OEM Version Activation and Closing Thoughts

One debate that has been raging in our forums and other places online for some time is whether or not users who buy the OEM version of Windows Vista from someone like Newegg will be able to use their OS on their system after a major upgrade or they build a new system.  While Microsoft has stated that the retail versions will allow the license to transfer to a new PC, the information on the OEM versions is very…limited, and contradictory. 

The only way to test it was to try it — which I did by buying an OEM version of Vista Ultimate installing and activating it on one system and then another. 

First, I installed my copy of Vista Ultimate OEM on a computer consisting of an Intel P965 motherboard, E6600 processor and NVIDIA 8800 GTS graphics card.  I activated it online and made sure everything was still functional.

Next I took that same copy of Vista Ultimate OEM with the same CD key and installed it on a system with an Intel 975X motherboard, E6700 processor and ATI X1950 XTX grpahics card.  Here is what I got when I tried to activate it:

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Well, I kind of expected that.  Looks like automatic activation won’t be an option for users of OEM versions, thats for sure.  Here you can either tell Vista that you have another license you’d like to use or you can use the automated phone system to activate.

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So, I called the automated phone line and tried to activate that way.  After giving the system my 54-digit installation ID, it told me it was not able to activate my software and was going to transfer me to a representative to help.  Oh boy.

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After talking with a very much out-sourced representative, who simply asked me if I was “using this software on any other system any more” and I said ‘no’, they supplied me with the corresponding 54-digit confirmation ID.

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So, I was able to transfer this copy of Windows Vista Ultimate OEM from one PC to another, but I had to jump through a few hoops to make it all happen.  Is that worth the price discount of the OEM Vista versions?  That’s up to you!

Update 1/26/07: After some more comments in this thread of our MS Windows forum, I installed this same license of OEM Vista on a third PC using another motherboard and chipset (680i) and was able to follow the same call in procedure to get it fully activated.  It seems the OEM route is looking more and more appealing!

Word of warning!  PC Perspective takes no responsibility for any use contrary to the MS Vista EULA (end user license agreement).  These experiences were simply illustratory in nature in an attempt to recreate an upgraded system.

Closing Thoughts

My initial thoughts on Windows Vista are pretty positive from an operating system perspective; the new searching and organizing capabilities are very impressive and Aero is a fun new way to work on applications.  Once I get some more time under my belt with the OS and using it on daily basis, I’ll be able to express in more detail whether or not I would recommend this OS for everyone.  I can tell you now that gamer’s are going to be wary here as drivers, especially those from NVIDIA, are in a very early stage and are going to be lacking many features for some time.  But that’s for another article…

The new Microsoft Windows Vista operating system is definitely a fantastic new product that will probably catch on more quickly than most expect.  For those users debating upgrade, I hope this quick look at the OS was helpful and for enthusiasts debating the OEM versus Retail version purchase, I hope my testing above helped you make your decision. 

Be sure to use our price checking engine to find the best prices on Windows Vista, and anything else you may want to buy!

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