windows 10 oem vs retail whats the difference

Windows 10 OEM vs Retail: What’s the Difference?

should you buy a microsoft windows 10 oem or retail

The new update of all Microsoft windows 10 rolled out earlier this year and shoppers in need of the latest Microsoft Windows 10 Home Edition activation raise one familiar question again:

“Should we buy an OEM or are we safer with the retail?”

A lot of people take OEM for fake products. Little do they know, all of the hearsays are just mere misunderstanding.

OEM versions work and they are 100 percent authentic. When you shop around online and it won’t be long before you come across affordable versions of Windows 10 on sale. These are usually the OEMs.

Surely, you will encounter products that seem to be of a dubious nature, so do your research first and find a software distributor that’s reputable. You’ll know this from customer reviews. Among the stores you can trust in the whole of Oceania is Softvire Global and we have Microsoft products in their OEM versions too.

Why do you need to spend almost $200 on Windows when you can buy a product key that’s priced a lot lesser? The price difference usually goes as much as $70, depending on whom you are buying the products from. But there’s not much difference between these two products apart from their price and a few other little details.

To stop the myths about OEMs, we’ll explain what a Microsoft Windows 10 64 Bit OEM Home Edition is and how it’s only slightly different from the retail version.

Watch Windows 10 Update:

What is an OEM License?

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer and is a term that companies that build PCs use. These devices usually include a copy of Windows, so that when you walk out of the electronics store with your shiny, new laptop, you can take it home and already use it immediately.

The versions of Windows used in these new PCs you just brought out of a legit store are more often than not OEM copies. They have been sold to the PC manufacturers at a discount, so they can be put on their units.

While the majority of OEM versions end up pre-installed on PCs, it’s also possible to buy them as license keys from places like Softvire Global. This is a common practice for users who like to build their own gaming PCs or buy a second-hand device that has either no OS or one that has an outdated OS.

activating your windows 10 with oem product key

The Difference Between Windows OEM and Retail?

So, how is the Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64 bit different from the retail Windows 10?

The biggest difference is that retail versions can be transferred from one PC to another while OEM should be tied to a particular device for as long as it’s working. In other words, you cannot transfer the OEM license to another device.

In my example earlier, newly bought laptops have OEM keys written at the bottom of the device or embedded directly into firmware (BIOS or UEFI) and used by Windows when required.

You might have problems reactivating system builder Windows in case you make a considerable hardware upgrade like the motherboard. But that doesn’t mean you can’t upgrade the hardware at all. You can change almost everything except the motherboard because the license key is tied to it.

Basically, when you put an OEM key in your PC, you have to stick with your PC or change the whole Windows OS altogether.


I already mentioned this couple of times earlier because this is the main selling point of Windows OEM. Microsoft charges a lower licensing fee from device makers for OEM Windows product keys. The reason, device makers purchase them in bulk.

Tech support

There is one more reason why Microsoft waives off fees on OEM licensing. Microsoft tech support is not offered for OEM Windows. That means you can’t call their tech support team to get your queries answered. However, your PC maker may have their own tech support and online forums are always there.

Apart from the makers of laptops and desktops, Windows OEM license keys can also be used by professional system builders who configure PC according to the needs of their customers.

Even when it comes to warranties OEM product differs from retail versions. The retail version has better support, as mentioned above, and warranties than OEM. However, as more people use the affordable version there could be a change that might happen, and support and warranties might even be better.

No upgrades

There is another difference between the full version and Windows OEM, it can’t be used for an upgrade. That means if you’re already running a valid copy of Windows 7 or 8.1 and you buy Windows 10 OEM, you’ll have to perform a clean install as I mentioned earlier.

Most licenses used for personal or non-commercial are either retail and OEM licenses. But for businesses, education purposes, and government, Microsoft offers Volume Licenses. It gives users the ability to use a single license on multiple computers for an organization. However, the license cannot be transferred to devices when the ownership of the system changes.

Where to Get OEM Windows 10?

If you’re not planning to buy a new PC for your home office, there are other ways to get a new copy of Microsoft Windows 10 64 Bit Home Edition. You can head over to e-commerce websites or find online retailers like Softvire Global to grab a copy for your system builder project. They also offer an OEM version of Windows 10 Professional, if you need one.

Should You Buy Windows OEM for Personal Use?

Primarily, Windows OEM is pre-installed by PC makers or on system builder setups that are meant for resale to customers. Even though you can buy a legal copy of it online, there is a lack of information regarding whether you can purchase it as an end-user.

Even if you plan to go ahead, you should decide first whether you’re willing to trade some benefits against the reduction in the cost offered by Windows System Builder versions.

Final Words: Should You Buy an OEM Key?

There’s nothing illegal about buying a Windows OEM key, so long as it’s an official one. There are plenty of legitimate sites online that sell this kind of software. Software specialist sites like Softvire Global have a number of promo sales for Windows OEM keys.

Just be sure to read the description carefully and check user ratings before spending any money.

So long as you’re happy to take on the responsibility of being your own technical support, then an OEM version can save a lot of money while offering an identical experience as the retail.

Of course, those who prefer the peace of mind knowing there’s someone at the end of the telephone who can help fix any problems on your OS might prefer the full retail route instead. Just avoid buying a DVD version from suspicious-looking sites.

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