Archive for the Tutorials Category
They’re For Different Audiences
The two types of licenses here differ conceptually. One is for normal Windows users, at least in theory — most Windows users don’t actually buy boxed copies of Windows. Another is for people building computers and preinstalling Windows, or maybe building their own PCs — it seems to go back and forth with each Windows release.
- Full Version/Retail licenses of Windows are the standard “consumer” version of Windows. If you’ve ever walked into an electronics store and saw a boxed copy of Windows on a shelf, you were looking at a retail license of Windows. These are designed for sale to average computer users who may be buying a new Windows license to upgrade their computer to a new version of Windows. It allows them to take their copy of Windows and install it on any PC they like — but it can only be installed on one PC at a time.
- System Builder/OEM licenses of Windows are used by computer manufacturers — “Original Equipment Manufacturers.” Not only are they used by large computer manufacturers like Lenovo, Asus, Dell, and HP, they’re used by the local computer shop you might buy a custom-built computer from. Microsoft has swung back and forth on whether “enthusiasts” can use System Builder licenses of Windows when building their own PCs. This type of license is designed to stay tied to a single PC forever.
The System Builder License’s Limitations
- It’s Tied To One Computer/Motherboard: After you install your System Builder copy of Windows, it’s tied to that single computer you install it on forever. Specifically, it’s tied to that model of motherboard. The System Builder license of Windows becomes associated with a single system, while you can take a Retail copy of Windows and then install it on another computer in the future. Of course, it can still only be installed on one computer at a time.
- No Free Support From Microsoft: You don’t get any free support direct from Microsoft. This means you can’t call a Microsoft phone line and get help with any problems you experience. The System Builder license states that the system builder is responsible for providing support — so, if you buy a computer with a System Builder copy of Windows, the company or person who sold it to you is supposed to provide support. If you build your own computer with a System Builder copy of Windows, you’re responsible for providing your own support. This is only an issue if you want to call Microsoft — you still get updates from Windows Update, of course.
- Choose 64-bit or 32-bit At Time of Purchase: When you purchase a System Builder edition of Windows, you have to buy either a 32-bit or 64-bit version of the installation media. When you purchase a Full Version, both the 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows come on the same DVD. Because the software is designed to only run on one PC, it’s expected you’ll just choose 32-bit or 64-bit at time of purchase. (You probably just want the 64-bit edition of Windows at this point, anyway.)