Windows 7 forum

General discussion

NOTE: Windows OEM licensing terms have changed!

by John.Wilkinson / December 19, 2009 5:31 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]

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: NOTE: Windows OEM licensing terms have changed!
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: NOTE: Windows OEM licensing terms have changed!
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
To ayeep89. Post deleted.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / December 22, 2009 9:36 PM PST

No advertising in these forums.


Collapse -
I don't think he is advertising.
by rnauth1418 / December 27, 2009 11:39 PM PST

I might be mistaken but aren't OEM licensed copies of software simply the software without the boxing and consumer packaging? As such, wouldn't changing the policy in this regard make no sense at all. That is unless Microsoft is trying to stiff its customers. Again.

Collapse -
(NT) Try this in the forum.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 27, 2009 11:49 PM PST
Collapse -
To clarify...
by John.Wilkinson / December 28, 2009 4:00 AM PST

1.) The "no advertising" post was concerning a post made by another member, since deleted. You are correct that the announcement/notification is not advertising.

2.) OEM software usually has additional licensing restrictions. In the case of Windows, it used to mean that you had to purchase the license with a qualifying piece of hardware, did not receive free Microsoft support, could never transfer the license to another computer once installed the first time, and could only replace the motherboard with one of the same make/model. Microsoft modified those terms to exclude those purchasing OEM licenses for their own use, something they did not originally intended for customers to do, but also permitted.


Collapse -
by ramarc / December 31, 2009 9:16 AM PST
In reply to: To clarify...

if you build a pc for a friend and charge them a six-pack of beer, technically you've satisfied the license terms. and when that friend inevitably turns to you for "tech support", again you've satisfied the license terms.

the moral is always demand a six-pack before doing a friend a favor. it'll keep microsoft off your back and make that saturday afternoon of pc building a lot more enjoyable. Wink

Collapse -
Friend and 6-pack
by erandalln / January 8, 2010 2:35 PM PST
In reply to: hmm...

Probably need to make sure you don't like each other or M$ will get you. Sad and frustrating state of affairs.

Collapse -
(NT) :D
by Dango517 / January 31, 2010 7:45 PM PST
In reply to: hmm...
Collapse -
Free Tech Support For Microsoft
by James Denison / September 2, 2013 6:22 AM PDT
In reply to: hmm...

If Microsoft had to pay every person on forums across the internet who gave currently "free" support on their product, they'd go broke. When Microsoft pulls this sort of increasing snootiness, I'm more of the opinion that all forums providing help for windows users should post a notice to seek all support direct from Microsoft only and let them deal with the actual cost of their product. If Microsoft had to give tech support all by themselves to every windows user who had a problem using their product, I suspect they'd eventually go bankrupt. Such a move would also increase the number of employees Microsoft would need and thereby increase the number of jobs available, hopefully in this country. Isn't it odd part of their increasingly stranglehold licensing requirements never REQUIRE all support for Microsoft products to be available ONLY from Microsoft? If they did, then you'd not only pay for the operating system or other software, you'd have to pay for the support separate.

Collapse -
what about the windows 7 upgrade for 3 pc''s??
by dksullivan_99 / May 7, 2010 12:12 PM PDT
In reply to: To clarify...

I bought the win7 upgrade home version for up to 3 pc's. All my pc's. I ordered it straight from microsoft. And gave alot more money for that. Does this mean that since all my pc's have the same OEM number that I can't get upgrades or in trouble now?

Collapse -
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / May 7, 2010 7:18 PM PDT

The new interpretation of the licensing only applies to systems created after that date. Existing systems are not affected.

Just a point though on a different matter. You have 3 PC's, all running XP, and you want to upgrade all 3 to Windows 7. I am unsure if a single W7 upgrade disk is sufficient to upgrade all 3. If you only purchased a single W7 upgrade disk then you may want to carry out further research on how many times it can be used.


Collapse -
purchased a single W7 upgrade disk
by dksullivan_99 / May 8, 2010 7:47 AM PDT
In reply to: No

I bought the upgrade from microsoft online. it wasn't available in stores yet. they gave you option's. i got the upgrade that could be used for win xp and vista. Since I had one xp pc and 2 vista pc's. It could be used for up to 3 pc's. they charged double the price for it, but saved a little overall in the 3 pc upgrade. They shipped it to me. Told me how to install on the xp and vista pc's and I even had tech support to help me on some problems with one of the new vista laptop's. But I think if you go to or use the program on your pc to see if you can upgrade to win 7. It still gives you the option of the upgrade for 3 pc's. Or it did a few weeks ago. I got just the home premium.
hopes this helps you understand more.

Collapse -
That's fine.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / May 8, 2010 8:15 PM PDT

Thanks for that Deb.

I had to ask because we so often see posters in these forums who assume the can just install or upgrade Windows on multiple computers with just one disk, then complain when activation problems kick in.

But you seem to have done all the homework and that all looks good.

Thanks again.


Collapse -
(NT) never
by Jason_Martin / August 2, 2012 6:12 AM PDT
Collapse -
Upgrade trouble
by DARETOEXPOSE / February 21, 2013 7:26 AM PST

No, if the same OEM software is installed on each computer, just register the operating system by telephone to get three different licenses to upgrade the computer system. This can be accomplished in Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 Vista. Choose another way to register and click by telephone. Non remote eula operating system or full installation not upgrades require a separate license for each installation.

Collapse -
My post
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / December 28, 2009 5:03 AM PST

was addressed to a "ayeep89". Not to John.


Collapse -
I was a victim of my OEM WINXP liscense
by Darrell / January 8, 2010 2:55 PM PST
In reply to: My post

A friend sold me a CD that was also valid and I don't have to go thru all the BS from MS. They wanted a legit key and I provided them with one, since my other one was legit and MS said it was legit. I'm using a recovery CD from a nonexistent computer with my legit COA from the side of my computer. No more hassles. Darrell

Collapse -
I now own a WIN 7 Home Premium (Compaq) it is an OEM
by Darrell / March 1, 2012 1:40 AM PST

The WINXP was sent to a schoolteacher and the DELL had contained 4GB and a 160 GB HDD.

The Compaq, I have burned HP_Recovery(D) in the event something goes awry. There are two numbers for it. I have both on Belarc advisor. It says that if I update from Home Premium That can be changed. Darrell

Collapse -
Victim of OEM
by DARETOEXPOSE / February 21, 2013 7:28 AM PST

Yes, the OEM sold you malware.

Collapse -
One difference between OEM and retail copies
by orlbuckeye / March 18, 2011 3:18 AM PDT

of Windows is that Microsoft will support the retail version but the company that sold the OEM version has to support it. Also the OEM version is legally tied to the motherboard where as retail can be moved legally to another computer as long as it's not being used on the old computer.

Collapse -
window 7
by ckdsite / February 29, 2012 11:56 AM PST

i don't use window 7 good ,

Collapse -
why you hate advertising?
by kellysaveladybug / May 14, 2012 8:26 PM PDT

recently ,i considered whether make my second profession to be advertising .

Collapse -
Re: advertizing
by Kees_B Forum moderator / May 14, 2012 8:31 PM PDT

Here at CNET (part of CBS) we love advertising. But only paid advertising! Posting ads in these forums for free isn't allowed. That's why such posts are deleted.


Collapse -
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / May 14, 2012 8:32 PM PDT
Forum Policy.

It is what you signed up to when you joined these forums.

Good luck with your second profession.

Collapse -
To OEM or not to OEM
by SkoobyDoo12 / February 19, 2010 2:08 AM PST

So would you all recommend getting OEM or not?

Collapse -
Only if...
by John.Wilkinson / February 19, 2010 3:14 AM PST
In reply to: To OEM or not to OEM

1.) You are a system builder.
2.) You are selling it to an unrelated third party, not building it for yourself, friends, family.
3.) You intend to provide full technical support to the user you sell it to.

If all of those conditions are true, yes, I would recommend it as the cheaper option. Otherwise, a violation of the EULA would exist.


Collapse -
by sphred / March 4, 2010 9:26 AM PST
In reply to: Only if...

is there anywhere to get info if you've already made the mistake of buying OEM

Collapse -
Can you be more specific?
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 4, 2010 6:38 PM PST
In reply to: OEM

Existing OEM installs will not have their licensing terms changed, so if you already have a system with an OEM Windows installed you will see no difference and the new rules won't affect you.

So can you explain more about making a mistake of buying OEM?


Collapse -
win7 OEM
by sphred / March 12, 2010 10:15 AM PST

I guess my problem was listening to the wrong people.I was convinced Microsoft was going to give me a hard time.this is the first time I bought everything and did it myself the retailer knew what I wanted it for but didn't say anything on the phone.After that allot of people figured I'd get trouble from Microsoft.I should have checked here earlier and saved some worry.Thank You

Collapse -
Still Dont Understand
by lisabots03 / June 22, 2010 5:10 PM PDT
In reply to: Only if...

I still don't understand what is OEM license. Is it true if you buy OEM the license would not work when you replaced your hardware configuration such as RAM and processor?

Collapse -
OEM licenses...
by John.Wilkinson / June 22, 2010 11:03 PM PDT
In reply to: Still Dont Understand

You can replace all of the hardware, including RAM and processor, with the exception of the motherboard. Should you replace the motherboard with another model out of need (due to failure) or desire (due to upgrade), the license is voided and you'll have to purchase a new Windows license.

In addition, keep in mind that the OEM license now prohibits you from buying the license for your own use; it's only valid if you buy the license, install Windows on the computer you built, and then sell the computer to a third-party.


Popular Forums
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Help, my PC with Windows 10 won't shut down properly

Since upgrading to Windows 10 my computer won't shut down properly. I use the menu button shutdown and the screen goes blank, but the system does not fully shut down. The only way to get it to shut down is to hold the physical power button down till it shuts down. Any suggestions?