Is there a difference in how you can use OEM and retail Windows?

By kitty500cat
Jul 28, 2006
  1. On, you can buy OEM versions of Windows. However, if it is OEM licensing, can you not use it as freely as the retail version? If you change your hardware, do you need to get a new Windows license, or can you continue using your OS?
    Thanks in advance
    me, myself, and I
  2. fastco

    fastco TS Rookie Posts: 1,511

    You can continue using your license but you might have to call to activate it because of a major hardware change instead of activating it over the Internet.
  3. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 2,407   +6

    thanks a lot.
  4. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,332   +59

    If you change your hardware significantly, you'll have to reactivate Windows. This is how XP is regardless of consumer license type (OEM, Retail or Upgrade).

    The difference between OEM and Retail versions of XP (aside from 3 digits in the PID #) is OEM cannot be used to upgrade an existing version of Windows. OEM requires a completely new installation. Retail XP can upgrade as well do the full install.
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