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Installing Win 7 OEM on a Win XP Dell?

Last response: in Windows 7
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April 25, 2012 9:31:01 AM

Hi, and apologies in advance for another OEM thread. I read the FAQs and did some searching, yet am (newly) confused.

I use a 4 year old Dell as a backup machine. It came shipped with Win XP installed. I've been wanting to upgrade it to Win 7.

It was my understanding Win 7 OEM was essentially only for system builders. That said, there I was in the aisle of a large electronics store, looking at Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade (retail, obviously) to upgrade from XP.

Along came the clerk. To keep it short, he ended up asking me why I don't just install an OEM version. I told him that, as far as I knew, it wouldn't comply with Microsoft's licensing agreement. He disagreed, and sent me over to a desk in the computer department, manned by two guys. They tell me the only difference between OEM and Retail was that the OEM version didn't include both 32 and 64bit versions, and that the OEM version didn't include tech support. They too assured me I could install the OEM version on my old Dell.

So what's the deal? I still don't believe I would be permitted to do so, yet all 3 guys actually seemed to be quite competent (?) and confident in their advice.

Can I, or can I not?
a b $ Windows 7
April 25, 2012 10:06:31 AM

Certain I read somewhere that a system builder can be an individual building his/her own machine to comply with the licence agreement. As long as the software remains with that machine it will be fine, but there are limitations to upgrades. Choose the 64bit version if you can, if you are able to increase RAM above 4gig it will be useful...
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a b $ Windows 7
April 25, 2012 10:10:26 AM

The short answer is yes you can. The licence agreement states that it should be installed with/on new hardware, so I'm assuming you bought it with something like a hard drive, a graphics card or something similar (even if you didn't, lets pretend you did).

However, the main limitations of an OEM licence is that you are your own technical support and that once it is installed and activated it cannot be transferred to another machine should yours break or you decide to upgrade. Retail/upgrade licences can be transferred to other machines.

Also, you're upgrading from Windows XP. This means that whether you go for an upgrade, fully packaged product or OEM licence you will still be doing a clean install as there is no direct upgrade path.
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April 25, 2012 10:34:52 AM

Thanks for the input, much appreciated.

In this case it's not a new build though and I'm not building anything, no new hardware... it's a Dell which I ordered some 4 years ago and it came completely assembled and with Windows XP already installed. Basically plug it in and go.

Hence why I don't believe the "system builder" thing applies here. All I've done to it is add some RAM and HDDs.
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a b $ Windows 7
April 25, 2012 10:36:04 AM

Your only concern will be if the hardware will support Win 7. Check this site:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/downloads/up...

The concern is some of the hardware may not be recognized by Win 7, even with updated drivers.

Even a package of screw purchased with the OEM OS will qualify at some places. As above, you are your own tech support, But isn't that what Tom's is for?

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a b $ Windows 7
April 25, 2012 10:43:57 AM

You can purchase the OEM from a licensed retailer like Amazon, but once the software is installed and activated it then has to stay with that machine. Then strictlly speaking it can't be sold on as software without accompanying the machine, hence you see licences offered on the likes of Ebay sold with bits of the original laptop etc to comply...
(I installed Win7 on a Dimension 5150C and it runs sweet-as-a-nut...)
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April 25, 2012 11:05:48 AM

Hi Trail, the hardware checks out ok, save for the network adapter - but Intel appears to have an updated driver available for Win 7.

I'm still not convinced the "system builder" license is applicable for my purposes though?
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a b $ Windows 7
April 25, 2012 11:43:10 AM

Can only advise based on experience, never had an activation failure yet, though had to phone in to the telephone activation a few times when there have been hardware changes. After all, practically speaking M'soft have gained twice by you installing two OSs on one machine, assuming that, like most of the rest of the world, you won't be trying to sell on your old XP licence...
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a b $ Windows 7
April 25, 2012 11:43:35 AM

You don't need a System Builders license, thats for those who go into building for a living. Just grab an OEM version in your desired flavour and install away. As others have stated - 1 OEM for 1 MB only.

I do advise backing everything (you data) up before proceeding with the install and be ready to reinstall all your programs. No big deal.

You will enjoy the diff.

edit: Google "System Builder's License". You'll see what I mean...
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April 25, 2012 11:58:53 AM

Traildriver said:
You don't need a System Builders license, thats for those who go into building for a living. Just grab an OEM version


But the OEM version is for system builders. It clearly states on the box "intended for system builders only" ;) 
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a b $ Windows 7
April 25, 2012 6:28:51 PM

pdxalex said:
But the OEM version is for system builders. It clearly states on the box "intended for system builders only" ;) 



Thus - buy anything at some stores and you qualify even screws or a HD cable. Others require the actual MB. Those people you talked to in the store were right. Just shop around. You will not be breaking any laws.

A System Builders License I understand to be for those who mass produce systems and put induvidual End User License stickers on the computer.

From Google, I got this info:

http://www.microsoft.com/oem/en/licensing/sblicensing/P...
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a b $ Windows 7
April 25, 2012 9:13:51 PM

dodger46 said:
Certain I read somewhere that a system builder can be an individual building his/her own machine to comply with the licence agreement. As long as the software remains with that machine it will be fine, but there are limitations to upgrades. Choose the 64bit version if you can, if you are able to increase RAM above 4gig it will be useful...



Hi :) 

Sorry you are wrong...a system builder is just what it sounds like... a company that BUILDS multiple machines, its to give guys like me, a chance of making a profit in my computer shops..

All the best Brett :) 
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a b $ Windows 7
April 25, 2012 9:15:49 PM

pdxalex said:
Hi Trail, the hardware checks out ok, save for the network adapter - but Intel appears to have an updated driver available for Win 7.

I'm still not convinced the "system builder" license is applicable for my purposes though?



Hi :) 

Legally an OEM is not legal for you....easy to understand as long as you know what OEM stands for....

And you are NOT a manufacturer...

All the best Brett :) 
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a b $ Windows 7
April 26, 2012 5:19:05 AM

Brett928S2 said:
Hi :) 

Sorry you are wrong...a system builder is just what it sounds like... a company that BUILDS multiple machines, its to give guys like me, a chance of making a profit in my computer shops..

All the best Brett :) 

I stand corrected! But pdxalex can upgrade his machine with a clean install according to this...
http://www.pcworld.com/article/174710/microsoft_says_wi...

And an individual builder can use an OEM version according to this
http://prntscr.com/8jkya
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