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Win 7 - retail or OEM?

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  • Windows 7
  • OEM
  • Windows XP
Last response: in Windows 7
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July 29, 2010 9:28:47 PM

Hey folks,

I have a windows 7 question that requires some background. 10 years ago or so when I made the switch to XP, I bit the bullet and bought XP pro full retail for $300 or so. Over the years this has come in quite handy. As we bought other PC's along the way, I've collected 3 more legitimate copies of win xp, all with valid CD keys, CoA's, etc. All three of these came on Dell machines, with OEM install discs. I've found, however, that because I have the full verion (my original copy), I've never had any problem moving these versions of XP around to different machines around the house. I started doing it this way because it was more convenient (I made a slip-streamed copy of my original disk to include SP2 and its HD capacity fix, and use that disk for all my installs to save time). It's quite simple to install the slipstreamed version using my original key, and change the key to one of my (available) other keys during windows activation.

Its occurred to me since then that this may not be entirely legal, since my other 3 cd keys (I think) are for OEM versions, which really should stay with the PC they shipped on. But to my way of thinking, I have 4 perfectly valid XP lisences, all purchased legally, complete with CD keys, CoA's, etc. Since I purchased them, they're mine to do with as I please, right? I've never tried running XP on 5 machines or anything like that.

So now that I've set the stage... I'm getting ready to start a new build, which will be my first venture into windows 7 (I've LOVED XP from day 1, and haven't had any reason to upgrade until my new build will force me to due to hardware limitations). I'm anticipating windows 7 being my OS of the next decade, and will probably be collecting a few more lisences along the way (already planning a laptop purchase for my wife this Christmas). So, does the OEM version of windows 7 work the same way as it did in XP? In other words, would it be worthwhile for me to spend the extra money on the full version vs. OEM to provide myself with some flexibility over the next 10 years in moving OS's around between various boxes (by using my full version to install, then using an available CD key - legitimate key with valid CoA, mind you - for the activation)? Or is an OEM version of windows 7 truly and permanently locked to a single MB (in which case I might be better off saving $100 and getting the OEM version)?

Thanks for bearing with me, and thanks for any responses!

-Bill

More about : win retail oem

a c 209 $ Windows 7
July 29, 2010 9:35:37 PM

Although technically the OEM license doesn't permit transferring the OS to a different machine, IMHO if you've got 3 OEM-licensed machines and you swap license keys back and forth between them you're not really breaking the spirit of the license.

But if you expect to move the license to a new, non-licensed machine then you really should be buying the retail version which explicitly permits this.
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July 29, 2010 9:41:42 PM

I do not think there is much difference between OEM and Box except that box has a box and cost more. Not sure if there even a manual in the box to make it worthwhile. As long you are using the license for one PC at a time you should be OK.
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July 29, 2010 9:56:22 PM

Ok, thanks. I dont' think I like the idea of being tied to a single MB so I'll probably go full retail. Otherwise if I upgrade my MB in 2-3 years, I'd have to buy another copy anyway, right? Of course, windows 8 might be out by then... At any rate, I'm probably safer with the full version.

Thanks again.

-Bill
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a b $ Windows 7
July 29, 2010 9:59:58 PM

I do OEM. but if you have a little extra money get the retail. You also get some tech support.
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July 29, 2010 11:23:46 PM

sminlal said:
Although technically the OEM license doesn't permit transferring the OS to a different machine, IMHO if you've got 3 OEM-licensed machines and you swap license keys back and forth between them you're not really breaking the spirit of the license.

But if you expect to move the license to a new, non-licensed machine then you really should be buying the retail version which explicitly permits this.


You can transfer a OEM license as long as MS thinks its only on one PC. Thats their rules. You can reinstall it 3 times on different machines every year before you have to use the automated system.

MrPerlishells said:
I do not think there is much difference between OEM and Box except that box has a box and cost more. Not sure if there even a manual in the box to make it worthwhile. As long you are using the license for one PC at a time you should be OK.


More than that. When you buy the OEM version, MS will not support it. You are your own tech support. Retail includes tech support. Both include updates.
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July 30, 2010 12:12:18 AM

Quote:
You can transfer a OEM license as long as MS thinks its only on one PC. Thats their rules. You can reinstall it 3 times on different machines every year before you have to use the automated system.


Wait, so you CAN re-install OEM windows on different hardware? Say, if you were to upgrade to a new MB, CPU, Memory, and HD, you could successfully and legally re-use your OEM copy of Windows 7 on that new hardware?
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July 30, 2010 5:45:48 AM

harriw said:
Wait, so you CAN re-install OEM windows on different hardware? Say, if you were to upgrade to a new MB, CPU, Memory, and HD, you could successfully and legally re-use your OEM copy of Windows 7 on that new hardware?


Yes. I installed my copy of Windows XP Pro OEM on three machines when I first got it. My old machine that my fiance has, my fiances old machine and the first PC I built my grandparents. I then reinstalled a year later on my machine like I normally do and had no issues. Each machine had very different hardware too.

My old machine was a high end P4 gaming machine using a Asus mobo, 2GB of DDR400, ATI GPU and 2 Seagate HDDs. My fiances old machine was a low end eMachines using a Celeron and onboard IGP. The machine I built my grandparents was a P4, Asus mobo using a IGP. When I tried to reinstall on my machine too soon I had to use the 1800 number and talk to a rep (non automated at that time) to activate. You just tell them you are moving your copy over to a new machine and removing it from the old one.

But as I said, OEM does not include any tech support. If you have any issues you can utilize the online MS help and support but if you call them, they will tell you to call the OEM which in that case would be you.
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
July 30, 2010 6:08:31 AM

harriw said:
Quote:
Say, if you were to upgrade to a new MB, CPU, Memory, and HD, you could successfully and legally re-use your OEM copy of Windows 7 on that new hardware?
Quote:
You may be able to do it successfully, but you can't do it legally (at least not according to the terms of the license agreement).
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July 30, 2010 6:23:56 AM

sminlal said:
You may be able to do it successfully, but you can't do it legally (at least not according to the terms of the license agreement).


Well from what I got from MS, as long as it is installed on only 1 PC they don't really care. If they did then they would keep hardware sigs attached to the key. Well they sort of do with the activation (to activate successfully your hardware sigs have to match 7/10) but if your PC fries and you only hd it for a year, I doubt they would mind you installing Windows on a new machine.

The activation takes into account your CPU, HDD, CD/DVD drive, NIC and a few other things. If you reinstall on the same hardware you will get 7/10 since the NIC sig changes (counts as 2 parts) and the HDD sig changes. That is unless they have changed it recently.
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
July 30, 2010 7:26:41 AM

The following quote is from the "Transfer of License" section of the following web page: http://oem.microsoft.com/script/contentpage.aspx?pageid...

Quote:
The OEM software is licensed with the computer system on which it was originally installed and is tied to that original machine. OEM licenses are single-use licenses that cannot be installed on more than one computer system, even if the original machine is no longer in use. The End User Software License Terms, which the end user must accept before using the software, states that the license may not be shared, transferred to, or used concurrently on different computers.

Strictly speaking, according to the terms of the license agreement, OEM licenses are simply not transferrable. Do people transfer them? Sure. But it's in contravention of the agreement.
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July 30, 2010 8:39:49 AM

I do not think you will hang on to windows 7 for ten years.
By that time something totally new will come, that would make windows 7 obsolete.
Just as xp is now.
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a b $ Windows 7
July 30, 2010 3:43:43 PM

I almost never buy a full retail version, I get the upgrade (as long as I have a qualified version) or the oem.

While sminlal is correct, with the oem version the " even if orginal machine is no longer in use" is a problem for uSoft. You may upgrade your existing system and reuse the OEM version. And here is the rub - what constitutes a "new" verse upgrade existing system. Extreme EX: If I kept the just the HDD, or the PSU, or the Case, or the DVD drive and UPGRADED all the other parts, Note The word upgraded and I always reuse one part of the orignal system (may upgrade that part later). There is also the diffeniation between Not in use (Which implies it could be used later) and Can not be used (ie trashed, maybe the PSU went out and fried the MB.

Orignally Orginal Equipment Manuf.(OEM) verision could only be used with NEW computers supplied by Manufs and System Builders. uSoft later had to include as system builders individuals would built their own system. Reason (which was quicky ignored in most cases) Retailers required you to buy at least one part (ie HDD) before they sold you a OEM version. Back then newegg had a disclaimer to that effect on OEM version.

Added: uSoft is already working on Windows 8, But unless it has some "Must have" feature I will stick with win 7 for quit a while.
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
July 30, 2010 4:20:53 PM

RetiredChief said:
You may upgrade your existing system and reuse the OEM version. And here is the rub - what constitutes a "new" verse upgrade existing system. Extreme EX: If I kept the just the HDD, or the PSU, or the Case, or the DVD drive and UPGRADED all the other parts, Note The word upgraded and I always reuse one part of the orignal system (may upgrade that part later). There is also the diffeniation between Not in use (Which implies it could be used later) and Can not be used (ie trashed, maybe the PSU went out and fried the MB.
The following quote is from: http://support.microsoft.com/?scid=kb;en-us;824125&x=10&y=9

Quote:
Users who run a Microsoft Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) operating system may upgrade or replace most of the hardware components on the computer and still maintain the license for the original Microsoft OEM operating system software provided by the OEM, with the exception of an upgrade or a replacement of the motherboard. An upgrade or a replacement of the motherboard is considered to create a new personal computer. Therefore, Microsoft OEM operating system software cannot be transferred from another computer. If the motherboard is upgraded or replaced for reasons other than a defect then a new computer is created, and a new operating system license is required. If the motherboard is replaced because of a defect, the user does not need to acquire a new operating system license for the computer. The motherboard replacement must be the same make and model, or the same manufacturer’s replacement or equivalent, as defined by that manufacturer’s warranty.
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a b $ Windows 7
July 30, 2010 5:43:22 PM

smilial, I hear you. They still left an ou "... for other than a defect" When I replace a MB, it is alway do to a "Defect" and normally goes into the trask. I try to stay legal, but I'm be d___ if I'm going to flush money down the toilet. uSoft is always welcome to go thru the landfill, some how I dougt they would.

I know, your next one - "has to be the same....", normally when I replace that MB, that EXACT model is obsolete/not available, so my ONLY option is to get the manuf's "recommended replacement" O thats me.

Not really trying to give you a hard time.
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a b $ Windows 7
July 30, 2010 6:30:16 PM

I would suggest you get the full version. My OEM version wont accept reinstall after I reinstalled vista . It did the first time. but 2nd install of vista killed both and xp will let me format but not install either.
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a b $ Windows 7
July 30, 2010 6:51:56 PM

Since Siminal has gotten off topic and gathered such intrest mabey he should start his own thread.
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July 30, 2010 8:43:43 PM

Ok, so what about the upgrade version? Since I have Win XP Pro Full, I can legally put it on any PC I want to (as long as I only have it on one PC at a time). Does that priviledge extend to my new Win 7 upgrade as well (i.e. can I continue to put my winXP full on any machine I want, then upgrade it - again as long as I only have my copy of winXP and/or my copy of win7 installed on one machine at a time)? Or does the upgrade version of win 7 have the same restrictions (either legal or physical) as the OEM version of windows 7? What about tech support for the upgrade version?

Thanks guys, this is all great stuff. So many options these days, and with the cost of this OS I want to get it right.

-Bill

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July 30, 2010 8:53:10 PM

Quote:
I do not think you will hang on to windows 7 for ten years.
By that time something totally new will come, that would make windows 7 obsolete.
Just as xp is now.


Eh, I don't know. I really like XP. Really the only reason I'm upgrading now with a new build is the RAM limitation of my 32-bit version, and the poor use of multi-core CPU's. I know I could get XP-64, but even if I ignore the bad reviews on it, if I have to buy a new OS anyway I might as well get win7. So assuming I'm as happy with win7 as I was with XP (a reasonable assumption based on everything I've read about it), I'll probably be quite happy to continue using it until hardware advances to the point of forcing another OS upgrade.

I suspect I'm not alone here - nobody likes shelling out big bucks for an OS every 2-3 years...

-Bill
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
July 30, 2010 9:07:29 PM

mhelm1 said:
Since Siminal has gotten off topic...

The question in the first post was:

Quote:
So, does the OEM version of windows 7 work the same way as it did in XP? In other words, would it be worthwhile for me to spend the extra money on the full version vs. OEM to provide myself with some flexibility over the next 10 years in moving OS's around between various boxes (by using my full version to install, then using an available CD key - legitimate key with valid CoA, mind you - for the activation)? Or is an OEM version of windows 7 truly and permanently locked to a single MB (in which case I might be better off saving $100 and getting the OEM version)?

I'm not seeing how any of my posts are "off topic"....?
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Best solution

a c 209 $ Windows 7
July 30, 2010 9:10:46 PM

harriw said:
Ok, so what about the upgrade version? Since I have Win XP Pro Full, I can legally put it on any PC I want to (as long as I only have it on one PC at a time).

Yes - the upgrade version of Windows 7 is not an "OEM" version, so you'll be able to move it to a different system.

The biggest issue with the upgrade version is the requirement to have a previous version on the system before you install it. But that can be worked around, see: http://www.winsupersite.com/win7/clean_install_upgrade_...
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July 30, 2010 9:21:37 PM

Yeah, I initially intended to stear clear of the "upgrade" versions as I'm not a fan of "upgrading" or "fixing" OS's - I MUCH prefer wiping things clean and starting off with a clean slate in these situations. But it sounds like it's quite simple to do just that with the win7 upgrade CD. Just install winXP or Vista first, then do a custom install of win7, which allows you to wipe clean the initial XP or Vista install first, right? The result is a new install of Win7 installed on a newly formatted disk - it just takes a bit more time due to the need for an existing xp or vista install.

Now... The win7 upgrade also only applies to one machine, right? I can't buy one "upgrade" copy and upgrade ALL my existing (legal) winXP installs, right? But I am free to move that upgrade copy of windows 7 around to any PC I wish, as long as it's only on one machine at a time?

Thanks again - this is a huge help.

-Bill
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July 30, 2010 9:25:17 PM

OK, here it goes.


If you buy a Dell Computer, they have it setup to where you can install whatever Microsoft OS you want. Past Present and Future OS's. Only problem is you need the exact disks from Dell. You will never be prompted to enter a CD Key Either! Buy a stripped down dell, no video card, 1 gig ram, lowest version of OS, save all the money you can. I bought a Core 2 3.0 last year and installed an awesome video card, this thing rocks for 400 dollars. No OS Cost, and left me more money to buy a Fermi.

I took a Windows 7 key from the bottom of a dell box and attempted to install on a home machine, would not activate. Called Microsoft they gave me a number to get it activated. After 10 days windows made me call again. In other words sticker from OEM Dell would not work on homebuild, the numbers they gave me were like temporary. Seems like they can now tell if the key is DELL OEM, so it looks for something in the BIOS.


For OEM Software from new egg WIN7, i bought it and installed it. Installed it on a second build, had to call Microsoft could not do it via automation. They ask how many machines this OS is on I told the one. I really only had it on 1 since i change out motherboards.

I will always buy OEM From New Egg. WIndows 7 Pro OEM 64BIT $120 bucks! My build cost me 700, i was not about to spend 50% of the total build on an OS. OEM is meant to lesson the impact of OS Cost in a new build. If you are a tech nerd and want a full blown copy so you can make your self feel better, do it.
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a b $ Windows 7
July 30, 2010 10:25:25 PM

You have XP pro, and it is not installed on another computer and you do not plan on installing it. You are OK to get and use the upgrade version.

Get the upgrade win 7. Do a clean install

A quick and condensed version of the link siminLal provides: Contained in Method 2.

From one of my previous posts.
Do a Clean Install, select custom method, But DO NOT enter your Key
Go ahead and let windows 7 down load critical updates. Then:

Open regedit.exe with Start Menu Search and navigate to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Setup/OOBE
Easier - Just do a search for " MediaBootInstall"

Change MediaBootInstall from "1" to "0". (Double-click it and then enter 0 in the dialog that appears.)

Close RegEdit.

Open the Start Menu again and type cmd in Start Menu search to display a shortcut to the Command Line utility. Right-click this shortcut and choose "Run as administrator." Handle the UAC prompt.

In the command line window, type: slmgr -rearm

Then tap ENTER and wait for the "Command completed successfully" dialog.

Then, close the command line window and reboot. When Windows 7 reboots, run the Activate Windows utility, type in your product key and activate windows.
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
July 31, 2010 12:03:19 AM

harriw said:
The win7 upgrade also only applies to one machine, right? I can't buy one "upgrade" copy and upgrade ALL my existing (legal) winXP installs, right? But I am free to move that upgrade copy of windows 7 around to any PC I wish, as long as it's only on one machine at a time?
Yes, one machine per upgrade copy purchased. And long as the old OS you're "upgrading" isn't an OEM version, then you're allowed to move it to a different machine.
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August 7, 2010 12:15:23 AM

Best answer selected by harriw.
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August 7, 2010 12:59:33 AM

Just an FYI, i just upgraded my system to Win 7 ultimate from Vista Ultimate, and it went very smoothly. I was able to keep all of my installed programs, documents, etc. without having to backup the stuff (i did anyway just in case). I think the upgrade process is fairly well done, and fairly simple in comparison to other routs.
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