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335 of 346 people found the following review helpful
With Microsoft ending its support of XP on April 8th, I knew I had to do something about one of our older Dell computers that's been running XP for the last -- wow maybe 8 years? A little voice told me I should just spend $400 on a new computer instead of $100 on a new OS but the old computer works fine and was pretty fast on XP, and the Windows Upgrade Advisor (free download, google it) told me that the unit would have no problems with Windows 7.

So I copied all of my picture and document files off of the computer onto an external hard drive and booted this DVD. It only took about 10 minutes to install Windows 7 and yes, the hardest part is reading the micro type on the password key to unlock the copy of Windows. I took a picture with my iPhone and then zoomed in to read the numbers but even with that one number was VERY hard to read. After activation I spent the next hour or so configuring the computer, and I used Windows Easy Transfer (another free program from Microsoft) to move all the files over.

Windows 7 is a great OS -- I didn't want to mess around with Windows 8.1 .... this disk is only usable on ONE computer and once you use the key there, it is forever locked to that computer's motherboard, so don't think you can install this on all the computers in your house.

For me this was easier than going through the hassle of ordering a new computer but I might regret that decision down the road since I just dropped $100 onto a pretty old computer.... but for now I'm very happy with how Windows 7 is performing and how easy it was to install on my old computer.
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302 of 319 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2010
As background, I'm a heavy personal computer user but certainly not a techie. I'm an insurance and real estate broker in Houston, TX. I would rate my technical knowledge as medium.

I bought the 64-bit builder pack to install on a new MacBook Pro. Followed the Apple Boot Camp instructions and was up and running in less than an hour. Couldn't have been easier. Love the MacBook Pro but one critical business web site only supports IE Explorer and several others have issues with Safari (plus Chrome, Firefox and others as well). The builder pack has all the features and is sold for a clean install on a new computer. It was exactly what I needed.

Running both Windows7 and Snow Leopard for me is the only way to go. There's some keyboard differences but nothing significant. I may try Parallels 5.0 down the road but Boot Camp works fine for now.
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673 of 734 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2011
This is OEM which means the difference is that this version locks itself to a single motherboard. As long as you run the same system your golden, but when you upgrade you will have to purchase another copy.
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151 of 161 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 20, 2012
This couldn't be easier for a new system build. This is the same version & license that you get from any computer manufacturer or the local computer shop if anyone builds your PC. You are no more or less limited in functionality, hardware flexibility, or anything except who supports you compared to a computer bought from anyone else. For a new system build, you can ignore all the language about using a special machine prep tool (for vendors to customize the Windows install such as with links for support and their own software add-ons). Just put the disk in, start the new computer, and it should install. After all, this is the backup disc a local shop would just give the user for them in case they ever have to reinstall after a system failure. It should automatically register the next time it gets an internet connection. I had no problems at all.

When the package arrives, you will notice some scary wording on it that says this is for system builders only for machines to be sold to another party. It also says you must use some other tool to do the install. But I had no issue just installing directly without doing anything but popping this disc in. So be aware of what the license means and decide if you want to proceed or not. Basically, Microsoft is factoring in supports costs if they have to help you at all. So they offer two versions, one with support (retail) and one without (OEM). Computer vendors have their own separate support contract with Microsoft and can buy the OEM versions without support and instead offer their own support. Microsoft is just making sure you are going to be happy and using strong language to ensure someone is going to cover you if you have a software problem. There is nothing preventing you from just installing the OEM and things *should* go just fine. But if it doesn't, you have to call the vendor building your PC. Probably for legal reasons, they are saying you cannot be your own vendor which you have no separate support contract with Microsoft. Personally, I think it is ridiculous that if I have a major vendor or a local corner shop build my PC that Windows would cost me about half, but if I build myself I am punished with having to pay double. So you have to understand Microsoft's motivation here. If you have a problem MS will just tell you to call the vendor. I seriously doubt MS is trying to extort home enthusiast system builders from spending more money because it is such a small portion of the market compared to the 99% of PCs bought from major vendors. So you must consider if you are going to just build it anyway without support and probably be just fine, but risk if something unusual happens that you have nobody to call. But there are always online forums and tech posts and articles for self support.

All you need to do is finish building the computer, turn it on, put the disk in, and it should detect it and start to install. You might need to go into your BIOS and change the boot order to set optical drives first if it isn't detecting it by default. If your hard drives are not formatted, it will let you select and format your hard drives very easily. On my i7 with SSD, Windows installed and was up in only a few minutes. Without antivirus, my new computer booted Windows 7 in about 3 seconds. Once with antivirus security installed, it boots in about 10 seconds with SSD. It couldn't have been any easier. I don't know when it ever did the registering, because it does it in the background. But I've been running for almost 2 months no with a flawless experience.

Once registered, it becomes locked to your computer system, just like the 99% of computers bought from any other vendor. They don't intend OEM to be transferred between systems. The intention is to sell with any new computer. Any upgrade or migration implies a consumer (or retail) action that might need support, which again goes back to understanding of somehow keeping you covered. And you bought OEM at a discount to get Windows in the door on new systems, which they don't factor in longer term use. So it tries to do its best to understand what is a "system" and protect it from being transferred. You should be fine to fix or replace broken parts, or do upgrades. But you cannot upgrade your way to a completely new system. You should be able to handle hard drive failures, video card upgrades, memory upgrades, misc cards, etc. It should even tolerate a motherboard upgrade, but with some questioning. Basically it gifts you so many differences that it can detect, or it might have you go through some sort of online confirmation, or maybe make you call Microsoft to explain yourself. If you research around, most people don't have a problem at all. The automated online inquiry seems to approve many things. For others, many have called the number it directs them to call and been approved without a problem. But there are some who are not approved. At least with the OEM copy here, you get a good backup disc. There are some reports where the problem from some vendors were the backup discs didn't support file formats of some newer hard disks and couldn't be replaced when out of vendor support. But those were the backup discs, not this OEM DVD. Of course, it is always a risk. Do you trust Microsoft to approve reasonable changes you might do? Is Microsoft really out to get the rare consumer building their own I really doubt it.

I think Windows 7 is a welcome upgrade from Windows XP. It takes a little getting used to if you've used Windows XP for 10 years like me. But I think it is really nice. The OEM looks and acts the same in every respect. But if all this makes you uncomfortable, or if you are not a technical person willing to scour the internet for free support articles if needed, then you should buy the retail or buy the computer from a vendor like 99% of all computers.
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2,127 of 2,345 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2011
This is the exact same version of Operating Systems that come pre-installed by all system manufacturers and I am writing this review to both caution and make everyone aware about an apparent change to the Microsoft EULA (End-User License Agreement) concerning the Activation process of these "System Builder" or "OEM pre-installed" versions of the Windows 7 Operating Systems (the capped portion was never a condition for previous versions of Windows Operating Systems, which USED TO be tied ONLY to the system's motherboard through the BIOS) and which states:

"Activation associates the use of the software with a specific computer. During activation, the software will send information about the software and the computer to Microsoft. This information includes the version, language and product key of the software, the Internet protocol address of the computer, and INFORMATION DERIVED FROM THE HARDWARE CONFIGURATION OF THE COMPUTER." - Section 4, Mandatory Validation.

This means that it is NO LONGER just tied to the system's motherboard (BIOS) as is still popularly believed, but now to ALL hardware components and their exact configuration (including unique serial numbers where applicable) of the target computer on which all OEM or "System Builder" versions of the Windows Operating System in question that is to be tied to them.

Just recently, my Acer Notebook's IDE 0 (Master) hard disk decided to fail on me after just 1 year and 8 months, and of course outside of the warranty period. So I replaced it not knowing of the aforementioned condition of the pre-installed EULA of this product which would BREAK my completely legal and fully purchased version of the pre-installed Operating System the very second I swapped the failing and the new functioning hard drives. Lo and behold, after the change of the hard drive model, serial number and capacity, my pre-installed Windows 7 Home Premium recovery disks (both a freshly ordered set and also a self-made image set) kept returning: "Windows Setup could not configure Windows on this computer's hardware" and kept restarting on the "Setup" screen and would go no further, no matter what I tried (on ALL six installation attempts). Curious, I perused the EULA to see if it could give me any information for why this was happening and discovered the reason for this to be the replacement of a faulty hard drive and because the pre-installed OEM version had remembered the original hardware configuration, and would not permit it's use just because of the new hard drive installation! And again, to remind you, on previous Windows versions, this was NEVER the case UNLESS the motherboard was changed!

If I had not been given a legal retail license key by a friend who owns their own computer repair business along with access to the .ISO bootable disk, I would have wound up with a fully functional $800 (+ $134.99 for the hard drive replacement) paperweight because of this problem. This is yet another prime example of how these monopoly software corporations are scheming up new and more devious ways to force us all to re-purchase again and again their products should misfortune strike (as it did for me with my original hard drive on this system)... or so it sure seems to me!

So for all of you system builders out there who love to tinker around or else upgrade their computer's hardware components, do yourself a huge favor right now to avoid financial heartache and just get the full retail version of your chosen Windows Operating System for a slightly larger cost... otherwise you will wind up spending TWICE or even more than what the full and transferable Operating System would have cost you in the first place! It happened to me, and it WILL happen to you somewhere down the line. And I must state that Linux Ubuntu is looking more and more attractive to me (a life-time Microsoft Windows user) with every new "Windows" OS and all of their new "conditions" intended to only cause misery for your support of them and their software...

Bottom line: a purchased and legitimate "OEM" Operating System being broken after a simple hard drive replacement ON THE SAME COMPUTER IT CAME WITH is absolutely and unequivocally UNACCEPTABLE, Microsoft!
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316 of 352 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2011
This was the most affordable Windows 7 that I found that I can use to install on my Macbook Pro through Parallels 6. At first I was debating on going with the 64bit or the 32bit, because some software do not work on 64bit. I ended up going with 64bit -- those non-compatible software should update, not me.

Using Windows 7 on a Mac is awesome. Best of both worlds.
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77 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2010
I brought this for my dad as a Christmas present. Buying an OEM version means that it will not include any drivers specific to your system - if you don't know how to load your own drivers or don't want to bother, you should buy the upgrade directly from your system manufacturer (ie Acer, Gateway, Dell, etc.).

I wanted to install the x64 version to allow 64 bit versions of software run - and to allow better memory access above 4 gigabytes.

The install went very smooth - and my Dad was up and running in about 30 minutes. I went through a breif tutorial of the new features in Windows 7, as well as a tutorial of how Live MovieMaker and Photo Gallery work as well as how some of the new features work - like jump lists and the various libraries.

He's not very technical, but he caught on fast and likes Windows 7!
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80 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2014
I used this to install on bootcamp for my mac book pro 15 retina. It came in a little paper and installed quickly. No problems.
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78 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2011
I wrote an earlier set of comments on Windows 7 Home OEM Builders Edition, but later discovered several errors in my facts.
This is my final, and hopefully accurate, assessment.

I gather there are four differences between the OEM version and retail, here they are:

1: You can only choose one version, 32-bit or 64-bit, but will not receive both discs, as in the retail version.
2: You can only install on one system. The OS is "married" to the motherboard and cannot be transferred to another computer.
3: You can NOT install later upgrades, such as the soon to be released Windows 8.
4: You will be entitled to updates and KB bulletins, but not phone or e-mail support for problems.

I am not 100% sure about the upgrade option, but the other facts are apparently correct.
As for me, the OEM restrictions are acceptable. Many customers are reporting problem free installations. A good sign.

I hope this final update helps.

Update (January 5th, 2014) : This is my second copy of Windows 7 Home Premium OEM. I just ordered it for myself as a Christmas present. Here's an important warning: For some reason, Microsoft has changed the Product Key from an easily read label to an almost illegible one. It's only about 6 by 15 millimeters. The printing is tiny, tiny, tiny. Even with a magnifying glass (which you MUST have), I spent nearly 20 minutes deciphering just 25 characters. Picture reading the mint (not just the date), on an old, warn dime. THATS how hard it is to read. It didn't help that three of them are apparently the letter D which at this scale looks almost identical to an O. Further, Microsoft now uses a background of alternating turquoise, orange, and dark blue areas with random "squiggle" patterns. I gather this was done to frustrate some kind of machine OCR devices. Unless your eye-sight is excellent, you should consider this product as virtually UNUSABLE.

What is Microsoft thinking?
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2011
This review addresses the questions I had as an Apple Mac user considering this product. The 5-star rating is not my evaluation of Windows 7 Home Premium as an operating system (it's not my first-choice OS or even my second) but simply means that the System Builder DVD fulfilled its intended purpose of installing Windows 7 on a single computer in an easy, hassle-free way.

You can ignore the technobabble about OPK on the box and just do a straightforward installation in the emulation environment of your choice. Instead of Apple Boot Camp (which requires rebooting the machine to switch between operating systems), I prefer Oracle VM VirtualBox, which lets Windows run within OS X, rather as products like Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion do. Those commercial products arguably have more features and better integration with OS X, but offers an elegant open-source solution that does everything I need.

As other reviewers have stressed, this System Builder version installs on one and only one computer; if you get a new machine, you'll need a new copy of Windows. On the other hand, it's worth noting that I was able to install both in Boot Camp and in VirtualBox on the same iMac without any authorization problems.
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