Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

What's the difference between OEM and retail version of windows 7?

Last response: in Windows 7
Share
February 11, 2013 8:30:36 AM

Hi there,

I'm sure a lot of people have asked this before but I want to be absolutely sure.

I'm considering building myself a computer but am still unsure what the differences between an OEM and retail version of windows 7.

How is OEM worse and do these things really matter? Also which one do most people get?

Thanks in advance.
February 11, 2013 8:35:32 AM

oem is one time install. if you try to install it on another computer you cant register it cuz they see its a different motherboard.

retail you can call them up and change the key over to another motherboard 5 times.

on oem if your motherboard dies and you cant find the same one to replace it you need to rebuy windows. upgrading anything else is fine though.
February 11, 2013 10:54:36 AM

Software-wise, OEM Windows 7 are identical to Retail versions. The only differences are of legal nature:

- OEM is locked to one computer, although the only component checked is the motherboard - you can change other components at will. I'm not completely sure, but after replacing the motherboard (e.g. when it fails and you get RMA for the exact same model) you might need to reactivate the system by phone.

- OEM does not come with free Microsoft direct support

- OEM is locked to the computer it is bought with (technically you can activate it on any other computer but that's against the purchase agreement, so from legal standpoint it is no different from installing a pirated version)

- OEM cannot be directly upgraded from an older version of Windows OS (if you are using Windows XP it is not an issue, because it is technically impossible to upgrade from XP to 7, you have to make a new, clean installation. Same applies to process of switching from 32-bit to 64-bit OS).



Related resources
February 11, 2013 6:44:34 PM

So do motherboards fail often? I assume not and I'm planning to get one from the Z77 series (if I get an i5 CPU) or an 970 series (for an fx-6300 CPU), which seem to be fairy well made and decent boards.

Also, do people use Microsoft support often? At the minute I use Vista and I've never had to use it, and that's Vista!
February 11, 2013 7:06:33 PM

Got my deal of computers and I can't remember that any motherboard ever failed (and we're speaking about using the machine for 8+ years). If you are using given computer for work, the necessity to re-register Windows is really the least of your concerns.

If you are really afraid you may go for Full Retail version but as it is almost twice as expensive as OEM version (when I was buying it the difference was higher that the price of top-shelf motherboard) I really doubt if it makes sense. Of course, if you plan to buy a new computer in a year or two, then retail version is an obvious choice.

And the tech support? Well, I used it once, when I had to register OS but haven't had net connection installed yet. With the official Microsoft Knowledge Base and various forums/newsgroups in the net there is no need, really.
February 11, 2013 7:24:15 PM

Well it sounds like OEM is the way to go. Thanks for all your help, been very useful.
February 13, 2013 2:32:11 PM

Rather than start a new thread I thought I'd try and get more responses here.

I've thought of something that may be a bummer for OEM versions. Do they receive all the updates that the retail version would, from the very small ones to the big service packs?
March 16, 2014 2:54:34 PM

Mullac said:
Rather than start a new thread I thought I'd try and get more responses here.

I've thought of something that may be a bummer for OEM versions. Do they receive all the updates that the retail version would, from the very small ones to the big service packs?


Yes.

March 16, 2014 2:56:51 PM

The above suggests that it's the licence number that's the giveaway. If I were to install an OEM version and use a retail licence it would work.
!