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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    I am confused! I have built my own PCs, for my own use, for 15 years. I want to build my own Windows 7 PC. I intended to buy an OEM version from one of the myriad of legitimate sellers, like NewEgg, or Tiger Direct, etc, along with the components. However, I just read that there is confusion in the licensing language and its interpretation, as to whether an end user may use an OEM version on his/her own computer.

    Who among you has factual knowledge as to whether a self-built PC with Windows 7 OEM installed will remain validly licensed? Is this something that could be accepted today, yet rejected with an upcoming WGA (or whatever it is now called) change? I want to save money by using an OEM install, but not at the expense of having my activation canceled a year down the road.

    If an end user is to remain validly licensed, how should he go about it? Must we download or locate the Pre-Installation Kit and use it, then activate Windows afterward? In effect, must or can we build the PC as if we are an OEM, then sell it to ourselves?

    Wiz

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  3. #2
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    I have read that the OEM licensing now is NOT setup for enthusiasts who build their own systems. Howeve, I'm not a licensing export and I don't know that any licensing experts frequent the Lounge. OEM licensing has changed more than once in recent years. Unfortunately, you are likely to get different answers if you ask more than one Microsoft person about licensing. The best I can recommend is to call Newegg or Tiger and ask them.

    Joe

  4. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    You may want to consider the retail version anyway. The OEM version, even if legal and that's debatable, must and can only be used on the original PC. I you at some future time, who knows, change your PC substantially, you may end up with an OEM version that can not be activated in the modified PC. There seem to be much tighter hold on what can/can't be done with the OEM keys. You can use a retail upgrade media to do what you are proposing in your self built PC.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
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  5. #4
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I want to build my own Windows 7 PC. I intended to buy an OEM version from one of the myriad of legitimate sellers, like NewEgg, or Tiger Direct, etc, along with the components. However, I just read that there is confusion in the licensing language and its interpretation, as to whether an end user may use an OEM version on his/her own computer.
    Yes you can use a Windows 7 OEM builders disk. It is meant for the system builder for resale. There are some limitations that go a bit behond the retail versions, like not being able to transfer it to another computer. Microsoft will not provide you with support relating to the os. This discounted OEM disk is meant for the system builder to be the one providing all the tech support to his/her customer.

    So as a system builder you could turn around and keep the computer you built, no one will be the wiser, but your on your own
    as far as tech support from Microsoft goes. And if the motherboard dies and you need to replace it, you'll have to call to explain
    that the motherboard has died and has been replaced before reactivation can be affected.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  6. #5
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    Here are three different sources about OEM licenses.

    Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: No OEM For You: Windows 7 OEM Packaging is Not For Individuals

    Is it OK to use OEM Windows on your own PC? Don't ask Microsoft | ZDNet

    Licensing for Hobbyists.

    The last is a Microsoft page. According to it OEM software: "Must be preinstalled on a PC and sold to another unrelated party."

    Joe

  7. #6
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Looks like you got your answer...

    This is pretty clear-cut. Sadly, this language does not appear in the licensing for OEM versions of Windows 7. Yes, individuals can still buy OEM versions of Windows 7. But they cannot then install that copy of Windows 7 on a PC they are building for themselves. Instead, they can only install it on a PC that they then sell--and support--to someone else. And they must do so using Microsoft's OEM pre-installation kit (OPK), a step that is clearly aimed at further preventing this type of software from being used by the hobbyist market.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  8. #7
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    I build my own computers and have used OEM versions of Windows with no problems. I even changed the motherboard after it died with a completely diffent one and was able to Validate via the telephone. Web validation failed as expected and the telephone auto responder will give you a new key to install with as long as its only on one PC.

    Jerry

  9. #8
    New Lounger
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    now that is interesting,

    I have been building my own systems since DOS 4, i purchase the parts and an OEM copy of windows build and install windows and away i go, Obviously there is no way for microsoft to tell if you built the machine or whether the computer shop did, the responsibility is on the seller to only sell an OEM version if the buyer purchases the major components of a system with it, eg MB cpu, and frankly the way some retailers build and install leaves a lot to be desired anyway so your own build will most likely be far superior and more reliable.

    You wont find that 6 months 12 months or whatever down the track your system is not able to be validated microsoft are not that pedantic that they would refuse to validate a purchased copy of windows just because you built the computer yourself .

    They will and do chase the people be it a retailer or a hobbyist who build and sell computers with pirated copies of windows loaded. which BTW i have never understood you pay $1500.00 for a computer and by loading a pirated copy of windows save $100.00 or so , DOH !!! you are an idiot!!! and ok yes I acknowledge that some end users don't know and get caught out , but what mentality have these guys got... simply put if you cant run a profitable business without stealing then get out of the industry because we dont want you!!

    Even when i had a Dell computer where the MB got zapped and because they ( Dell) quoted me a 12 week!! yes 3 month wait for a new MB i installed a gigabyte mother board and by being HONEST and telling the girl on the phone of the delay and what i had done i was able to re-validate windows and for the last 5 yrs ( its XP) its run perfectly and always passed validation first time every time. ( in case you dont know validation or re-validation is also needed when you want to download free programs such as photostory etc from microsoft) so dont worry, the day microsoft worries about that is is in my opinion, infinity. oh and in case your still worried you can register with microsoft as an OEM builder free of charge anyway, and get some nice freebies with that registration.

    Guys Microsoft are NOT the enemy!!


    Syb

  10. #9
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I have said on more than one occasion that often all it takes is a 5 minute call to a MS support line to reactivate a legitimate copy of a MS product. I have had to call twice on earlier versions of Office when I updated my OS and had already used the allowed numbers of installs for my Office products. MS service reps have always been very helpful. I believe this will also work in this senario if a substantial change takes place in your PC and Windows has to be reactivated. MS reps will again be very helpful. As Sybex states MS is not the enemy if you own a legitimate license of their product.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  11. #10
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    The question is "can an OEM version of Windows 7 be used on a PC you build yourself for yourself". The answer is yes you can but according to Microsoft it is a violation of the user licensing. However, as has been pointed out it is highly unlikely that Microsoft is going to chase down a user building a single PC for their own use.

    Joe

  12. #11
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    More detailed information on Microsoft's OEM pre-installation kit (OPK)

    Frequently Asked Questions
    Ensuring Genuine Microsoft Software
    Q. How can customers ensure that they have acquired a genuine, legal copy of a Windows desktop operating system when purchasing a PC?
    Q. What is the Windows Genuine Advantage program?
    Q. Do all Windows users need to validate under Windows Genuine Advantage, or is validation limited to particular versions of Windows?
    Q. What is a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) label?
    Q. What are the End User Software License Terms?
    Q. What are the different ways that my customers can get legal licenses for Windows desktop operating systems? What about software applications such as the Microsoft Office system?
    Q. I get many email solicitations offering "Microsoft software at cheap prices." Is this software legal?
    Q. I see products like Win XP Pro—COA only—advertised for sale. Is this legal?
    System Builder Licensing
    Q. Microsoft recently made some changes to the OEM System Builder License and packaging. Can you provide a summary of these changes and when they took effect?
    Q. What are the different ways in which Microsoft OEM System Builder Windows desktop operating system licenses can be distributed?
    Q. Can I create my own recovery disks and sell these with the computer systems that I build? I have heard that direct OEMs can do this, so why can't I?
    Q. Are system builders allowed to create a "ghost image" CD and ship it along with the system for OEM customers?
    Q. What is the OPK and why do I have to use it?
    Q. We would like to create a computer system using an OEM Windows operating system that has a dual-boot feature. The single system would use the same version of Windows on both boot images/partitions.
    Does this require two different licenses, or can I use the same license and product key for both images/partitions, since they are both on a single system that can use only one operating system at a time?
    Q. Can a PC with an OEM Windows operating system have its motherboard upgraded and keep the same license? What if it was replaced because it was defective?
    Q. The new COA is shaped differently from the previous, rectangular COA. How do I apply it for the best coverage?
    Q. How does a company qualify to become a direct Microsoft OEM? It seems that the larger companies currently have an unfair advantage compared with smaller OEMs.
    Q. I am a reseller of PCs that come preloaded with OEM Windows operating systems. Am I allowed to load OEM Office 2007 onto these machines?
    Q. Can two or more users access and fully utilize OEM Windows operating systems concurrently on the same machine?
    Q. What can system builders offer their customers as a "legalization solution" for Windows desktop operating systems?
    Transfer of License
    Q. Can my customers transfer or sell their OEM software licenses?
    Q. My customer bought a new PC and wants to move the OEM software from the old PC to the new one. Can't users do whatever they want with their software?
    Refurbished/Used PCs
    Q. What is the difference between a refurbished PC and a used PC?
    Q. Can I sell secondhand computer systems with the original Microsoft software, or will a new license be required before selling?
    Q. If my customer asks me to upgrade a PC with new hardware components, when is a new operating system needed? When would the PC be considered "new"?
    Q. Can a system builder install Microsoft OEM software on a refurbished computer system, which may include branded PCs (e.g., Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, etc.)?
    Q. If I need to reinstall the operating system on a machine from a direct OEM (e.g., Dell) that my customer has brought in, how should I do this?
    Downgrade Rights
    Q. What are downgrade rights and how would my customer benefit from them?
    Q. Where can I find out more about downgrade rights?
    Q. Who can install the downgrade software or reinstall the original software?
    Q. Where do end users get the CD/media to install the downgrade software?
    Q. Can end users use both the latest version and the downgrade software at the same time?
    Q. Can end users return to Windows Vista Business, Vista Ultimate, Windows XP Professional, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Small Business Server 2003 software after they downgrade?
    Q. How do end users reinstall the original software after downgrading?
    Q. Does the Microsoft Office 2003 or 2007 OEM license contain the downgrade rights to a previous version?
    Activation
    Q. What is product activation?
    Q. Which customers and products are required to activate?
    Q. How does Microsoft product activation work?
    Q. What do I do if a customer returns a computer system that I sold, but the customer has activated the OEM System Builder Windows XP Professional software?
    Volume Licensing
    Q. Where do I get more information on Microsoft Volume Licensing programs?
    Q. What is Software Assurance (SA)?
    Q. Do I need to register as a Volume Licensing reseller to offer Software Assurance to my customers?
    Q. I don't currently offer volume licenses. How do I become registered to offer Open License Business, Open License Volume, or Open License Value?
    Q. My customer wants to purchase a "naked" PC from me and acquire the Windows license through a Volume Licensing agreement. Is this OK?
    Q. If a school enters into a Microsoft Academic Volume Licensing Agreement (Campus, School, Open, Select), does that mean it is licensed for a full Microsoft operating system, such as Windows?
    Q. If a school has an Academic Volume Licensing agreement, such as Campus, that currently covers a Windows upgrade, does it still need a license that covers the full Windows operating system as well?
    Q. If a school has an Academic Volume Licensing agreement and purchases a new PC, is it legal for the school to purchase a "naked" PC and use its Academic Volume License to install the full operating system license?
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  13. #12
    New Lounger
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    Thanks to everybody for their input on this topic. The licensing question has been answered to my satisfaction.

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