What is the difference of OEM vs retail Windows 7?

Cala March 4, 2010

What would be the difference between an OEM version of windows 7 and retail other than price?

I want to upgrade my computer to Windows 7 and get rid of vista, but I really don’t want to pay $200+ for the software. The OEM looks like it should work fine for me. Any reason I should not use it?

  1. Anonymous
    March 5, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Plain and simple OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer and software labeled OEM can only be sold WITH hardware and it can not be transferred to another machine. I have seen some stores get around this by selling OEM software with a memory stick, hard drive or case.

    OEM does not offer support from the software creator but from the reseller a for instance would be DELL or HP. Let me know if you need further clarification.

  2. Taty
    March 5, 2010 at 3:50 am

    Cala, double check if it's an upgradeable version. Most OEMs cannot be used to upgrade from an older version, only as a full install. If you don't mind starting clean, then it's not an issue.

  3. Steve Campbell
    March 4, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    I believe that the OEM version can only be used once and has no tech support from MS. The retail version can be installed on multiple computers (one at a time). This means you can install, then uninstall, then install again on another computer. Plus you can call or email MS for tech support if needed. Also you get a fancy box with the retail version ;).

    But yeah whatever you do make sure you get the 64 bit version if that's the one you want.

    • Anonymous
      March 5, 2010 at 7:25 pm

      You can reuse the OEM operating system but only legally on the same machine. The software is bound to the equipment you bought it with.

  4. Brutus
    March 4, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    The OEM versions do not come with all instructional documentation, coupons or whatever else they may cram into the fancy box. I don't think there's really any difference, you may want to research whether to get the 64bit or 32bit version though.