OEM or Retail

By ingeborgdot
Oct 20, 2012
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  1. I am looking at getting W7 for another one of my computers. I have never really had to buy my software before because my sister in law worked for Microsoft and I got it for free. She has since went on to another job and I don't get those benefits anymore. So I now am faced with buying W7. Should I buy OEM or retail. I know OEM is cheaper but what happens when something goes bad and you have to put in a new part. How is MS about dealing with this?
  2. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,783   +639

    Microsoft are pretty lenient on OEM reactivation due to part replacement. So long as you're not transferring an OEM license to a new machine*, you're pretty much covered. Replacing the motherboard or CPU might require a call to MS but they generally just reset for you.

    One of my customers had OEM Win7 on a pretty old Conroe core 2 quad + early P35 (or similar) motherboard w/DDR2 RAM. The thing died due to burst/leaking capacitors. I put together a Core i7 875 + P55 system together on the cheap through resell markets and left him to buy the OS. He rang up MS with a sob story about just replacing a motherboard and the MS activated the install...so what their criteria is seems pretty wide ranging. YMMV of course. If you're planning on a comprehensive and/or continuing upgrade cycle in future you might be better advised to buy the retail version.
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,419   +281

    Totally agree with DBZ. I think MS learned in the 9x days that piracy still furthers their platform. Then in the XP era they got greedy after their popularity and went on an anti piracy storm with their activation requirements. I think by Vista they sort of wised up and realized pirates will still pirate, and honest people will still buy their stuff. So by Vista, you could clean install an "upgrade", I'm sure they knew this was possible, but they just marketed it otherwise. In Windows 7 you can clean install an "upgrade" version too, and I actually think its easier (afaik in Vista you had to install without a key, then 'upgrade' that install with your upgrade key - I don't think you have to do that first install in 7 but I'm not entirely positive).

    Luckily for me, I've been able to purchase the educational versions of Vista and 7 for really cheap, I think 7 Pro cost me $29.

    In any case. Buy the OEM. If you run into real issues and everything hits the fan, in my limited experience with something like that, a call to the MS activation number gets you fixed back up.
  4. JC713

    JC713 TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 6,711   +873

    OEM is fine, especially since W8 is taking away the retail version in favor of OEM, I bet MS will be more lenient on this issue. OEM is fine anyways unless you are changing mobos


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