, i dont feel bad nor will i ever.

Yup, you're a sleeze bag.
!