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Vista OEM vs Retail

Monday, 29 January 2007 releases

I’ve been using Vista for a couple of weeks now. I didn’t have to pay for it but there are many who will be considering the upgrade. For anyone in that situation, I want them to know about the various versions so they can make the best choice.

Vista Retail

OEM vs Retail

OEM is only allowed to be sold to system builders or to consumers with a piece of primary hardware (read: CPU, motherboard or hard disk) and has certain licensing differences over Retail including the inability to (legally) transfer the license to new hardware, as I covered last February.

Retail gives you more freedom in that respect and you should get a nice box but you will end up paying about 100% more for it! I’ve just checked the prices and ebuyer are asking for £328 inc VAT for retail – an absolutely insane amount of money. MicroDirect are asking for £132 for the OEM version.

So there is only one logical step. If you want to buy Vista for a computer that doesn’t have XP, you want to buy enough new hardware to offset the OEM justifications…

Upgrade vs Full

Upgrade doesn’t exist for OEM versions but if you’re on an XP machine and you’re looking to upgrade, you’ll be looking at a hefty £215.

At those prices I suggest you buy a wopping massive hard drive and an OEM copy. Upgrade will also require proof of ownership of the old XP installation.

It’s rumoured that this could be quite fiddly if you’re installing onto new hardware and could require you to install XP and then Vista.


If you’re going to buy into Vista, ONLY consider buying the OEM version.