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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Alternative Operating Systems > Windows 7: First Time Buyer: Get Full Retail or OEM Version?

Windows 7: First Time Buyer: Get Full Retail or OEM Version?
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Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Jun 2002
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May 16, 2010, 01:01 PM
Putting Windows 7 on my new MBP.

Should I buy the Full Retail or OEM version? I know OEM has no support and can only install on one machine.

And, can I install Windows 7 on more than one machine? Or do I need a fresh, new copy for each Mac I have?

Cold Warrior
Join Date: Jan 2001
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May 16, 2010, 01:49 PM
windows 7 uses activation. You will need a separate license key for each installation, then each key will be linked to your Mac's unique hardware to activate Windows.
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: San Antonio TX USA
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May 16, 2010, 05:56 PM
Unless it's a Dell OEM version (and perhaps a few other branded OEM versions), there should be no difference. The OEM versions you DO NOT want will be ludicrously inexpensive-a dead giveaway. If you see a modest price difference, go with the lesser price.

I've bought Dell OEM versions of XP Pro for under $10 because of this OEM thing. Why the weirdness with price? Dell tweaks their installation to actually look for a Dell signature on the hardware and some of their OEM discs won't install without finding that signature. Having a couple of Dells sitting around, I thought this was a good deal so I have a few backup OEM install discs.

Cold Warrior is spot on about licenses. When you buy an installation disc, you buy a license. Win7 is very good about checking with Microsoft to see if the license key you supply is valid and unused-you can't get away with installing a retail or OEM disc on more than one machine because the OS won't let you.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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May 16, 2010, 05:59 PM
Win7 OEM can only be installed on one computer, ever. Non-transferable.

Retail you need 1 license per computer, but if you switch from a VM to bootcamp or something you're fine.

MS used to have a deal for students to buy Win7 for $30, but now it's $65.
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