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Differences Between A 'Retail' And An 'OEM' Version Of Windows XP Professional


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#1 LouieChuckyMerry

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 01:23 AM

Hello again, and many thanks in advance to anyone willing to take the time to help me understand the difference(s) between various Windows XP Professional licenses. Simply: I want to purchase a legal CD copy of Windows XP Pro--not a secondary manufacturer's bloatware version, just XP Pro--that I can install on my present computer YET also install on the new computer I hope to purchase in the not-so-distant future (and also on any other future computer I have, if it comes to that), non-simultaneously of course. After using Google and searching this site, I find myself quite confused as to the differences between a 'retail' version of XP Pro and an 'OEM' version of XP Pro; and further, the differences between a 'full' OEM version and a secondary manufacturer's OEM version. Basically, I want the least expensive version of unadulterated Windows XP Professional that I can legally use--one computer at a time--on as many computers as I happen to own from now until XP Pro is no longer useful to me. Also, this version must be installable on both a computer that does and does not come with an operating system already installed. Again, thanks very much to anyone who can guide me to a better understanding of this topic.

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#2 Platypus

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 06:38 AM

Louie, you will need to purchase a Retail version of XP Pro to achieve your purpose of re-using the OS on subsequent new computers. A retail Windows is licensed to be used on any computer you own, as long as it is only installed on a single computer at any time. There isn't a limit to the number of times it can be activated, as long as you can assure Microsoft on each occasion that the previous installation has been removed from the computer it was installed on.

An OEM Windows is licensed to be used only on the computer it is initially installed onto, it cannot legitimately be transferred to a second computer.

I expect the difference you are referring to between a "Full" OEM version and a manufacturers version, is that the former is produced and marketed directly through the OEM wholesale chain by Microsoft. The only difference between these and retail Windows is the license.

A Windows installation disc from a computer manufacturer is created by the manufacturer themselves under a volume license, and is often tailored specifically to the brand. It may not be possible to install from such a disc onto another brand or even a different model of the same brand, and the Windows installation may be pre-loaded with drivers or utilities specific to the brand and/or model of system it was designed for.

Edited by Platypus, 29 September 2009 - 06:39 AM.

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#3 Animal

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 11:20 AM

In addition to Platypus' excellent explanation, here is some additional information: An Explanation of Oem, Upgrade, Academic, And Full Versions of software

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#4 LouieChuckyMerry

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 11:29 AM

Platypus: Many thanks for your reply; I really appreciate it. After reading your very lucid post I'm only in need of a wee bit of clarification. Would a 'full', or Microsoft manufactured, OEM version of XP Pro be ONLY XP Pro, thus bloatware free? And, if I purchased one of these and installed it on a new computer that was free of an operating system (or had been reformatted), could I use this to do as many fresh OS installs on that computer as I pleased? Sorry for my ignorance, and thanks again for your time.

#5 LouieChuckyMerry

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 10:30 PM

Animal: Thank you very much for the link; I searched for just such a thing here before I posted, but came up blank.

Platypus: I've spent some time looking for a retail copy of XP Pro to purchase, but I can't seem to find anything. Does Microsoft still sell retail copies of XP? Any information would be very appreciated.

#6 Animal

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 10:52 PM

I've spent some time looking for a retail copy of XP Pro to purchase, but I can't seem to find anything.

Just one of several places. http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx...N82E16837116195

EDIT: And you're quite welcome on the information link. :thumbsup:

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#7 Platypus

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 07:59 AM

Would a 'full', or Microsoft manufactured, OEM version of XP Pro be ONLY XP Pro, thus bloatware free?

Yes, it will simply be Windows, with no extraneous padding.

And, if I purchased one of these and installed it on a new computer that was free of an operating system (or had been reformatted), could I use this to do as many fresh OS installs on that computer as I pleased?

Yes, the OEM OS is intended to be installed onto an "empty" system, and can be installed again onto the same computer after a re-format, as you would need to do if the Windows installation became hopelessly corrupted or you may choose to do if you experienced a huge virus infection. If the hardware has not been changed, you should be able to use the same activation code each time (keep a record of it when you first activate Windows), although I have read claims this will only work a certain number of times. I haven't tried this out for myself. For my own use, I prefer to use Acronis TrueImage to create an image of the drive with the fully set up, updated and activated Windows installation, then this image can be re-loaded onto the hard drive at any time in the future, and it's just as it was when Windows had been freshly installed the first time. No matter how many times this is done, Windows always appears as the original installation.

Edited by Platypus, 30 September 2009 - 08:04 AM.

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#8 Platypus

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 08:15 AM

I've spent some time looking for a retail copy of XP Pro to purchase, but I can't seem to find anything. Does Microsoft still sell retail copies of XP?

No, Microsoft no longer supply retail XP, any copies of it still available will come from stock still held by stores and not yet sold.

Unfortunately Animal's newegg link shows as a deactivated item.

Edited by Platypus, 30 September 2009 - 08:17 AM.

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#9 hamluis

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 08:32 AM

Appears to be good, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...6-515-_-Product.

Louis

I have various OEM licenses for XP Home and you can install it as many times as you like on the same system, with no problem. As Platypus asserted, it's when components start to change that activation hiccups begin to occur.

Edited by hamluis, 30 September 2009 - 08:34 AM.





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