The computer I'm typing this on is running Windows 7 HP x64 OEM which I purchased. I have the physical installation disc.
I just put together a new system which is currently going through Memtest86 and some other diagnostics. I purchased a second copy of Windows 7 HP x64 OEM which is currently en route to my house via Eggsaver/USPS Innovations, beat only by Pony Express for slowest delivery method. I really want this new system up and running for the weekend since I'm impatient.
My question is can I use my existing install disc and then enter the OEM key later? I found this post which was helpful:
However, I am not sure if this only applies to the retail version or to both retail and OEM. My understanding is that OEM versions normally have the key entered as part of the imaging/duplication process (think Dell imaging thousands of systems to ship out). So I would like to make sure that I can enter the OEM key when it arrives via snail mail and not have to reinstall everything, download updates (my disc is pre-SP1, the new disc is SP1), etc.
OEM CD keys can be entered as part of the installation process or later upon activation. Please keep in mind that unlike retail keys, OEM keys are tied to the hardware that they are first registered to (usually when activated by the manufacturer). This means that while you will be able to reinstall Windows on the same machine over and over again you will not be able to activate it on another machine and may have trouble activating it if you significantly change the hardware.
I am aware of the OEM license restrictions -- that is why the license I purchased last time is staying with my wife's "new" computer. This Q6600 is going to a nice retirement home free from games and Visual Studio, where it can lazily refresh Facebook over and over while it waits for the bit bucket in the sky.