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Windows 7: Retail vs OEM Windows 7 differences

27 Apr 2010   #1
manjunath

windows 7 ultimate x64
 
 
Retail vs OEM Windows 7 differences

what is the difference between windows 7 OEM and retail version?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Apr 2010   #2
Bill2

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

1) OEM win7 comes preinstalled on computers. This is the cheapest way to buy windows. Large PC manufacturers like Dell, HP etc. (collectively called royalty OEMs) install windows on millions of such PCs. The main characteristics of such systems are:

a) The license agreement and support agreement is between you and the PC maker, not MS.

b) Activation by the end user is not required. Windows is preactivated at the factory by the OEM using images and standard SLP keys.

c) Your copy of windows is locked to that PC. The license is not transferable.

2) OEM system builder is what you get when you buy from say Newegg or from a local "white box" vendor. It too has the characteristics of Royalty OEM windows. Although it is possible for an individual to buy a System Builder copy, the license requires that the software be installed using the OPK (OEM preinstall kit) and then resold.

3) Retail version is what you buy from a retailer like Amazon or Bestbuy. Its a full price version that comes packaged in a retail box with a retail product key. It has to be activated online via MS servers using the key on the box, it is not tied to the PC it was first installed on, though it can only be used on a single computer at a time. And, MS directly provides the support for it. It is also more expensive than OEM copies.

As far as functionality is concerned, theres no difference between any of the versions above, given any specific edition (i.e. between OEM pro and retail pro, or between OEM ultimate and retail ultimate).
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27 Apr 2010   #3
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

With the OEM system builder license, the EULA does indeed state that you have to install using the OPK and resell, but lots of enthusiasts buy this version of Windows anyway, and install without the OPK and keep it for themselves.

With the OEM system builder license, you do have to activate this copy. And like all OEM licenses, you cannot move this license to another PC. It's tied to that machine and that machine only.
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27 Apr 2010   #4
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Bill2's explanation spelt it out nicely.
Unfortunately most computers in stores here come with the first category of OS license because the sticker price on the computer is lower. If you have problems you can find yourself between a rock and a hard place. MS wash their hands and the PC manufacturer (in my experience) is unlikely to provide any support unless you pay "technical support costs". Other disadvantages include a system full of bloatware and the inability to do a true clean install or repair install.
If I was given the option of a true retail OS with a new computer for say an extra $100-150 I'd take it without hesitation.
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27 Apr 2010   #5
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
If I was given the option of a true retail OS with a new computer for say an extra $100-150 I'd take it without hesitation.
Well, you kinda do have that option now. Just buy the retail copy and install it yourself. I think the upgrade copies are like $105.
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27 Apr 2010   #6
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
If I was given the option of a true retail OS with a new computer for say an extra $100-150 I'd take it without hesitation
I would rather spend the extra money on something else - e.g. an SSD. The so called bloatware is easy to get rid of and with a proper imaging strategy, I do not need the installation disk.
You are right though regarding the OEMs technical support. Most times it is pathetic. But who needs it - this forum is a much better option.
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27 Apr 2010   #7
gregrocker

 

Many tech enthusiasts find a clean copy of the pre-installed OS and clean reinstall using Product Key on the OEM sticker. This is actually "better than new" since new retail machines have bloatware that can corrupt just by removing it. This bloatware provides the profit margin for many manufacturers so they have recently taken to enforcing it by refusing to support clean reinstalls. Gateway/eMachines stopped providing a clean-copy installer as soon as Acer bought them.
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27 Apr 2010   #8
Tepid

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

There is no difference between the OS itself.
The only difference is Licensing and Price.
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27 Apr 2010   #9
manjunath

windows 7 ultimate x64
 
 

suppose if the upgrade fails,what should I do?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Apr 2010   #10
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by manjunath View Post
suppose if the upgrade fails,what should I do?
What upgrade are you talking about?
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