Windows 7 OEM pricing emerges ... some serious discounts available

Windows 7 OEM pricing emerges ... some serious discounts available

Summary: Online retailer has listed various editions of Windows 7 OEM, and there are some deep discounts on offer.


Online retailer has listed various editions of Windows 7 OEM, and there are some deep discounts on offer.

Here are the numbers:

  • Windows 7 Home Premium OEM: $99.99 (full version retails for $199.99)
  • Windows 7 Professional OEM: $134.99 (full version retails for $299.99)
  • Windows 7 Ultimate OEM: $174.99 (full version retails for $319.99)

Those are some really deep discounts indeed.

Some points worth noting about Windows 7 OEM:

  • No retail packaging, you'll get little more than a cardboard sleeve containing a DVD.
  • Very limited tech support.
  • OEM licensing means that once installed, the software (or more specifically, the product key) is tied to a single machine)

If you can live with the limitations, this is a cheap way of getting your hands on Windows 7.

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • You forgot to mention ...

    ... That OEM means it must be pre-installed on the machine that was purchased by the end user ... meaning it cannot LEGALLY be purchased for installation by your average Joe ...

    I own a small IT company in Canada, and I have a heck of a time trying to explain to end users why some unscrupulous companies sell OEM software to end users when it's highly illegal.

    • I thought...

      that it was OK as long as hardware of some kind was purchased with it?
      • Yes but

        Only a fully assembled, fully functional computer with the software preinstalled.
        • Yes, that's the LETTER of the EULA...

          ...but Microsoft certainly isn't pursuing it to any degree. Thousands (millions?) of OEM copies of XP have been sold out there through a whole range of legitimate retailers.

          And there's the rub: if MS really wanted to enforce this clause of the Windows EULA, they'd exercise tighter control over who can sell OEM copies. That would mean, for instance, going to Tiger Direct and making sure that each and every OEM copy that was shipped to them was actually used in a system that was shipped out to a customer.

          MS tried to do this for years, leading to silly instances of OEM Windows copies shipping with broken mobos ("component not guaranteed to be functional").

          Right now, for MS it means a sale that they don't have to support, and they seem to be fine with that. I'm not sure what your point is in hammering home the fine details of the OEM EULA. Are you trying to dissuade people from buying it?
          • Save yourself the OEM fee

            You either have a licensed version (conditions set out in the EULA) or
            you're not. If not save yourself the OEM fee.
            Richard Flude
    • Actualy your wrong.

      Atleast in the UK you can because There is the system builders licence which is covered too.
      Basicly you can buy an oem copy with a psu or hdd and its fine but that was with XP and the terms have actualy been loosend since then.

      Under Vista OEM copys are not entitled to any support other than the online help (Not Even from).
      • Actually, he's right

        The non-peripheral hardware requirement portion of the SBLA has been removed and replaced with "fully functional, complete computer with the software preinstalled". If anything, the terms are more strict now.
    • Not quite...

      Actually Microsoft have not been very clear on this. The current consensus seems to be that you can legally buy and install the OEM version if you also build your own machine, and are prepared to be self supporting (i.e. you are acting as both system builder & end user). Some MS docs support this, others cast some doubt.
      • Microsoft is very clear on this actually

        (might require access to the OEM System Builder site, maybe)
    • The wording of the license is very clear

      that a system refurbisher may use an OEM license. It is also very clear that anybody is capable of being a system refurbisher. And given that only clean installs are allowed with the OEM license, anybody installing this by definition IS refurbishing their system.
      Michael Kelly
      • But

        The system builder or refurbisher can't *USE* the software beyond what is covered in the SBLA, which includes the statement that they have the right to preinstall the operating system software, but that's it.
    • Actually MS donlt care anymore

      the said as much themselfs last week as reported on TR.
      The 'G-Man.'
    • All of you others are wrong and Ludo is correct

      In Microsoft's system builder license, only the system builder can install the software. The end user is the person that purchases the system from the system builder. Also, system builders are required to use the OPK to install Windows.

      This is the part of the OEM System Builder License Agreement (SBLA) that contains that phrasing:

      "Except as granted in this license, you may not **use**, run, copy, modify, display, distribute, repackage or reassemble the
      Software, Hardware, OPK or any part of them."

      The license says that the system builder is a distributor of a complete computer system, and "distribute" is defined as such:

      "?Distribution? and ?distribute? mean the point in time when a Customer System leaves your control."

      The hardware requirement stipulation for a "required component" like a HDD, has been pulled from the system builder license agreement since before Windows Vista was released (shortly after XP SP2). The license now states that it must be sold with a fully functional computer.


      "To distribute the Software or Hardware in this Pack, you must be a System Builder
      and accept this license. ?System Builder? means an original equipment manufacturer, an assembler, a refurbisher, or a software
      pre-installer that sells the Customer System(s) to a third party."

      So no, you can't buy a computer system and legally buy OEM software for your own use.

      System Builders aren't even allowed to do this. They have the Action Pack subscription to do that with, but they have to pay a yearly subscription fee (and continually renew it) in order to cost-effectively use Microsoft software legally.
      • But system builder and OEM are slightly different

        I dont see why if you are building your own computer you cant use an OEM copy. THe only thing you lose is the transferability. OEM ties it to the motherboard. Ill find the OEM license and post it.
        • Microsoft uses those terms interchangeable

          "OEM" is a general term meaning a computer manufacturer.

          "System Builder" just means a smaller computer manufacturer/builder that uses off-the-shelf parts. Sometimes Microsoft refers to them as "OEM System Builders" because they still assemble computers.

          "Direct OEM's" can be either type of builder, but they have direct purchasing contracts from Microsoft, so they don't buy System Builder media from a distributor. They would be like tier-1 and tier-2 manufacturers. They have monthly contract purchase commitments, and have to produce their own media, documentation, and print their own COA's. They pay less for licensing, but have to pay the rest out of their own pocket. They buy in bulk too, so they do save on costs somewhat, but not a lot.

          Both "Direct OEM's" and "System Builders" get instructional support from the OEM System Builder website ( ) , but there used to be another site for Direct OEM's. I've never been there though because our business doesn't buy enough to warrant going the direct route. AFAIK, that site does not exist anymore, or the domain has changed.

          Also, what Adrian is referring to is System Builder licensing, because if you found a direct OEM license, it would be labelled with the manufacturers name, like Dell or HP. Direct OEM's have to label everything with their brand. System Builder packs are generic.
          • In addition....

            It's been said that major OEM's (with direct contracts) pay about $50/license/PC for "Home Premium" versions of Windows (currently Vista). The cost of producing documentation, media (or the logistics/licensing for using a recovery partition, such as licensing of programs like Softthinks software, Norton Ghost, or developing in-house applications), and COA's with their name printed on it instead of "OEM Software" which is what is printed on System Builder COA's.
      • But, if you build your own systems, ...

        ... you ARE a system builder. The way to look at it is if you bought the motherboard, you would have the right to buy an OEM copy of Windows - but you then cannot port it to another motherboard except under very specific circumstances, such as a motherboard failure.
        M Wagner
        • Only if you distribute your computer

          The end user is "a third-party beyond your control".

          That means a system builder can't be an end user, and a system builder is considered a distributor of computer systems under the terms of the SBLA.

          A system builder can't use the software other than for the reason of preinstallation for delivery to the end user either.
          • Here's the bottom line.

            Newegg and others have been selling OEM copies to individual "system builders" for years.

            If MS had ANY kind of a problem with that, they'd have stopped them years ago.

            All MS has to do to stop it is quit supplying them with the OEM SKU.

    • You are correct, but the average Joe ...

      ... already owns a copy of Windows that came with his last PC so s/he is eligible to buy at "upgrade" prices, which are very similar to hese OEM prices.
      M Wagner