[SOLVED] OEM vs Retail?

Sep 22, 2019
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I know this is a question asked a lot, but I still don't get it.
I'm building a new PC for my mom so she can get rid of the old first-gen windows 7 desktop that she has now.
I've seen OEM keys on Newegg and stuff and I've seen just plain Windows 10 home directly from Microsoft for $140.
What's the difference between OEM and retail straight from windows other than price? Are there less updates? How do i receive it? USB or do they email me a key?

Again, I know this question has been asked before but I'm still confused.
Thanks!
 

USAFRet

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When buying just the OS license, the term OEM and Retail is mostly of no consequence. Sellers using those are hanging on to old concepts.

What matters is legitimacy. Where did that license come from?

If it is much cheaper than what you see direct from Microsoft, it is likely not valid or legitimate.
 

USAFRet

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When buying just the OS license, the term OEM and Retail is mostly of no consequence. Sellers using those are hanging on to old concepts.

What matters is legitimacy. Where did that license come from?

If it is much cheaper than what you see direct from Microsoft, it is likely not valid or legitimate.
 

USAFRet

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An OEM licence is tied to the first computer it is installed on & the OEM [not MS] is responsible for providing software support. A Retail licence allows the software to be installed on whichever system you choose [but only on one installation on one computer at a time].
Pre Win 10 v1607, this was true.
After, if you link that license to an MS account, a license you purchase can be transferred to different hardware.
 
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Remeca

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It isn't just that those cheap keys won't be valid, it's a question of where they came from. Somebody might have stolen them from the factory, or bought them with stolen CC, etc, so when you buy them, and even if they work, you run the risk of the key being deactivated sometime down the line.
 
Sep 22, 2019
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When buying just the OS license, the term OEM and Retail is mostly of no consequence. Sellers using those are hanging on to old concepts.

What matters is legitimacy. Where did that license come from?

If it is much cheaper than what you see direct from Microsoft, it is likely not valid or legitimate.
So if I buy an OEM from Newegg ( https://tinyurl.com/t7urpm2 ) it would be the same as buying direct from Microsoft but I'd save $40?
Is OEM digital, as in would I just get an email with the key or is it a USB drive shipped to me?
This PC is intended to be just a dektop PC for basic web browsing by the way, and it'll be used for a long time... maybe 8+ years with occasional upgrades.
 
They are not even talking about "cheap keys" off some key reseller site (which are mostly "legit" keys from some region where they cost substantially less, but are sold in regions where they are not intended to be sold, technically breaking the terms of service).

They are referring to OEM licenses as sold on Newegg for around $100 or so. I don't believe these OEM versions include tech support from Microsoft, so the system builder is responsible for any Windows support. They may not be transferable to another system too, though I'm not sure if that still holds true.

If you get the digital delivery version, you will get a key sent to your email, otherwise the key should be on a scratch-off card. I believe they may still include a DVD with the scratch-off card version, though you can download the latest version of Windows 10 direct from Microsoft and install it using your own thumb drive.

The "retail" version can also be bought either via a downloadable key, or with the installation files pre-installed on a thumb drive. This version costs around $130-140 though.
 

USAFRet

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So if I buy an OEM from Newegg ( https://tinyurl.com/t7urpm2 ) it would be the same as buying direct from Microsoft but I'd save $40?
Is OEM digital, as in would I just get an email with the key or is it a USB drive shipped to me?
This PC is intended to be just a dektop PC for basic web browsing by the way, and it'll be used for a long time... maybe 8+ years with occasional upgrades.
Yes, that appears to be a valid license.
 
Sep 22, 2019
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"Product ships in a white envelope. "

It appears to be just the license key.
Supply your own flash drive.
Okay.
Above, cyroburner said that OEM keys don't include any tech support from Microsoft, so support has to be had through the "system builder. " Does that mean I'm responsible if anything bad happens to windows and Microsoft tech support can't help me?
 

USAFRet

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Okay.
Above, cyroburner said that OEM keys don't include any tech support from Microsoft, so support has to be had through the "system builder. " Does that mean I'm responsible if anything bad happens to windows and Microsoft tech support can't help me?
Correct. But...how often have you ever needed to call Microsoft?
You get better info and answers right here.
 

onespeedbiker

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Orginally OEM meant the OS came with a computer you bought, while retail meant you went out and bought the OS and installed it on your computer. As said earlier, sometimes this means nothing, but sometimes it can be problematic. To give you an example, my son bought a laptop from Best Buy a number of years ago, and it was advertised as upgraded from Windows 7 to 8.1. He used the computer for about 6 months and was then received an email from MS that his license was in violations of licensing terms and he needed to by a retail version of Windows 8.1. I went back to BB and after first claiming it was my sons responsibility, I got a hold of the computer service manager who understood right away. He took the lapyop and a few days later it had a new version of Windows 8.1 along with the DVD and retail packaging. Apparently BB has access to OEM licenses to load up on new computers, but they were using the licenses to upgrade computers which violates the terms of the OEM licenses.
 
Pre Win 10 v1607, this was true.
After, if you link that license to an MS account, a license you purchase can be transferred to different hardware.
Doesn't linking the license to a MS account limit your ability to sell the computer? Unless you had the foresight to link the license to a "throwaway" MS account, and you included the login info for the MS account with the sale of the computer.

I got scammed out of a Malwarebytes lifetime key. The scammer "sold" their key on Amazon. Amazon hides the fact that you're buying a key from a third party - it shows up on the purchase page and sales invoice as you buying the key from Amazon Digital Services. So I thought I was getting a legit key. The scammer didn't use the key for years, then a few months ago reasserted ownership of it via Malwarebytes. Malwarebytes sided with him since he had purchased it directly from them. I was out my money and a lifetime license (they don't sell it anymore).

I could see the same problem cropping up with theses Windows licenses tied to a MS account. You buy a used computer with Windows pre-installed on it. Everything works fine for the first year. Then one day your copy of Windows reports it's unauthorized and deactivates itself. The scammer/original owner used his MS account (which was linked with the license) and transferred the license to another computer (which he will then sell to repeat the scam).
 

my_pc_build

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Doesn't linking the license to a MS account limit your ability to sell the computer? Unless you had the foresight to link the license to a "throwaway" MS account, and you included the login info for the MS account with the sale of the computer.

I got scammed out of a Malwarebytes lifetime key. The scammer "sold" their key on Amazon. Amazon hides the fact that you're buying a key from a third party - it shows up on the purchase page and sales invoice as you buying the key from Amazon Digital Services. So I thought I was getting a legit key. The scammer didn't use the key for years, then a few months ago reasserted ownership of it via Malwarebytes. Malwarebytes sided with him since he had purchased it directly from them. I was out my money and a lifetime license (they don't sell it anymore).

I could see the same problem cropping up with theses Windows licenses tied to a MS account. You buy a used computer with Windows pre-installed on it. Everything works fine for the first year. Then one day your copy of Windows reports it's unauthorized and deactivates itself. The scammer/original owner used his MS account (which was linked with the license) and transferred the license to another computer (which he will then sell to repeat the scam).
Hmm, Could be wrong, but I think that to transfer the Windows 10 license the scammer would have to Remove the License from the relevant computer (which requires either Uninstalling the product key or Formatting the computer: https://www.groovypost.com/howto/transfer-windows-10-license-new-pc/).
They'd need to be a hacker-scammer with administrative remote control over that PC!
 

USAFRet

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Doesn't linking the license to a MS account limit your ability to sell the computer? Unless you had the foresight to link the license to a "throwaway" MS account, and you included the login info for the MS account with the sale of the computer.
If you included the MC account login, and the same install, etc...you have given the buyer the OS license.

You can unlink that particular system from your account when you sell it.
He would have no way of discovering what it used to be and transferring it to himself.


A more common scam would be selling the PC with a corporate license.
System is advertised as having Windows. Win 10 Pro, which was a bit odd, but we'll go with it.
You get it...yep, fully activated OS license.
No problem.

Exactly 6 months later, poof. Unactivated.
Most VLK licenses need to check in with their corporate key server at least once every 6 months.
One of the selling points was that it came with an OS and license. The scammer of course, got this for free.

This happened to me last summer.

3rd party reseller on Newegg, 20 yrs in the biz, apparently an OK company.
Bought a little Asus Transformer for a travel device in Feb 2019.
Turned it on, everything is as it should be. The thing works, with a seemingly valid license.
Time passes.
Being in my house, obviously it can't check in to its license server. Nor would we out here know it was supposed to do that.
Aug 2019, turn it on...poof. Unactivated.

Lots of back and forth between the reseller and Asus resulted in:
Asus giving me the original license key it came with...for Win 10 Home. Which obviously won't work on a Pro install.
The reseller scammer "Can we interest you in $20 for your trouble?"
 
Sep 22, 2019
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If you included the MC account login, and the same install, etc...you have given the buyer the OS license.

You can unlink that particular system from your account when you sell it.
He would have no way of discovering what it used to be and transferring it to himself.


A more common scam would be selling the PC with a corporate license.
System is advertised as having Windows. Win 10 Pro, which was a bit odd, but we'll go with it.
You get it...yep, fully activated OS license.
No problem.

Exactly 6 months later, poof. Unactivated.
Most VLK licenses need to check in with their corporate key server at least once every 6 months.
One of the selling points was that it came with an OS and license. The scammer of course, got this for free.

This happened to me last summer.

3rd party reseller on Newegg, 20 yrs in the biz, apparently an OK company.
Bought a little Asus Transformer for a travel device in Feb 2019.
Turned it on, everything is as it should be. The thing works, with a seemingly valid license.
Time passes.
Being in my house, obviously it can't check in to its license server. Nor would we out here know it was supposed to do that.
Aug 2019, turn it on...poof. Unactivated.

Lots of back and forth between the reseller and Asus resulted in:
Asus giving me the original license key it came with...for Win 10 Home. Which obviously won't work on a Pro install.
The reseller scammer "Can we interest you in $20 for your trouble?"
Wait... so should I not get OEM?
 
Sep 22, 2019
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A Win 10 that you purchase and install can almost certainly be moved to different hardware.
What are your future (5 yrs?) plans for this OS license?

You don't get to call MS if you have a problem. Which is a good thing...lol
It’s going in my parents desktop PC. Their old one was an HP with a first gen i7. When they saw that windows 7 was reaching the end of its life they decided they should get a new PC. This PC that I’m building them will have a 2200g, 16gb ram, a 1TB ssd... it’ll be used to store pictures, browse the web, use docs and spreadsheets etc... the old HP has been used for almost 10 years so I’d expect this one to go that long... maybe longer.
 
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