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on July 10, 2011
If you've reinstalled Windows just once in your life, you've learned enough to tackle a full virgin installation of Windows 7 from a system builder DVD. Microsoft has finally created an operating system with so much built-in support and maintenance technology it practically does all the work for you, so if your current Windows XP machine is labeled "Windows Vista Capable" or "Windows 7 Capable," this is the way to go. Just to be sure, install and run Microsoft's Upgrade Advisor. If it passes the 64-bit system requirements, order up!

You can't upgrade from XP to 7; you have to wipe the drive or partition and perform a clean install, but even an upgrade from Vista to 7 is fraught with peril, so you might as well do the same if you're running Vista. Just back up your data and find all your application installation software before you begin. Once you activate Windows 7, it's married to the PC's system board. You can't reuse the product key on another machine unless you can convince Microsoft that the previous PC is out of commission. You're also not eligible for free phone and chat support from Microsoft, but there's a big enough expert user base that you should be able to solve most problems by joining a few Windows 7 users' forums. If you're not building an exotic tricked-out übergamingmaschine with overclocked handmade graphics cards, you shouldn't have much trouble that will require outside help. Your humble author installed Windows 7 64-bit on a MacBook Pro using Boot Camp. It found our Brother WiFi laser printer and installed the latest drivers and Brother's printer control center.

The biggest advantage: you'll skip all the "enhanced experience" software the likes of Dell, HP and Lenovo cram onto their otherwise zippy machines. After the latest updates install, head off to microsoft dot com slash securityessentials and you'll get all the virus and malware protection you'll need absolutely FREE. Pay a visit to your PC maker's website, let 'em scan your system and grab all the latest hardware drivers.

With a system builder DVD, you don't get both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions. If you should find that 64-bit isn't right for your machine, don't fret. Just Google the phrase "legal windows 7 download" and the first match will show you how to create a 32-bit installation DVD that you can activate on the same PC using the product key from the 64-bit DVD. The new installation wipes out the old one and that keeps everything legal.
3939 comments399 of 405 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 15, 2011
After much research I decided to go with this OEM version of Windows 7 Professional SP1 to run virtually on my new MacBook Pro running Parallels. The install was flawless and it actually runs very fast on my MacBook. I turned off all accelerators and auto-everything. The main reason I wanted the system set up this way was to be able to run the Windows version of Quicken and Turbo Tax which I've been using for more years than I care to recall. I am able to do this concurrent with running OS X, which is very convenient. No conflicts with anything. Great solution to enable a Windows user to switch to Apple and bring essential programs and documents from the Windows environment over to Mac without missing a beat!
77 comments165 of 170 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 27, 2013
I have been designing, building and programming computers for 37 years, and have put together perhaps two dozen PCs, so when I bought the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer or "system builder") version I knew what I was getting. It works OK for an operating system, especially after all the glitzy "Aero" and other useless features are disabled.

The OEM version is intended to be installed in a new PC by the supplier, and not by the end user. However, it is the same as the end user version - there is no functional difference - and you can install it on your computer. You don't get "free" technical support from Microsoft, but if you have ever spent an hour on the phone waiting to get Microsoft's "help" only to get someone who doesn't speak English and clearly knows little about computers you know that Microsoft's "help" is worthless anyway. That's one virtue of the OEM version - you won't be tempted to waste your time waiting on the phone.

Installation is extremely simple - just put the disk in the DVD drive and follow the instructions. You DO NOT need any other installer software. The Microsoft OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK) that is occasionally mentioned is just for OEM installers who are installing Windows on dozens of computers at a time. It is not needed to install the OEM package on your computer.

There are some serious shortcomings/bugs in Win 7.

1. If you have internal SATA 3.0 hard drives in your computer they will appear as removable USB devices in the "Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media" dialog that is used to remove USB devices from the computer. External SATA3 drives can be unplugged and removed from the computer, but your internal drives cannot and should not be listed. If you accidentally click on one of the hard drives it will be "uninstalled" and will no longer work until you reboot the computer again. That is just bonehead stupid! Windows gives you no way to correct this and tell it that the installed hard drives are not removeable devices. If you are lucky the motherboard manufacturer may provide a driver workaround. If not you are stuck with this bit of Microsoft programming incompetence.

2. Microsoft Windows 7 Professional does not properly install Microsoft Office 2010 (and possibly a lot of other programs as well)! When you install Office it will ask you to activate it - that's nothing new. However, every time you try to run an Office program (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.) it will ask you to activate Office again. And again. And again - and each time it will tell you that if you don't reactivate the program is will stop working.

You can solve this problem by selecting any Office program icon in the Start window or on the desktop and SHIFT-right click on it. In the pop-open menu select "Run as Administrator" and then repeat the activation process again. You will have to do this even if you are running the computer as Administrator, because Win 7 denies administrator priviledges (such as activating software) to Administrators! That is bonehead stupid! With luck you won't have to do this every time you want to run an Office program.

You have to wonder if Microsoft is getting its programmers from the primate house in the Elbonia zoo?!
88 comments88 of 97 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 22, 2011
I was running Windows XP SP3 prior to this "upgrade". They call it an upgrade, but it was a full system init and a re-install of all my software. While this is my preferred method for a new operating system, it would have been nice to have the option to upgrade rather than do a new install.

That being said, the process went smoothly and quickly. From start to finish to get up and running on Windows 7 with SP1 it took about 90 minutes. Now that did not include re-installing my applications, just the basic Windows 7 OS being up and running on my machine.

I have never used MS support in the past, so I had no reservations about buying an OEM product with no MS support.

I would recommend this product to anyone that has installed an OS in the past and does not feel they will ever need to us MS for support.
88 comments88 of 99 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 26, 2011
Windows 7 is a step in the right direction for the Windows operating system and there is not much more to be said about it.

This particular product (Windows 7 Pro SP1 64bit OEM) is the 64bit version of the operating system. Make sure the hardware you are going to install this on can run a 64bit Operating System. This WILL NOT install on an older 32 bit only system. Unlike Other Windows 7 packages, the OEM version (which is this one) does not come with both the 32bit and the 64bit installations. Only the version specified (in this case 64bit).

In conclusion, if you are tired of the old look and feel of XP, want an up to date Windows OS, yet you were afraid to go Vista, this is your choice. Just make sure the system you want to install this on is 64bit capable or buy the 32bit OEM version which is also available on Amazon.
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on May 26, 2012
For anyone who suffered through the Vista, Windows 7 is finally "Vista done right", and I'm sure that's been covered elsewhere. However, I did have one installation problem worth sharing:

When I installed this version of Windows on a brand-new machine, I installed all the updates and delivered it to my brother--only to find he could not install his company's web-based client software (called "gateway" for you insurance types). It was giving this cryptic .NET error: "Operator '<>' is not defined for type 'Byte()' and type 'Integer'." The same client software loaded on my own Windows 7 machine without a hitch, though, so I suspected there was something wrong with his Windows installation, not the application.

I tried everything I could think of to no avail, and finally decided to start from scratch and reinstall Windows. This time, however, because Windows now had access to the internet (it didn't the first time because there was no operating system on the machine at all), it was able to download updates to the installation itself. So the second installation actually updated itself before it even ran. After that, the problem software loaded just fine.

This is pretty interesting, because it means that Windows 7 as installed directly from the DVD, and then updated with the normal "Windows Update" mechanism, is subtly but provably different than Windows 7 installed with the help of the pre-installation updates downloaded over the internet. This is even more insidious because of the fact that in every other regard, Windows appeared to be operating normally in both cases.

So, for all those seeking the most trouble-free Windows platform, I must regrettably advise you to consider installing twice--once to just get your OS and drivers on the machine to gain access to the internet, then a second time to do the installation with the benefit of the installation updates. (On the second install, be sure you run the DVD's "setup" program from inside Windows rather than booting from the DVD again, or it still won't be able to get to the internet.)

Doing things this way will ensure you get a fully-functioning .NET platform and hopefully prevent you from having some bizarre errors down the road, when re-installation would be a much bigger hassle.
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on June 26, 2011
This SP1 DVD dated 2011 (vs non-SP1 dated 2009) installed 100% like every other retail Win 7 install disk: Insert DVD; Answer a few questions; Enter key; Win 7 installs; Win 7 activates; Run update a few times. This 2011 SP1 version saved about 105 update/downloads compared to a non-SP1 (2009) version. For my system, it found all of the needed drivers by itself. Comes with peel-off Key sticker to place on computer. Besides needing far fewer updates (due to SP1) only other difference is DVD is white and says "Intended for distribution with a new PC".
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on February 20, 2012
Back in the day, I was always an early adopter of any new Windows OS. However, after the debacle that was Windows ME, I was a bit put off by MS. I kept all my home office machines working on 98 for as long as possible before transitioning to XP. I have always liked XP.
When Vista came out, I got to demo it a few times and was less-than-impressed, so I stayed with XP 32 bit.
By the time Windows 7 came out, I was already working in the cloud and was running Linux Ubuntu and I stayed with that for several years.
Recently built a new machine and decided to set up Ubuntu and XP in a dual boot capacity. I found myself booting to XP all the time and seldom bothering with Linux.
Then it hit me - all I really want out of an OS is great multimedia capabilities. I had heard good things about Windows 7 Pro 64 bit and decided to take the plunge.
I sure am glad that I did. Windows 7 64 bit is a snap to run and is fast fast fast and is the consummate HTPC OS for the non geek. (The older I get, the less I want to mess around with Linux and its compatibility issues with certain hardware like my Netgear USB Wireless Card). MS Media Center is robust and easy to run and all my other multimedia needs, from playing music to Blu Ray are met.
This version is easy to install and has no bloatware at all. I did the custom installation and did a clean install over my XP partition and was up and running in about 10-15 minutes. Never had any issue whatsoever. Verification was easy via the MS activation window.
I believe that those who are giving this OS a bad review are those people who may have really old hardware and are finding out that 7 might not support it. I simply cannot see anyone having an issue with this OS if their computer and peripherals are middle aged (3-4 years) or younger.
Furthermore, those of us who know how to build a box and install an OS know that we will get no support from Microsoft if things go wrong. However, it's rare that the average user is going to have any problem with this OS. And if you do, it's something that a techy person can find out how to fix.
Those who need the crutch of having support from MS will want to leave this version alone and go ahead and buy the full version for another $50.
As always, Amazon delivered on time and well packaged. I'm happy and recommend both Amazon and Microsoft 7 Pro.
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VINE VOICEon November 25, 2011
As an IT veteran who has seen the moves that MS put out over the last 2 decades, it pains me to say this, but: this - Win 7 Pro 64 OEM - is "the best" overall operating system today. Here's why:

- It's Windows - it runs everything: the spreadsheets, the games, iTunes, and the software that came with your digital camera.

- It's 64 bit - this allows more than 4 GB of memory to be installed. Windows has struggled with this a bit (oh the woes with XP 64 bit...), but now the change has occurred. And with RAM prices in the cellar these days, you can go all out and get 8 or 16 GB!

- It's OEM - this locks your license to your current motherboard, which of course is not good. But it's more affordable: the OEM version here is only half the price of a full version, the value of which is questionable anyway, given that in two or three years, we will have Win8, 9, or something entirely better.

- It's PRO - not so much "professional" (what does this even mean..), but it includes an XP emulator (see "runs everything" above), a decent backup solution, and seamless encryption. You can get these things for free as well (for example, via virtualbox, robocopy, and truecrypt), however the integration makes it well worth the extra couple bucks in my opinion.

Make no mistake: Mac OS X has the better architecture and GUI, and even the free Linux alternatives (such as Ubuntu) are hardier and more functional straight out of the box. In a very stifled rebel yell, let me tell you, you should switch to Linux or OSX if you possibly can! Oh, but for an allrounder, Win7 Pro 64 OEM is king.
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on December 10, 2013
Many people keep asking the same question time and again; difference between OEM and retail?. This product is exactly same as the retail version in terms of functionality. The only difference is that this product supports only one installation as contrary to retail where you can install the copy in as many computers as you want provided it's uninstalled from previous one. The OEM edition is married to the motherboard - meaning, it can only be installed on one computer and that computer alone. OEM editions do not come with microsoft support - who calls MS anyways all solutions you need are everywhere on the internet. Also note that the notable difference between the 64-bit pro and Home premium is that the home premium only detects 16GB of RAM and Pro can validate up to 194 GB or something.

Mac Users: While performing boot camp make sure you provide enough space in the partition. The OSX will prompt you for a USB device/storage device to initially download all the drivers that needs to be installed in Windows 7 operating system. Once you are finished with Win 7 installation you will need these drivers which are in your USB - To start the process you will need to run the bootcamp ".exe" file which will automatically install your graphics card drivers and wireless card drivers.

Note:
It's normal that you will not see wireless connections/internet connections and graphics card recognition right after clean Win 7 installation don't be alarmed this is normal till the drivers are installed as described above.

It is also normal that your iMac will be started in Win 7 every-time you restart it. To switch to OSX you will need to "Hold" the "ALT" key on the keyboard which will give you options to choose which drive you want to start the computer in. Select "Macintosh" once you have successfully logged on to the OSX operating system - go to system preferences by clicking on the little apple icon on the left top corner (this will have a drop down menu to select system preferences). Once you are in system preferences choose startup disk which will give you options to select which OS you want to start your machine in every time is powered ON.
(Apple Icon --> System Preferences --> Start Up Disk)

Hope my comments and suggestions help a few. If you have any questions please let me know. I can answer from a "New Mac user" perspective :)
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