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NOTE: Windows OEM licensing terms have recently changed!

by John.Wilkinson / December 19, 2009 5:33 AM PST

Recently, Microsoft modified the licensing terms for OEM editions. Previously, purchasers were permitted to apply OEM licenses to their own computers provided the licenses were purchased with qualifying hardware. However, the Windows OEM System Builder EULA now prohibits purchasers from applying OEM licenses to computers they are building for themselves, friends, family members, etc. As explained in the revised license comparison, "[OEM licenses] must be preinstalled on a PC and sold to another unrelated party." (Emphasis added.) These revised licensing terms apply to all OEM versions of Windows currently sold, including Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Please keep these revised terms in mind when building your own computers, as well as when advising others who are contemplating building their own computers and/or purchasing a new OEM license.


Additional Information/Editorial: Is it OK to use OEM Windows on your own PC? Don't ask Microsoft [Ed Bott, ZDNET]

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Good info.
by Guerito / April 17, 2010 4:59 PM PDT


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Money grabbers
by Frankie787 / August 26, 2010 7:13 PM PDT

Thanks for letting us know! This is ultterly stupid though. Aren't they already making enough money without limiting the use of their software? Building customised computers is becoming more and more popular and other than aggrevate their customers with even MORE regulations people are just going to switch to other alternatives. It's good to be updated on this! Thanks again Happy

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Not the case at all
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 27, 2010 6:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Money grabbers

The clarification of the OEM licensing rule simply states that OEM only applies to purchasing computers from recognised outlets with Windows pre-installed.

Anyone who builds their own computers will need to purchase the full retail version of Windows. That was always the intention, but some attempted to 'get around' the rule.

Nothing has really changed here.


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Does Prohibitiion Applly to ... ?
by RxDdude / September 19, 2011 4:27 PM PDT

Mr. Moderator, Does the license change affect PCs other than home-built? Please advise your understanding on this situation:

1. Given a malware-infected, brand-name, OEM Vista Home Premium PC/laptop needing a wipe-and-reload of its OS etc., can a backup DVD purchased with, or one burned on, another OEM Vista Home Premium laptop be legally used to restore the OS of the PC/laptop, now? Am talking specifically about moving TO a Dell Inspiron laptop that was purchased with Vista Home Premium (x86) in 2007 and upgraded with SP 1 and SP 2 plus patches since SP 2, etc., and has its original license sticker still attached (Product Key for Vista HP) , but where the OEM Vista HP backup DVD that was created after the purchase has been lost or stolen in a cross-country, whole-household move; and now, the Dell needs installation of (probably a wipe-and-re-install of) Vista HP (might this be done by use of somebody else's, bought from mfr. or burned from OEM, Vista HP DVD, now?), based on registering the change with the target Dell laptop's OEM Product Key. Is this a. workable; b. legal or probably not illegal?
2. And, a further complication, a helpful tech guy some months ago, "cured" a disabling malware incursion by a wipe-and-reload on this target Dell, with Vista Home Basic SP1 (x86). and its Home Basic Product Key (of unknown-to-the-Owner legality - although Windows Genuine Advantage has raised no objections to installing updates, including Service Pack 2). My objective is to reverse the downgrade from Home Premium given that I have the original OEM license and Product Key for Home Premium, and then to upgrade with mnewly purchased Windows 7 Professional upgrade disc (still in the shrinkwrap). or maybe I will wait for Windows 8. Or, maybe I ought to (can one?) upgrade to 7 from Home Basic? And, can a DVD burned on a Toshiba (or anything?) OEM PC/laptop be used to perform this upgrade on this or any Dell?
Wow- the technical problems are bad enough, and when you cross-multiply with the licensing problems, it gets complicated. Shocked

Your best-educated opinions are respectfully requested, and will be much appreciated (and obviously, there is no intention to represent such opinion as professional legal advice).


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You didn't tell enough.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 20, 2011 12:50 AM PDT

The OEM license is pretty simple. It lives and dies with the machine. So if you use another OEM then you activate it and it lives. No issue are all really.

The only time you find folk upset is when they don't get the OEM life and death cycle.

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