Windows 8.1 System Builder OEM DVD 64-Bit
- This operating system is eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 when available. More details below.
- The Start screen. Personalize your Start screen with your favorite news, friends, social networks, and apps. Customizable colors and backgrounds and four different tile sizes make your device as unique as you are.
- The apps you want. In addition to great built-in apps for e-mail, people, photos and video editing, you can also download thousands of popular apps from the Windows Store, including Netflix, ESPN, Skype, and Halo: Spartan Assault.
- It plays as hard as it works. Windows 8.1 gives you the power to quickly browse, watch movies, play games, polish your resume, and pull together a killer presentation - all on a single PC.
There is a newer version of this item:
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Use of this OEM System Builder Channel software is subject to the terms of the Microsoft OEM System Builder License. This software is intended for pre-installation on a new personal computer for resale. This OEM System Builder Channel software requires the assembler to provide end user support for the Windows software and cannot be transferred to another computer once it is installed. To acquire Windows software with support provided by Microsoft please see our full package "Retail" product offerings.
Looking for your product key? The product key is a 25-digit string with a hyphen between each 5 digits. It will say "Product Key" before 25 digits or have an image of a key next to 10 digits with the remaining 15 on the next line below. The Product Key is generally located in the lower left corner of the DVD case, on the disc itself, or on a leaflet in the packaging you received.
From the Manufacturer
Windows 8.1 System Builder OEM DVD 64-bit
Best of Work and Play
Bring all the aspects of your life together — create, play, discover, connect, and work.
- Get to it all from the new Start screen, even your familiar desktop
- Discover popular and unique apps in the Windows Store
- Personalize with more tile sizes, colors, & backgrounds
- Do more with side by side views of apps and sites
- Access photos & files virtually anywhere with SkyDrive built-in
- Search, browse, and share more securely and quickly
What’s new with Windows 8.1
It Plays as Hard as it Works
Windows 8.1 gives you the power to quickly browse, watch movies, play games, polish your resume, and pull together a killer presentation — all on a single PC. Now you can organize up to three apps on your screen at once in a single view.
The Start Screen
Personalize your Start screen with your favorite news, friends, social networks, and apps. Customizable colors and backgrounds and four different sizes of tiles make your device as unique as you are.
The Apps you Want
In addition to great built-in apps for email, people, photos and video editing – you can also download thousands of popular apps from the Windows Store, including Netflix, ESPN, Skype and Halo: Spartan Assault.
Stay up to date and more secure with Windows Defender, Windows Firewall, and Windows Update.
Windows 8.1 starts up faster, switches between apps faster, and uses power more efficiently than previous versions of Windows, including Windows 7.
Your Familiar Desktop
From the Start screen, you are just a click away from the familiar Windows desktop you know so you can do the stuff you’ve always done.
Multitasking Made Easy
It’s easy to do more at once. Snap multiple apps side by side in a single view for easy multitasking.
Mouse, Keyboard—and now Touch
Windows 8.1 works harmoniously with various types of devices, including touch, mouse-and-keyboard, or both. Whatever kind of device you have, you'll discover fast and fluid ways to switch between apps, move things around, and go smoothly from one place to another.
Your files, Everywhere
Stay connected to your photos and important files and access them on your phone, tablet or PC with SkyDrive. By signing in with your Microsoft account to any of your PCs running Windows 8.1 and you'll immediately see your own background, display preferences, and settings.
You Keep all your Files
If your PC is running Windows 7, your files, apps and settings will easily transfer to Windows 8.1.
You Keep Familiar Programs
Programs that run on Windows 7 will run on Windows 8.1.
Your Office. Your Way.
Experience Office at its best on Windows 8 devices. Discover new and better ways to create, edit, and browse—using a keyboard, pen, or touchscreen. Don't forget: Office is not part of Windows 8.Some features require Windows 8.1. Update available through Windows store for Windows 8 users. Internet access required; fees may apply. Don’t forget, Office isn’t included in Windows 8.
The New Windows
|Windows 8.1||Windows 8.1 Pro|
|Great Apps built in such as Mail, Calendar, Messaging, Photos, and SkyDrive with many more available at Windows Store.||✔||✔|
|Includes Internet Explorer 11 for fast, intuitive, touch-friendly browsing.||✔||✔|
|Keeps you up-to-date and more secure with Windows Defender, Windows Firewall, and Windows Update.||✔||✔|
|Works with new and existing Windows desktop software including the full Microsoft Office experience (Outlook, SharePoint Designer and more).*||✔||✔|
|Comes with Windows Media Player||✔||✔|
|Provides enhanced data protection using BitLocker technology to help keep your information secure.**||✔|
|Enables you to connect to your PC when you’re on the go with Remote Desktop Connection.||✔|
|Connects to you corporate or school network with Domain Join.||✔|
|Watch and record live TV with Windows Media Center.***|
- 1 GHz processor or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2
- 2 GB RAM
- 20 GB available hard disk space
- 1366 x 768 screen resolution
- DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM driver
- To use touch, you need a PC that supports multitouch
- Internet access (fees may apply)
- Microsoft account required for some features
- Watching DVDs requires separate playback software
- Windows Media Center license sold separately
* Refers to programs built for mouse and keyboard that run in the classic Windows desktop environment.
** Data is protected on Windows 8 PCs and removable drives using BitLocker and BitLocker to Go.
*** Requires a TV tuner.
Windows 10 product upgrade limitations:
Top customer reviews
This is the "OEM" version of Windows 8.1. Perform a web search for: Windows 8.1 OEM license. According to Microsoft, if you are building a computer for personal use, then the "Full packaged retail product is needed." With the OEM version, you cannot get technical support from Microsoft; also, you can activate it on one and only one computer (the license is linked to the hardware). If you want technical support and/or the potential to transfer the license to a new computer, then look at the "full" version (Microsoft Windows 8.1 - Full Version).
This is NOT the "Professional" version of Windows 8.1. Make sure you are selecting the version you need/want. To learn more, just perform a web search for: Differences between Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Professional. Windows 8.1 Professional also comes in an "OEM" version and a "full" version: Windows 8.1 Pro System Builder OEM DVD 64-Bit and Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro - Full Version.
I just installed Windows 8.1 System Builder on a newly-constructed computer. It loaded very quickly (approximately 20 minutes). Loading Window Updates took roughly another 30 minutes. I gave Windows 8.1 a five-star rating because it is much faster and much more stable than the Windows 7 that I use every day on another computer. My Windows 7 machine crashes at least five times per week; in contrast, my Window 8.1 Professional machine and my Windows 8.1 machine have never crashed, frozen, or reset.
I did have one mishap as I loaded software on my new Windows 8.1 machine. As I went to load an old version of Roxio, Windows 8.1 warned me that it was not compatible; but I loaded it anyway. Upon rebooting after that, Windows 8.1 was somehow compromised, and its Auto Repair function initiated a complete wipe and reload of Windows 8.1. Lesson learned: I will not attempt to load old software and hardware on my new Windows 8.1 machine.
Windows 8.1 has many powerful features that were completely new to me. The easiest way to learn about these new features is to read a book (just search Amazon books for "Windows 8.1"). I liked Windows 8.1 Inside Out, but it is more in-depth than most people probably want.
THE "DESKTOP" IS STILL THERE:
A lot of folks I know HATE the new "Start" screen ("metro style") user interface. I spent several weeks learning how to use it; but in the end, I abandoned the Start" screen in favor of the (old familiar) "Desktop" app. So, to all you folks who hate the Start screen: Just use the Desktop instead. You can switch to the Desktop simply by pressing the key combination [WINDOWS key]+D. Or, as I did, you can setup Windows 8.1 to boot to the Desktop instead of the Start screen. Simply (1) go to Desktop; (2) move the cursor to a blank area of the Toolbar at the bottom of the screen; (3) right click and select "Properties"; (4) select the "Navigation" tab; (5) place a tick mark in the box next to "When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of start."
You can setup up your Windows 8.1 Desktop to be just like your old Windows 7 Desktop, except there won't be a Start button. (Quite frankly, those Microsoft folks made a huge mistake taking away the Start button.) On the Desktop, you can also setup the Tool Bar (Quick Start icons) and System Tray just like you did in previous versions of Windows. In short, you can make your Windows 8.1 look just like Windows 7, but the underlying operating system will be much quicker and a lot more stable.
Speaking of the Start button; Windows 8.1 adds a modified Start button of sorts (a Windows-Flag) at the lower left-hand edge of the Desktop toolbar. If you left-click on it, it opens the "Start" screen (the same effect as pressing the Windows key on your keyboard); if you right-click on it, it opens the "Power User" menu (the same effect as pressing Windows Key plus X simultaneously). Once on the "Start" screen, if you click on the little arrow at the bottom left, you will get a listing of your programs/apps (essentially providing the functions of the old Start Button, and more).
I found it helpful to add the following icons to my Windows 8.1 Desktop: Computer (formerly "My Computer"), Control Panel, and Network. To do this, right click on any clear area of the desktop and select the Personalize option. In the left pane of the Personalize window, click Change desktop icons. Tick the boxes for the icons you want displayed on the desktop (Computer, Control Panel, Recycle Bin, User's Files, Network). Click the Apply button.
I have read that "Windows 8.1 Update 1" will boot computers without touchscreens to the desktop by default and will use desktop apps by default. Of course, Microsoft (OBVIOUSLY) should have had this feature in the original Windows 8.
That's enough about how to set up the Desktop. Once you get Windows 8.1 working on the Desktop app, take some time to learn how to use the new "metro-style" user interface. On my dual monitor system, I have the Desktop on my center monitor and the "Start" screen (TileWorld) on the side monitor. You should probably get a book to help you customize the Start screen by learning how to add (pin), delete (unpin), resize, move, and group tiles. I think most non-business users will prefer the new Start screen interface.
WINDOWS 8.1 IS EASY - BUT ONLY AFTER AN HOUR OR SO OF TRAINING:
Let me just say: Microsoft made a huge mistake by not including a very simple and obvious tick-box to provide users with the option to "Use Classic Windows." Now, it only takes about 10 minutes to get Windows 8.1 to look and function just like Windows 7; but that's 9.5 minutes longer than it should take! Also, Microsoft should have provided a simple and obvious tick-box to allow users (especially business users) to completely disable the new Metro (Modern) interface.
It takes some effort for the new user to learn how to setup Windows 8.1; but after you get it setup, your Window 8.1 machine will be very easy to use (you won't even think about it). You should probably get a friend, grandchild, or book to help you on your first day. Just about everybody should get some Windows 8.1 training, even if that training is nothing more than watching some youtube videos. Obviously, Microsoft should have produced some videos (maybe eight 5-minute videos) to orient the new user! The user interface is so different most folks will get angry with it if no one has explained it to them first. You see, very little is obvious or intuitive; all of the menus are initially hidden, and there is no clue as to how to display them. But don't get angry! Just spend a short time (less than an hour) learning some basic Windows 8.1 tricks and secrets. When I built my new gaming computer fifteen months ago, I read the book Windows 8 Secrets in its entirety before loading the operating system. It's a good thing I did, otherwise I would have been lost (and, yes, probably angry). Luckily for new users, lots of nice people have posted some great youtube videos that can potentially teach you most of what you need to know. You could also go down to your local computer store and play with Windows 8.1.
You can save yourself a lot of (first-day) anger and frustration by immediately configuring Windows 8.1 to use the Desktop user-interface instead of the new Metro-style user-interface (per the instructions above). Do this immediately after your computer boots to Windows 8.1 for the first time. If you do, you'll find yourself in a (relatively stress-free) familiar environment . . . something that looks and behaves just like Windows 7, but without the "Start" button. Other than that, printout and use the Windows-Key shortcuts discussed below (especially Winkey+C and Winkey+I).
WINDOWS-KEY SHORTCUTS MAKE LIFE EASY:
Memorize and use the "Windows Key" (Winkey) keyboard shortcuts! (The Winkey is the key on the bottom row with a depiction the Microsoft flag; my Winkey is just to the right of the CTRL key.) For example, if you hold down the Winkey and press C, the "Charms" bar will be displayed. The "Charms" bar is perhaps the most important interface in Windows 8.1. If you learn the Winkey keyboard shortcuts first thing, you will be able to get most things done in Windows 8.1 right away!
Helpful Winkey keyboard shortcuts:
Winkey: toggles between Start Menu and last app
Winkey + D: opens Desktop
Winkey + C: opens "Charms" bar
Winkey + E: opens file explorer
Winkey + F or Winkey + W: searches for files
Winkey + I: opens the Settings charm (to shut down your computer, for example)
Winkey + Z: opens "app bar" (the menu user interface that is normally hidden when interacting with a Windows 8 app)
Winkey + X: opens the "power user" menu (which includes programs and features, power options, event viewer, system, device manager, network connections, disk management, computer management, command prompt, task manager, control panel, file explorer, search, run, shutdown or signoff, and desktop)
Winkey + R: opens run-program window (like when you used to go to Start, Run)
LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT WINDOWS ACTIVATION:
Windows 8.1 activated over the internet just fine. I had read that Windows 8.1 activation was tied to the specific motherboard; but, apparently, Windows 8.1 loses its activation if you change the memory or hard drive. When I changed out the memory modules (for larger capacity), Windows gave me a message that I would need to re-activate within three days. When I decided that I wanted a larger hard drive in this new machine, I cloned the smaller drive to the larger drive; in the process, Windows activation was lost on the larger drive. Lesson learned: Your life will be easier if you finalize your hardware installation BEFORE you activate Windows 8.1.
LOCAL ACCOUNT VERSUS MICROSOFT ACCOUNT
You can setup Windows 8.1 user accounts to be either a "local account" or a Microsoft account. Just perform a little web research for: Difference between local account and Microsoft account. There are pros and cons associated with each option.
Quite annoyingly, it is NOT obvious how to choose "local account" during the installation of Windows 8.1. Understandably, some folks are angry because they feel that Microsoft is FORCING their new Windows 8.1 machine to be linked a Microsoft account. Actually, it is simple (but not at all obvious) to setup Windows 8.1 with a "local account" (so the operating system is not linked to Microsoft).
During installation of Windows 8.1, when you get to the "Sign in to your Microsoft account" screen, don't enter the log-in information (account and password), instead: (1) at the bottom of the screen click "Create a new account"; (2) on the resulting "Create a Microsoft Account" screen, just skip over all of the empty fields and select "Sign in without a Microsoft Account"; (3) on the resulting "Your Account" screen, setup your "local account" user name and password.
To switch from a Microsoft account to a "local account": (1) Get to the "Start" screen (toggle Windows key); (2) type "Users"; (3) select "Add, delete, or manage other user accounts"; (4) on the resulting "Accounts" screen, select "Your Account"; (5) select the "Disconnect" option and then setup your "local account" user name and password. To switch from a "local account" to a Microsoft account, perform Steps 1 through 4, then at Step 5 select "Connect to a Microsoft account."
You can also setup Windows 8.1 to use a four-digit PIN.
The graphics driver problem meant I could not get the full AMD catalyst control center installed to change graphic settings so we were stuck with those pesky black bars around the screen. But without being able to install catalyst control center I don't know of a way to change the scaling. Anyways, with new graphics card and wifi adapter it's now humming along smoothly.
OLD REVIEW BELOW (well a few days older.. lol)
8.1 is an improvement and 8.1 is now prettier (Interface a little more polished to me) and faster than Windows 7 imo. Windows 8 also has more options for scaling. For example - a 1080p monitor for an older person needs to have the dpi settings set to around medium with medium to large icons and browsers zoomed at 125 to 150% to look good to them. This does seem to work better in Windows 8 over Windows 7.
But the CLEAR and GLARING weakness of Windows 8 is it's inability to have a desktop mode versus a touch-screen mode. As of now, FOR SOME REASON, Microsoft will not give us back a REAL freaking start button. So until that magical moment comes when they finally give us that precious button back - Use Classic Shell. It's a free app that deserves a huge donation from Microsoft.
I personally never use the tile interface and setup all the desktops I build for customers with it set to go straight to desktop with classic shell installed. This way they get the quick boot of Windows 8 without the bad touch interface which just doesnt work on a desktop. Anyway, it is what it is. I feel bad putting Windows 7 on people's systems knowing Windows will stop supporting it in some years. Classic Shell and the 8.1 improvements a really pushing me to put Windows 8 on all new builds - unless the client demands it!
What would be best is if the Windows 8 installer asked if you wanted Windows 8 Touchscreen or Windows 8 Desktop, and if you choose desktop it would not even install the tiled interface. That would be epic.