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Windows 8 OEM vs System Builder

Last response: in Windows 8
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February 6, 2013 3:22:05 PM

The FAQ seems to have some outdated information and my first thread was not conclusive so lets try putting it this way:

I build a new computer about every 2 years. In between I upgrade parts.
I want a full copy of windows that I can transfer the license to a new system when I build it.

I see 2 "Full" versions of Windows 8 and there is no longer such thing as a "Full Retail" version

Newegg sells OEM - Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 64-bit (Full Version) - OEM
Amazon sells System Builder - Windows 8 Professional System Builder DVD 64-Bit

Both are $139.99

Are they the same? If not which one is best for gamers that build new systems and want to transfer the license?
February 6, 2013 3:27:01 PM

windows oem gives you one license. you can call microsoft to re use the existing license if you give them a good reason example: you had to replace your dead motherboard
retail version gives you nice packaging and oem comes with less of it aka meant for computer manufacturers
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February 6, 2013 3:28:49 PM

alvine said:
windows oem gives you one license. you can call microsoft to re use the existing license if you give them a good reason example: you had to replace your dead motherboard
retail version gives you nice packaging and oem comes with less of it aka meant for computer manufacturers


As far as I can tell ther is no such thing as a retail version. Can you link it for me? Neither Newegg or Amazon sell it.
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February 6, 2013 3:55:22 PM




Ok so here is what I'm getting from that link you provided. Please correct me if I'm missing something.

1. Microsoft is calling it "OEM System Builder" which to me means that the Newegg "OEM" and the Amazon "System Builder" are the same thing.

2. I can use the OEM System Builder on my personal computer if I go to this link Windows 8 System Builder Product--Personal Use License, fill in my name and e-mail address and check that I agree to the Personal Use License.

3. The Personal Use License is good to use on 1 personal computer and can be transfered to a new computer or sold with the old one.
"Can I transfer the software to another computer or user?
You may transfer the software to another computer that belongs to you. You may also transfer the software (together with the license) to a computer owned by someone else if a) you are the first licensed user of the software and b) the new user agrees to the terms of this agreement."

So in conclusion, I am good If I buy either the OEM from Newegg or System Builder from Amazon.

Is this correct?
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Best solution

a b * Windows 8
February 6, 2013 4:09:13 PM

They changed the licensing for windows 8. There is only 1 license version you can buy, oem system builder. They are the same, just not being called the whole name on either site. There is no retail version. Windows 7 oem version is also called "oem system builder" and both sites call it "oem" and "system builder" again.

When you install windows, the same license agreement will come up. You don't have to do it on the site. You won't have any issues transferring it.

Why waste money on pro?
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February 6, 2013 4:13:14 PM

k1114 said:
They changed the licensing for windows 8. There is only 1 license version you can buy, oem system builder. They are the same, just not being called the whole name on either site. There is no retail version. Windows 7 oem version is also called "oem system builder" and both sites call it "oem" and "system builder" again.

When you install windows, the same license agreement will come up. You don't have to do it on the site.

Why waste money on pro?



Excellent, thank you for the help.

I figured for the extra $40 bucks I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Plus I got the free Media center code and it only works on Pro. Not that I really use Media Center much but again, just to be safe.
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February 6, 2013 4:52:15 PM

1. YES. OEM version & System builder version are the same. Only "Full Retail" version is different.

3. The OEM license CANNOT be transfer to a new pc, because it is tied to the motherboard. You can change out any component EXCEPT the motherboard. HOWEVER, I have heard from many builders that they called Microsoft to transfer license with "legitimate reasons" such as dead CPU or motherboard, forcing you to change
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a b * Windows 8
February 6, 2013 6:20:30 PM

People need to realize windows 7 and windows 8 licensing differences.
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February 6, 2013 6:37:11 PM

goonbar79 said:
1. YES. OEM version & System builder version are the same. Only "Full Retail" version is different.

3. The OEM license CANNOT be transfer to a new pc, because it is tied to the motherboard. You can change out any component EXCEPT the motherboard. HOWEVER, I have heard from many builders that they called Microsoft to transfer license with "legitimate reasons" such as dead CPU or motherboard, forcing you to change



Hi, thanks for the attempt to help but here is what has been proven so far.

There is no Full Retail version of Windows 8, only the OEM System Builder version or Upgrade.

You can transfer the license.
This is straight from the Microsoft OEM System Builder Personal Use License website:

"Can I transfer the software to another computer or user?
You may transfer the software to another computer that belongs to you. You may also transfer the software (together with the license) to a computer owned by someone else if
a) you are the first licensed user of the software and
b) the new user agrees to the terms of this agreement."

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February 6, 2013 6:44:13 PM

goonbar79 said:
1. YES. OEM version & System builder version are the same. Only "Full Retail" version is different.

3. The OEM license CANNOT be transfer to a new pc, because it is tied to the motherboard. You can change out any component EXCEPT the motherboard. HOWEVER, I have heard from many builders that they called Microsoft to transfer license with "legitimate reasons" such as dead CPU or motherboard, forcing you to change


Correct for windows 7.

Wrong for windows 8.

Look it up at Microsoft's site or visit the link i posted above. Windows 8 changed the entire license agreement.
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February 6, 2013 7:31:47 PM

ibjeepr said:
Hi, thanks for the attempt to help but here is what has been proven so far.

There is no Full Retail version of Windows 8, only the OEM System Builder version or Upgrade.

You can transfer the license.
This is straight from the Microsoft OEM System Builder Personal Use License website:

"Can I transfer the software to another computer or user?
You may transfer the software to another computer that belongs to you. You may also transfer the software (together with the license) to a computer owned by someone else if
a) you are the first licensed user of the software and
b) the new user agrees to the terms of this agreement."


Sorry, I didn't pay attention to the title.. I was referring to Windows 7, so that was my mistake.



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February 6, 2013 7:55:46 PM

Best answer selected by ibjeepr.
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May 28, 2013 9:58:05 PM

ibjeepr said:
Best answer selected by ibjeepr.


I agree, reading the forum, he gave great info that I needed about the windows OEM that has been confusing me for 3 months.. and yeah I just came here for info great question by the way.thanks
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January 19, 2014 5:14:44 PM

ibjeepr said:
goonbar79 said:
1. YES. OEM version & System builder version are the same. Only "Full Retail" version is different.

3. The OEM license CANNOT be transfer to a new pc, because it is tied to the motherboard. You can change out any component EXCEPT the motherboard. HOWEVER, I have heard from many builders that they called Microsoft to transfer license with "legitimate reasons" such as dead CPU or motherboard, forcing you to change



Hi, thanks for the attempt to help but here is what has been proven so far.

There is no Full Retail version of Windows 8, only the OEM System Builder version or Upgrade.

You can transfer the license.
This is straight from the Microsoft OEM System Builder Personal Use License website:

"Can I transfer the software to another computer or user?
You may transfer the software to another computer that belongs to you. You may also transfer the software (together with the license) to a computer owned by someone else if
a) you are the first licensed user of the software and
b) the new user agrees to the terms of this agreement."




No full retail version ? whats this then ?
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00FRAE7MU/ref=ox_sc...
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a b * Windows 8
January 19, 2014 6:22:59 PM

That's 8.1 which has retail. 8 just has oem which covers any scenario with its personal use license. This thread is before 8.1 was out and they changed the license. 8.1 doesn't have personal use under oem so retail and oem are now separate again.
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January 20, 2014 12:36:10 AM

K1114 what's the best version of 8.1 to get then? As I'll be buying a copy Fri for my new build is that copy I linked ok for a build? And thanks for your info was helpful
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January 20, 2014 1:26:33 AM

k1114 said:
That's 8.1 which has retail. 8 just has oem which covers any scenario with its personal use license. This thread is before 8.1 was out and they changed the license. 8.1 doesn't have personal use under oem so retail and oem are now separate again.


K1114 what's the best version of 8.1 to get then? As I'll be buying a copy Fri for my new build is that copy I linked ok for a build? And thanks for your info was helpful
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a b * Windows 8
January 20, 2014 9:40:01 AM

Retail comes with both 32 bit and 64 bit and is transferable. Oem is cheaper but is only one version and not transferable. Most people just get oem because it's cheaper and you can only use one version anyways. Also if they get a new pc, they would get the new windows during that time so there is no point in transferring.
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January 20, 2014 11:20:18 AM

Ome 3 pound cheaper. I've gone with retail as I read some were you don't get support on Ome from Ms
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January 28, 2014 8:16:37 PM

I'm building a new pc and this is my first pc. I want to run bf4 so I'm getting windows 8. Is windows 8 system builder a download i would get when i make the computer, or is it something i would need before i put the parts together?
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July 28, 2014 9:47:11 PM

I got confused now with k1114 and yechivij answers. It says on the link that we can use it again IF removed from previous PC.
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a b * Windows 8
July 28, 2014 10:09:02 PM

You aren't being clear on which windows version you are talking about but the first bullet of each version says the if it's talking about retail or oem.
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July 29, 2014 4:52:24 AM

k1114 said:
You aren't being clear on which windows version you are talking about but the first bullet of each version says the if it's talking about retail or oem.


Sorry about that. I was browsing through this thread to know if I can transfer Windows 8.1 OS to another computer. I'm basically planning to build a new PC with a Windows 8.1 OS, but might sell the PC after a few months and use the OS to upgrade my Windows 7 from my old PC. Just want to confirm if I can do that before I purchuse it. Else, I just might try Linux.
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a b * Windows 8
July 29, 2014 8:46:29 AM

The retail version is transferable.
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July 30, 2014 2:06:23 AM

How can i determine if what I'm buying is a Windows 8.1 retail version? Does it clearly indicate on the packaging or should I be looking for label to verify if it's the retail version?
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a b * Windows 8
July 30, 2014 9:38:43 AM

Where are you buying it from? It should say.
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July 30, 2014 12:42:08 PM

Middle East. I just checked earlier, unfortunately only OEMs are available here.
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July 30, 2014 12:43:53 PM

Basically the reason Microsoft changed their licensing with Window 8.0/8.1 is because upgrades are going to be down through the store. New installs are System Builders to be used on machines built to be sold then a personal license for upgrades from OS's previous to Windows 8 and clean installs for system builder's personal use.
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a b * Windows 8
July 30, 2014 12:47:33 PM

I meant a store but a country would do. Middle east is too broad.
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July 30, 2014 6:01:16 PM

Doha, Qatar. Going to get it from a local store unless there's a way to buy a license online without needing the installers hard copy. If not then I guess I have no choice but just get the OEM version.
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