OEM OS? Quick Question

Looking to build a system (obviously, that's why I'm here) but unfortunately my actual software knowledge is lacking.

Checking out Newegg and the Vista Home Premium OEM is significantly cheaper than retail. What's the catch?

I get the OEM hardware comes with minimal stuff like cables and manuals. Is this the same for the software? No manual? I have a hard time believing that the $150 dollar-ish price difference is over a book.

I read the little disclaimer in the OEM...that it can only be installed on computers that are meant for resale....is that exclusively true, or can it be used by a system builder for themselves?

I'm obviously missing something everyone else gets...I think I must have fallen asleep somewhere along the way.


3 answers Last reply
More about quick question
  1. anyone can buy it, but the biggest difference is with OEM you can only (legally) install it on the first motherboard you install it on. Meaning you cannot (legally) change out your motherboard and install that OS on a new build. Note: Every other component of your computer is fair game to change out, but your motherboard is off limits acording to the rules with OEM. If you don't upgrade your motherboard very often, this could prove to be cost effective. Also, with the retail version, M$ will give you phone support for a certain time period whereas you will be charged for phone support with an OEM from day 1.

    I personally buy retail/upgrades because I upgrade motherboards once every year or two and this gives me a no hassle install every time.
  2. Thanks!
  3. I have the OEM version of Vista Ultimate 64 bit and have installed it 4 times. The last time on a different motherboard. Each time I installed it I had to call microsoft and ask for a new key to activate the OS and explain that I had a motherboard problem and had to replace the MB. They will ask you if this is the only computer that it is installed on, say yes and go on. I did hear that they will only allow you to do this 5 times. My last time was when I switched from the ASUS P5K Deluxe MB to my ASUS Rampage Formula MB back in June of 2008. They will let you reinstall if you have a reason and only have it on one machine.
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