I have embarked upon my first build. My question is about Windows XP OEM vs. Retail. As everyone probably knows, the OEM is much cheaper. However, I have heard that they are not bootable, nor do they have drivers to support, among other things, ethernet or video. Can anybody tell me what, exactly, do I need to get my new computer up and running if I use OEM? Would I be better off spending the extra $90.00 for retail? Will I have the same problems if I buy the retail version?
There are two types of OEM when it comes to operating systems. The first is when a pre-built computer is purchased, there is an OEM disk that comes with the system, which can not be transferred to any other system, because that disk is designed to run only with the specific system components. The second type of OEM operating system is one that can be purchased, and that can be transferred to any other system, without the dependence on the systems components. The main difference between the two is that one is only meant for that specific system, and the other can be used on any system.
The system builders oem once installed and activated is married to your motherboard and can not be reused with your next build. You can however uprade everything else in your computer. Sometimes it requires reactivation and/or explanation. The retail version can be tranfered from system to system (but on only one system at a time and activated) and I believe can be sold. Dell and HP oems are system specific.
XP is mature enough and has most generic and improved drivers to get your system up and running well. Vista will get you up and running but require better drivers. New motherboards come with a driver disk that will have the drivers for all the components on the motherboard, but you should still download and install the newest drivers i.e. video. Ethernets are very generic and XP and/or MB driver disk is sufficient.