Monday, October 5th, 2009

Prices for Windows 7 OEM Versions

September 29, 2009 by Rico Mossesgeld  
Filed under software

If the “normal” retail prices for Windows 7 sounds a bit steep for you, you may want to consider the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) versions of the operating system scheduled for an October 22 release. The summary of Tom’s Hardware thus states:

Newegg is selling Home Premium for $100, while the retail price is $200. Those looking for the Professional version can get an even greater break as the OEM is $135, compared to $300 for the retail.

Still not good enough? Then you can hand over $175 for the Ultimate SKU, which would cost $320 in stores.

What’s the difference between OEM and retail? Again from Tom’s: “OEM versions of Windows do not come without fancy boxes, manuals, packaging, or even tech support, but they do come with a lower sticker price.” OEM versions are also less versatile, in the sense that they’re basically tied to one motherboard. This means that, if you buy a new computer, you have to buy a new copy; it’s not legally permitted to uninstall the Windows 7 you installed on your old computer, then reinstall it on the new one.

That’s because OEM versions are meant for computer manufacturers, who are expected to provide said the tech support for the customer. And since makers will pre-install Windows 7 into their products, why the fancy boxes and other paraphernalia, right? In exchange for the lower price, Microsoft legally ties OEM copies to only one computer, as detailed above.

So if you’re planning to upgrade to Windows 7, should you buy an OEM copy? If you’re a particularly savvy customer used to diagnosing problems on your own as they crop up, I don’t see why not. Even retail copies are tied to one computer in a certain sense, as you have to uninstall 7 from the old computer before you can use it on the new one, no?

Visit to pre-order OEM—or retail—versions of Windows 7.


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