Windows XP : What does OEM signify ?

  Alan Ryan 14:57 24 Oct 2003

What do the letters OEM signify within Windows XP software. Are they an indication of what might be called an "economy" version of the operating system that has been installed by a computer manufacturer rather than the full version of Windows XP which retails for £163 (at Amazon) ?

  alcudia 15:02 24 Oct 2003

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer

  Jester2K II 15:03 24 Oct 2003

Its exactly the same as the full version just different license.

I can't do a good job of explaining the license so I'll leave that to someone else.

DO NOT think or let ANYONE tell you that you get less with an OEM copy than the FULL Copy. They are identical. Just different licenses mean different prices.

  Legolas 15:03 24 Oct 2003

Have alook at this thread click here

  alcudia 15:04 24 Oct 2003

Sorry, meant to go on. The OEM version of Windows is identical to the full retail version, with perhaps some cosmetic changes relating to the particular OEM.

  Alan Ryan 15:32 24 Oct 2003

Thanks , Legolas, for directing me to the earlier thread - which I ought to have found for myself.
A few weeks ago, during the Great Worm Scare, I decided (in an idle hour) to ask Bill Gates why his very clever software engineers had failed to design an operating system that wouldn't need to be patched so frequently. I managed to penetrate the Microsoft defensive screen, until almost at Bill's office door, I was asked whether my version of Windows XP had the OEM identity. When I admitted it did, they politely told me to get lost because Microsoft doesn't "support" that
version of their O.S., and I was referred to the manufacturer of my computer. From this rather mad encounter, I concluded that OEM must signify the "poor man's option", and I wondered if the differences between "full" and OEM versions were merely cosmetic.

  interzone55 16:45 24 Oct 2003

As other people have stated OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer.

This usually signifies a "stripped down" version, as far as software is concerned this would mean no box (and indeed, no disk with Windows), no manual & normally, no support from the software company.

Windows XP is available with several different licenses. As you have found out, the full version costs ~£170. This is for installation on a PC with no other copy of Windows installed.
If you already have Windows 98, 98se or ME installed you can purchase an "upgrade" to XP Home for ~£80. This is identical in everyway to the full version, but you may be asked to prove you have a copy of 98, 98se or ME during installation.
The OEM license (which costs between £40 & £60 depending on the companies negotiating power & purchase quantity) is for pre-installed versions of the OS, it will be a full copy, normally with all the latest updates, and perhaps a custom wallpaper added. It will also have all the correct drivers added for you PC. What you don't get is a CD or any support from Microsoft.

OEM can also apply to hardware, here you will not get a box, any additional software etc. Just the bare minimum to get the hardware working.
For example, a "retail boxed" graphics card would include the card, driver CD and manual, it may also include S-Video & DVI leads, and a few games to show off the card. The OEM version would not include the leads & games.

Hope this helps

  Alan Ryan 17:42 24 Oct 2003

Thanks for your very thorough explanation of the
situation regarding OEM software etc. Once or twice, when following instructions for "tweaks" or whatever, I've noticed little differences between what are supposed to be the steps in the procedure for Windows XP, and what actually turns out to be the case. From what's been said in this thread, it's obvious that there's no need to suppose the OEM user has been short changed - unless "support" from Microsoft is expected.

Next time I've nothing better to do, I'll speak to Bill Gates about his OEM "policy".


  Jester2K II 17:49 24 Oct 2003

Why what's wrong with it???

Either you buy the full version at a higher price and get MS support. Or you buy the cheaper one and your vendor supports it.

What's broken exactly??

  AL D. 17:56 24 Oct 2003

Hi,in response to your quote " I decided (in an idle hour) to ask Bill Gates why his very clever software engineers had failed to design an operating system that wouldn't need to be patched so frequently."
if you think along the lines of bios updates/latest virus definitions/driver updates/etc. its caused by Technology Advancement,and any system that did not need any of the above,would truly be the greatest invention evermore .

  Djohn 18:05 24 Oct 2003

One good point to remember is that even with the full retail version of Microsoft programs you only get TWO free help sessions by phone. After this each session will be charged at £185.00 + VAT. I've used one of my free lives already on a very non dis-script question before realising this.

I now have one life left on Publisher and still the two on XP Pro and XP Office. I shall be very careful before calling them again, and would strongly recommend anyone to buy OEM and save the difference, but remember OEM should stay with the machine it was bought for. j.

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