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Windows 7: Is it possible to upgrade from Win 7 OEM to retail?


31 Oct 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 
Is it possible to upgrade from Win 7 OEM to retail?

I purchased Windows 7 Ultimate from a local store about 20 months ago, unbeknownst to me that it was in fact an OEM version. Just now, i've purchased a new hard drive and i'm due to reinstall windows, but the current serial key i'm using has been blocked.

I recall seeing an offer about a year ago - which allowed those who unknowingly bought the OEM version, to upgrade to retail at a lower price. I'd forget it all and simply purchase Win 7 professional online at student discount, but the educational institution i'm studying at never issued me a personal email address.. So I was just wondering if such an offer still existed, or if it is possible to upgrade my current OEM version to retail?

I did pay $300 for this copy, and I really don't want to have to resort to pirating when I did try to do the right thing the first time around by purchasing a copy.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Oct 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

More details needed.

I've never heard of a legit OEM disc refusing to install simply due to a hard drive change.


How far can you get in the install and what do you mean by "blocked"?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

It installs fine, but this computer was custom build by myself so when I attempt to activate windows it tells me: "The product key you typed has been blocked from use by microsoft."

I only ever intended to purchase the retail version, but ended up with an OEM copy.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Oct 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Felii View Post
It installs fine, but this computer was custom build by myself so when I attempt to activate windows it tells me: "The product key you typed has been blocked from use by microsoft."

I only ever intended to purchase the retail version, but ended up with an OEM copy.
Assuming it is a legit OEM disc, I would call Microsoft and tell them you had to upgrade to a larger hard drive and can't get your OEM version to activate.

There might be a workaround that does not involve a call to Microsoft. I'm not sure about that as I don't use OEM discs.

OEM is not intended to prevent you from replacing a hard drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2011   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

You might have to activate manually (Option Two) or by phone (Option Two, Step 7.)

Activate Windows 7 Online
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

Ignatzatsonic is quite correct.

An OEM operating system will allow all hardware changes EXCEPT the motherboard it is tied too, so activation shouldn't have failed.

windows 7 x64 OEM activation question - Microsoft Answers

Try the methods Marsimar suggests.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

It worked for a couple of months and then I had the "Build 7601 - this copy is not genuine" message suddenly appear. I emailed M$ to inquire as i'd purchased it from a store and all, they informed me that it was an OEM version which I wasn't supposed to have.

Shortly after that was when I found the M$ webpage, which allowed you to upgrade the OEM version to retail, but I was broke at the time so I never got around to doing it.

If I can spend $200-300 to upgrade this key to retail then I will, but spending $500 for a whole new copy is kinda ridiculous. Yeah I may have to give them a call, as much as I hate having to do it. I'll see how it goes, thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2011   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

It would appear that you can only buy an OEM system builder version of Windows if the computer it is being installed on is being built for resale.

Can I buy an OEM system builder Versiion of Windows 7? - Microsoft Answers

You could call Microsoft and tell them that you built the computer for someone else as it appears the local store you purchased from hasn't been totally upfront with you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2011   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

I'm not a lawyer. Don't even play one on TV. But that caveat about building a computer for resale is a bucket of worms. The OEM disk must theoretically remain with the computer. That's a given. But there's no timeline as to when the computer must be sold. Example: A builder creates a machine for a customer, installs the OEM OS, only to have the customer back out of the sale. The builder has every good faith intention of selling the machine to someone else but can't find a buyer. The builder likes the machine and keeps it for himself with the OEM OS installed and activated, but will still sell the machine if he can find a buyer. Legal or illegal? Too many variables to give a definitive answer.

And for fun, you can see how Microsoft has waffled on this over the years:

Is it OK to use OEM Windows on your own PC? Don't ask Microsoft | ZDNet
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2011   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

I agree that Microsoft's EULA regarding OEM software is a can of worms.

However, Microsoft can and does turn a blind eye to its own licensing terms that state in the case of OEM software: “Each individual software license inside this package may ONLY be distributed with a fully assembled computer system.”

Useful article here: How to buy Windows 7 for 50 less: the truth about OEM versions | Analysis | Features | PC Pro
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 Is it possible to upgrade from Win 7 OEM to retail?




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