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Which version of XP should I get?

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April 3, 2008 5:58:49 PM

In the next few weeks I'm going to be building a computer for my 11-year-old son with cast-off parts from my computer. I'm trying to figure out if he'll need the retail version of Windows XP or the OEM version.

What's the difference (besides $100) between the retail version and OEM?

If I get the OEM version and his machine totally crashes and I need to reload the OS, can I re-use the OEM version or is it a one shot deal?

I have the retail Home version of XP which I know I can re-use if it's only on one system.

Thanks

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a b B Homebuilt system
April 3, 2008 6:07:27 PM

Microsquishy will generally allow you to re-activate if you explain to them why you need to do it, at least they have for me.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 3, 2008 6:28:26 PM

OEM is supposed to be locked to one system for the rest of its life...reinstalls are not normally an issue. Worst case you just call ms and they say "Is the software installed on only one computer?" you say yes. they give you the activation number and away you go. But this only seems to happen if you reinstall often. if its like once a year they do not even seem to care.
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April 3, 2008 6:43:59 PM

If I get the OEM version and upgrade my kid's machine, lets say with a new MOBO, will I still be able to use the OEM version?

You see I'll upgrade my kid's machine with my old parts as I upgrade. Gives me a reason and an excuse for the wife.

Thanks
April 3, 2008 6:58:09 PM

Yes, you can reinstall the OS again.
Worse case scenario you just call MS and they will re-activate.

They key is that you tell them it's not installed on another system.
April 3, 2008 7:07:05 PM

More often than not, when I've had to reactivate a copy on a reloaded system, it hasn't even required a phone call. I'm fairly certain you're allowed to activate the same copy multiple times as long as their system believes you're doing it from the same physical computer (as you would do recovering from a system failure)

I have called Microsoft once about a FrontPage activation issue... I honestly explained my situation and the lady gave me the code to continue.
April 3, 2008 7:07:30 PM

nukemaster said:
OEM is supposed to be locked to one system for the rest of its life...reinstalls are not normally an issue. Worst case you just call ms and they say "Is the software installed on only one computer?" you say NO. they give you the activation number and away you go. But this only seems to happen if you reinstall often. if its like once a year they do not even seem to care.

When they ask if it is installed on only one computter you want to answer YES.
The activation issue only comes up on an old system if you change the MB or drive the OS is on. Any NEW install six months after the other does not need you to call MS.

I have two copies of OEM Home,the first is a two disk builders set that I bought when XP was first out,the 2nd with SP2 preinstalled from Tiger Dirrect two months ago for $89...great for setting up new 500GB drives and saves me from makeing a slipstream or haveing to partiton the HD.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 3, 2008 8:47:53 PM

opppsy...lol my bad.....early morning for me or at least thats my excuse..

I installed 2 times on the same machine....had to call...but last time when i changed the board....no call was needed....i am happy :) 
April 3, 2008 9:50:14 PM

I thought MS gave you three online activations a year before a call is necessary. I've reinstalled twice (old system, then built a new one) and no problems. If you need a copy of XP Pro, you can get the retail pro upgrade from HP for $78.
April 3, 2008 10:23:41 PM

GinoS said:
If I get the OEM version and upgrade my kid's machine, lets say with a new MOBO, will I still be able to use the OEM version?

You see I'll upgrade my kid's machine with my old parts as I upgrade. Gives me a reason and an excuse for the wife.

Thanks


You will probably be able to do this without any problems, but you will be violating your user agreement. OEM, like another post already said, is tied to that single computer. Microsoft defines a single computer as the motherboard. you can change out every single component of the computer, but as soon as you change out the first motherboard you use with an install and install to another board, you violate the user agreement.

as stated before, they will probably let you do this, but don't count on it if it doesn't work... If I were you, I'd buy an upgrade. As long as you have a previous copy of windows (I don't think it matters what version) lying around, you'll be able to install to as many new mobos as you want without violating user agreements.
April 4, 2008 12:00:14 AM

I think it is 3 activations (at least for the upgrade or whatever its called), but is that 3 total or 3 per year (like orion said)?
April 4, 2008 12:39:53 AM

I just talked to Microsoft. The previous poster is right about violating the OEM agreement. Also, I think it's impossible to find an XP "upgrade" at this point. I do have an old version of Windows 98 SE lying around. If I had the upgrade I could use that.

Thanks for the advice everyone.
April 4, 2008 12:47:06 AM

HP online has the Pro upgrade last time I checked, but it's a two week wait.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 4, 2008 2:17:51 AM

What MS says and what they do are two different things. According tot he EULA, with the OEM version:

1. You get squat from MS Tech Support
2. You can not use the OEM OS to upgrade to Vista
3. You can not ever use that OS on another box

Let me tell you my experiences related to Item 3 and OEM.

A. Built my 11 years old's (Son No. 3) box....well actually he did all but mount the CPU and Cooler.....of course I was holding his hand the whole way. We got done and did the OS install and activation via phone as he had no internet in his room since I hadn't run a cable yet. Then I updated all the drivers to latest version and we lost sound. After a dozen tries at various things, I gave up and wiped the HD and stared again, this time sticking with the "old" sound driver.

When we went to re-activate, again by phone, MS refused. Accused me of multiple build sand trying toi get away with something. After 3 days of yelling and e-mails they let me reactivate.

B. Son No. 2 upgraded his RAM and gave two sticks of his old 512's to his brother. This was like 2 months ago. So Son No. 1 pops in 1 of the sticks (MoBo only had 3 slots) and turns on box. Windows boots and notes a change in hardware configuration....and wants to reactivate. Now MS says you need to change like 7 things before you are supposed to have to do this but I figure no bigga deal and tell it to do itself over the net. It says it can't find a internet connection. So I reboot and same thing. So I boot Firefox and FF has no trouble finding a internet connection. So I try authenticating manually and it still won't go.

I call MS, they tell em since it is OEM, I have to pay for tech support. I tell em to scratch my ass.....this is not a technical problem it's customer service problem. They give me two more product ID numbers and it still won't work. I go up to 2nd level support and then a supervisor who both tell me I am trying to pull something. I say screw em and figure he will go back to the 1 GB.

Take out the stick and reboot and now back the way it was originally, it still won't go....wants to authenticate via internet on boot but can't find internet even tho everything is the same. So I reboot and tell it no, then after verifying again that FF works fine, I try manually authenticating and it works (again, with just the original two sticks). So now I figure, it wouldn't dare try and make me authenticate twice within 5 minutes so I pop the 3rd stick in and reboot and now it doesn't notice and is no problem.

BTW, ya might wanna do this. Buy a copy of Vista Business /Ultimate and then tell them you want a downgrade to XP. Put XP on son's box....and put Vista in a drawer till ya need it.

http://asia.cnet.com/crave/2007/09/24/downgrade-your-vi...
April 4, 2008 2:39:58 AM

Personally, I would bite the bullet and pay the extra $100 for retail.

I don't wanna be bothered with asking for permission to reinstall.
April 4, 2008 3:36:25 AM

And Microsoft wonders why people pirate their OS - so they don't have to put up with this crap! Just my 2 Cents :) 
April 4, 2008 5:33:58 AM

Vista is a very nice OS. I've been using it for over a year now on my primary PC with very few problems. I haven't had nary a hiccup in the last 6 months.

OEM and retail are exactly the same except retail comes with MS tech support. When you buy the OEM, you ARE the tech support. Both versions require activation upon major system changes / reinstallations.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 4, 2008 4:07:21 PM

jkflipflop98 said:
OEM and retail are exactly the same except retail comes with MS tech support.


Two other differences:

1. Retail can be transferred to another box when you upgrade, if ya use OEM can't migrate the OS to the new box.

2. Vista Ultimate Retail and Upgrade comes with both the 32 bit and 64 bit versions. Vista OEM only comes in either 32 bit or 64 bit.

Also, keep in mind that the TS is time limited and, at least used to be, maxed out after your second call.


a b B Homebuilt system
April 4, 2008 5:37:30 PM

Quote:
I cant think of any reason you would put together a new pc and use an old operating system.


Reasons might include

1. Performance - With every possible hardware configuration you can imagine, any older MS OS will out perfrom the newer OS.

2. Reliability / Stability - MS has had 7 years to fix the bugaboos in XP, just over 1 in Vista. There is a reason people who make their living in IT are still buying XP for their deployments. The fact that any one individual "never had a problem" does not change that fact. I know many people why never had a flat tire, that doesn't mean tires don't get flats.

3. Compatibility - XP has 35,000 compatible programs.....Vista has about 1,500. The HCL for XP is much larger than Vista's. This is no knock on the OS, but with 7 years to "get with the program", the hardware and software vendors have quite a leg up with XP and still catching up with Vista.

The items above have been true with every new OS and should be no surprise. NT4 got IT friendly with SP3, NT5 (Win2k) & XP(NT5.1) got IT friendly with SP2 and my guess is items 2 and 3 above will be much less of a concern once Vista reaches the same level of maturity.
April 4, 2008 6:22:30 PM

jaguarskx said:
Personally, I would bite the bullet and pay the extra $100 for retail.

I don't wanna be bothered with asking for permission to reinstall.



y'all are freakin crazy OEM is the same thing as the shiny disk you get in the retail box there is no difference... the only difference is a manual and shiny box.

Ways to get around activation for use on the same box..... Use GHOST.

Set up your system activate it check to make sure everything works then ghost it.

Now if something doesn't work ghost back to the first state and Windows won't be any the wiser. :heink: 

I have ghosted and reghosted more times than I can count, never once been told to call M$FT.
April 4, 2008 6:27:49 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
Two other differences:

1. Retail can be transferred to another box when you upgrade, if ya use OEM can't migrate the OS to the new box.



Also, keep in mind that the TS is time limited and, at least used to be, maxed out after your second call.



This is absurd. How is a disk going to know that it was installed on another box before hand?

Anyone needing to call M$FT TS should take their computer to a tech as they will just make more of a mess of things than anything else... :pt1cable: 
April 4, 2008 6:52:55 PM

To the OP, usually older parts are compatible with Ubuntu, you'd be surprised at how easy the isntall goes and any game that is more than 2 or 3 years old has been stuck in the linux repositores for download...just like window's add remove programs.

www.ubuntu.com www.kubuntu.org

All are completely free, has open office, evolution email client, firefox, i forget the name of the music and video player but it's really not much different than windows, there are 2 major issues that hold it back.

1. it's not very compatible with newer hardware
2. the windows libraries only run certain windows games, granted it's most of the mainstream ones but it's still not many

However as a caveot there are a TOOONNNNNNN of linux games that are the same as the windows ones, most are from 2~3 years ago though. Might be fine for your son though, and it's completely legal and free. Also to test for compatibility just download the OS and burn it to CD, then boot to it off the DVD-ROM. It will load the GUI and let you use the internet and everything without even installing it to give it a trial and see if you like it.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 5, 2008 2:14:55 AM

pip_seeker said:
This is absurd.


I agree but it's still a fact of life.

Quote:
How is a disk going to know that it was installed on another box before hand?


It doesn't. MS servers know though. You might not remember but there is this little thing called product activation. You can install it, you can run it foir 30 days but it won't activate and therefore go into crippled state after the 30th day. You know that big long list of numbers and letters you typed in when you "activated" windows ? The activation algorithm takes that bunch of numbers and letters and associates it with the specific hardware serial numbers in the box you installed on. That stuff is sent to MS servers and your OS number is permanently identified with the unique identifiers on each of your components.

MS Product Activation 101:

Paraphrased from http://www.helpwithwindows.com/WindowsXP/activation.htm...

This is based upon XP but it's substantially the same for Vista.

MS Product Activation is a license validation procedure required by some proprietary computer software programs. Specifically, product activation refers to a method where a software application hashes hardware serial numbers and an ID number specific to the product's license (a product key) to generate a unique Installation ID. This Installation ID is sent to the manufacturer to verify the authenticity of the product key and to ensure that the product key is not being used for multiple installations.You see there is this little thing called product activation.

Microsoft published the hardware components it uses to create the hardware hash, which is part of the Installation ID. The hardware hash is an eight byte value that is created by running 10 different pieces of information from the PC's hardware components through a one-way mathematical transformation:

1. Display Adapter
2. SCSI Adapter
3. IDE Adapter
4. Network Adapter MAC Address
5. RAM Amount Range (i.e. 0-64MB, 64-128MB, etc)
6. Processor Type
7. Processor Serial Number
8. Hard Drive Device
9. Hard Drive Volume Serial Number
10. CD-ROM / CD-RW / DVD-ROM

Additionally, whether or not the PC can be put into a docking station or accepts PCMCIA cards is also determined (the possibility of a docking station or PCMCIA cards existing means that hardware may disappear or seem changed when those devices are not present). Finally, the hardware hash algorithm has a version number.

Windows XP checks to see that it is running on the same or similar hardware that it was activated on. Reactivation is required if Windows XP detects that the hardware has changed "substantially". This check is performed after the SLP BIOS check discussed above, if the SLP BIOS check fails. This means that if your PC is pre-activated by the manufacturer, using the SLP pre-activation method, all the components in the PC could be swapped (including the motherboard, so long as the replacement motherboard was genuine and from the same OEM with the proper BIOS).

Microsoft uses different definitions for "substantially" changed. First there is a difference for PCs that are configured to be dockable. Additionally, the network adapter is given a superior "weighting.".

In a dockable PC, if a network adapter exists and is not changed, 9 or more of the other above values would have to change before reactivation would be required. If no network adapter exists or the existing adapter is changed, 7 or more changes (including the network adapter) will require a reactivation.

If the PC is not dockable and a network adapter exists and is not changed, 6 or more of the other above values would have to change before reactivation would be required. If a network adapter existed but is changed or never existed at all, 4 or more changes (including the changed network adapter if it previously existed) will require a reactivation.

The change of a single component multiple times (e.g. from display adapter A to display adapter B to display adapter C) is treated as a single change. The addition of components to a PC (adding a second hard drive) which did not exist during the original activation, would not trigger a reactivation. Reactivation would not be triggered by the modification of a component not listed above.

Reinstallation of Windows XP on the same or similar hardware and a subsequent reactivation can be accomplished an infinite number of times. Finally, the Microsoft activation clearinghouse system will automatically allow activation to occur over the Internet four times in one year on substantially different hardware. Every 120 days, the current configuration of a user's PC will become the new "base," so to speak. This means (for example) that on a non-dockable PC you could change 8 of the above parts without a reactivation. After 120 days, you could again change 8 parts. This last feature was implemented to allow even the most savvy power users to make changes to their systems and, if they must reactivate, do so over the Internet rather than necessitating a telephone call.


Now that is the "official story" but I have had to activate making no changes at all and simply adding a RAM stick.

Now if you change your MoBo, all bets are off. When you try and activate, MS servers will kick it back and say "UhUh, this OS serial number belongs on a machine with a different MoBo, so go suck eggs".


April 5, 2008 2:37:20 AM

pip_seeker said:
y'all are freakin crazy OEM is the same thing as the shiny disk you get in the retail box there is no difference... the only difference is a manual and shiny box.

Ways to get around activation for use on the same box..... Use GHOST.



I upgrade to new hardware about every 2 years. Ghost does squat when switching between different hardware and platforms (i.e. different mobo with different chipsets and also switching between AMD and Intel).
April 5, 2008 2:51:24 AM

jaguarskx said:
I upgrade to new hardware about every 2 years. Ghost does squat when switching between different hardware and platforms (i.e. different mobo with different chipsets and also switching between AMD and Intel).


Actually, ghost doesn't do squat. That'd be preferable to what ghost does cross platform. :lol: 
April 5, 2008 3:11:19 AM

Wow, Ive used my OEM licence off a Gateway laptop I got in 2002 on at least 5 different systems since then. Only had to call M$ on two of those. Say that its only on one system, and wala, they unlock it for you.
April 5, 2008 4:39:42 AM

From the OP.......

I will be upgrading this machine as I upgrade my computer. My son will get me my hand-me-down components until he 1.) starts building his own computers with his own money or 2.) wants a better machine to play games.

The only reason I'm not going with VISTA now for either machine is because of everything I hear about how such a nightmare VISTA is. What's the point of using an OS that's going to drive me crazy.

I know enough about computers to put a box together for my kid. I amazed more than anyone else that these machines I build actually work.

I going with the retail version of Windows XP. As much as I hate paying the full frieght, I'm not going to cheat anyone out of their work (even if they're all millionaires) by getting the OEM version and lying about the install if I need to reactivate it because I drop a new MOBO or CPU into my son's computer.

Thanks for all the input everyone. I appreciate the advice.
April 5, 2008 9:36:12 AM

At least download and run ubuntu off the cd, you might be quite surprised. and like i said it's all completely open source and free, and so are is all the open source software as well.
!