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  • New Computer, Windows 10 – OEM or Retail

    Posted on AusJohn Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Questions: Win10 New Computer, Windows 10 – OEM or Retail

    This topic contains 10 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  AusJohn 5 days, 22 hours ago.

    • Author
    • #2138275 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      I’m about to get a new custom built computer (in the process of upgrading from Windows 7).

      I would value people’s opinions on whether it’s worth paying the extra to buy Windows 10 retail version, rather than the OEM version.

      Basically, what are the advantages – if any – of buying the retail version?

      Upgrading to Windows 10 (probably for free) on the old computer isn’t an option because, although it’s working fine, it’s 9 years old and running 32-bit Windows 7.

    • #2138280 Reply

      Da Boss

      I believe you can still use that Win7 licence to install Win10, downloaded, if you have the proper licence activation code for it – others should confirm that, I believe.

      The main issue I get concerned with with new computers is the bloatware that come installed with branded computers (experience with Dell & HP, recently). By building your own, you should be able to avoid that disruption! 🙂

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2138290 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      it’s 9 years old and running 32-bit Windows 7

      With the Win7 32 bit license you will be only able to upgrade to Windows 10 32 bit which is a shame. Will access only 4GB of RAM, support only 32 bit software…You will be able to upgrade Windows 10 32 bit to Windows 10 64 bit doing a clean install
      Buying a retail will send you on a hunt for drivers… So, an OEM PC with pre-installed Windows 10 Pro 64 bit and all the needed drivers installed is a better option.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2138323 Reply

      AskWoody Lounger

      The product key is not tied to a specific bit level – you can use the same key to install 64-bit Windows 7 as for 32-bit.

      The main issue with OEM licensing is that from a legal perspective, the licence lives and dies with the system. You can’t legally transfer the licence to another machine – it’ll work but it’s not allowed. I believe this restriction has been overruled in Germany but not so in other countries.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2138335 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      There is no difference between OEM and retail in my experience.
      Buy OEM and save some cash for an external backup drive.

      cheers, Paul

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2138541 Reply


      I agree with Paul T as there are virtually no differences between the OEM and retail versions of Win10.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2138567 Reply

      AskWoody MVP

      There is a difference between OEM and Retail, of particular interest to DIY.  Retail is portable, OEM is not.  If you get the notion for a new build down the road, you can use the Retail copy you already own; uninstall from the old build and transfer to the new.  OEM is not portable; new build, new license.

      I haven’t bought a new license since Retail Windows 7 Ultimate in 2003.  I did upgrade a Retail Windows 7 Home to Pro several years ago for $89 if I recall correctly.

      Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
      "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
      "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2138719 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      Retail or OEM most likely will make little difference for any one asking. However DO get the PRO version not the Home Premium. I have had no problems to date with the cheaper licenses available online but opinions vary but the Pro version (for now at least) gives more control options. And of course for a new computer 64 bit is the only way to go. IMHO of course.


      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2138907 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      I would like to offer a sincere “thank you” to all who replied; the responses were interesting, and useful, in helping me make a decision.

      Considering all the feedback, I’ve decided to opt for Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, OEM version.

      I’m unlikely to want/need to transfer the Windows licence to a different computer, but if for some reason that situation arises then I can just buy a new retail licence at the time.

      Once again, thank you to everyone for your input.

    • #2138997 Reply


      If you ever have any thought of running Windows 10 in a virtual machine, you will need a retail license to do that; OEM license won’t work in a virtual machine.

      For example, you may decide to wipe your drive and install Linux Mint instead of Windows 10 as your host OS, and then install Windows 10 in a virtual machine inside of Linux Mint. A W10 retail license will allow you to do that.

      This is the most likely scenario that comes to my mind as to why you would need a retail W10 license.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2139019 Reply

        AskWoody Plus


        That’s handy to know, but I would say it’s highly unlikely that I’ll find myself in the situation that you mention.

        If by chance I do face that dilemma, I’ll worry about it then. More than enough to think about at the moment. 🙂

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