Windows 7

Windows 7 Home Basic (developing markets only)
Windows 7 Starter
Windows 7 Starter x64
Windows 7 Home Premium
Windows 7 Home Premium (x64)
Windows 7 Home Premium N (European Union only)
Windows 7 Professional
Windows 7 Professional (x64)
Windows 7 Enterprise
Windows 7 Enterprise (x64)
Windows 7 Ultimate
Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)

OEM Versions
One of the biggest secrets in the software world is that Microsoft’s operating systems are
available from online retailers in so-called OEM (“original equipment manufacturer”)
versions (which come in just the Full SKU) that are aimed at the PC builder market. These
are the small “mom and pop”-type PC makers who build hand-crafted machines for local
markets. OEM packaging is bare-bones and does not come with a retail box. Instead, you
get the disc, a Product Key, and a slip of paper describing the product.

OEM versions of Windows 7 differ from retail versions in some important ways:
♦ ♦ They are dramatically cheaper than retail versions.
the OEM versions of Windows 7 are dramatically cheaper than comparable retail
versions. Note, however, that OEM pricing fluctuates somewhat, so the prices you
see online could be a bit different. Shop around for the best prices.
♦ ♦ They do not come with any support from Microsoft. Because PC makers support
the products they sell directly, Microsoft doesn’t offer any support for OEM ver-
sions of Windows 7. This explains the cost differential, by the way.
♦ ♦ You are not really supposed to buy them unless you’re building PCs that you
will sell to others. Technically speaking, OEM versions of Windows 7 are avail-
able only to those who intend to build PCs to sell to others. Furthermore, online
retailers who sell OEM versions of Windows 7 are supposed to verify that you’re a
PC builder and/or sell the products with some kind of hardware. For this reason,
you’ll sometimes be asked to purchase a hardware tchotsky like a USB cable when
you purchase OEM software.
♦ ♦ There’s no box. This shouldn’t matter too much, but you don’t get the cool
Windows 7 retail packaging when you buy OEM. Instead, you pretty much get
an install disc shrink-wrapped to a piece of cardboard and a product key.


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