I was recently given my mothers old PC after she replaced it with a nice shiny new tablet pc. It is a Philips Freevents MT3900 dual core 2Gb Ram with 2x250Gb HDD as RAID 0, and came with a genuine and fully legal version of Vista Ultimate installed.
For my birthday she and my wife chipped in together to buy me a new motherboard bundle; an Asus M5A78L-M/USB3 with a quad core AMD Bulldozer FX4100 and two sticks of Patriot DDR3 4Gb Ram. I installed this along with the 250Gb hard rive from my old pc. All HDD are the same capacity and I intended to set them up as a RAID 0 array with 750Gb capacity. The DVD drive in the pc was an IDE one, and so my new motherboard would not attach. But more on that later.
With everything plugged in and looking good, I powered up the new pc. To my unexpected horror the pc would not boot up into the OS on the hard rives. Not knowing any better I thought that the BIOS would need to be told about the RAID 0 that two of the drives were originally set up with. Long story short I ended up deleting the MBR of all drives, and then ended up wiping both drives clean.
My intention had been to re download a version of windows Vista Ultimate 64bit and activate using the key on the certificate of authenticity sticker. But I needed an OS to do this. So I have been round the houses completely with using Ubuntu 12.10 on a USB and also installing to the hard rive, (Ubuntu apparently doesn't like RAID), trying to get a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate on a bootable USB.
I did actually manage to do this but kept getting the same error message during the install process as the files were being decompressed: files missing or corrupt, set up cannot continue. I attempted installing other versions of windows, 7 and 8, from DVD, with the same error. Reading up on this both in these forums and elsewhere, it seems its a well known error and nobody really knows for sure what the solution is.
After a hell of a lot of facffng around with Partition Wizard, Ubuntu, Memtest86+, USB unplugging, IDE versus SATA HDD set ups, swapping ram in and out, and one very angry wife later, I eventually got a version of windows 7 to complete the install. So now, for 30 days at least, I have a working machine. But I want a copy of Legal Vista Ultimate like I used to have.
Can anyone help?
OEM versions of Windows 7 and Vista 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).
Your copy of Windows is locked to the PC on which you purchased it. You cannot transfer that license to another PC.
You can upgrade any components or peripherals on your PC and keep your license intact. You can replace the motherboard with an identical model or an equivalent model from the OEM if it fails. However, if you personally replace or upgrade the motherboard, your OEM Windows license is null and void.