Best place to purchase Windows

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by plutnicki, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. plutnicki macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2003
    I've never actually paid for a copy of Windows, ever. BUT, I want to do it right when I install Windows on my MacBook. I want to buy a copy of Windows XP Home w/ SP2, right out of the box. Locally, it's about $200. Amazon has it for $180. Ebay resellers are selling it as low as $80.

    Anyone buy Software on Ebay before? Care to recommend a vendor that treated you well? Any other online vendors that are less risky than Ebay even if a little more expensive?

  2. ToddW macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004
    you might try an OEM copy that you can get off of some of the other online retailers out there. that is probably what is out there on ebay. try newegg, zipzoomfly, directron and other places like that. you can also go to a local frys and pick up a copy. there might be a hardware restriction when you purchase, due to the OEM policy. but the copy is legit! kind of like buying a bolt w/ windows xp installed :D
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Last year we bought our windows at Lowes. They offered free instal and 20% off the windows.
    They're pretty.
    please don't be mad at my dumb humor. but in the meantime, try tigerdirect. it may be on sale.
  4. plutnicki thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2003

    Ok, so that's a good question. What does the OEM mean? I read something about it tieing itself to this one computer.

    Does that mean the retail version can be installed on multiple computers? That can't be correct. Maybe that it just can't ever be sold or installed on a different computer? Interesting.

    Does Windows have a "family pack" option. Ideally, I'd like to install it on my MacBook, then again after I upgrade my wife's iMac to an Intel based one. If I don't care to sell, then buying 2 OEM versions, one for each computer, would still be less expensive than 1 retail version...

    Thanks for the help!
  5. ToddW macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004
    each windows license is tied to one computer only, regardless of OEM or Retail. The only difference between OEM and Retail, is that OEM comes with no documentation or fancy packaging. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. It goes for the same with hard drives, cd rom drives, video cards, and other related hardware. Now on to the question.

    Windows has two keys, the license key and an activiation key. The license key allows you to install that license of windows to a computer. The activation key allows you to activate that license for the one computer only. Here is where it gets more complicated. The acitivation key is tied to the hardware, that is bascially the way there DRM works. Lets say on your computer your hard drive, goes bad and you have to do a complete install, you would have to call microsoft and reactivate that license for the new piece of hardware while it would void the acitivated license for the previous hard drive or motherboard that went bad.

    Now with all that said, it can get even more complicated with trying to license more than one computer with IDs. So, you probably don't want to even go there
  6. Timepass macrumors 65816

    Jan 4, 2005

    No you are wrong there about OEM and retail.

    OEM ties itself to one computer and it can only be installed on one computer. If that computer blow up the copy of windows goes with it.

    A retail verson can be moved from computer to computer but only be installed on one computer at a time. That is the diffence. So if a computer with w retail verson of windows blows up, you could just install that copy of windows onto another computer.
  7. ToddW macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004

    well that's odd, because i've doing it the way i've stated for years, ever since windows xp came out. anytime i did a hardware upgrade, and had to reactivate, i called up microsoft and acitivated with no problems.
  8. ToddW macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004
  9. benthewraith macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    Miami, FL
    Chances are, if you find deals for $80 dollars, it means that copy of Windows is currently in use on another computer, hince, illegal. I'd recommend just buying a full installation copy from a computer store, as it is the most legal option available to you. You could try key generators, but they are almost always packaged with spyware. ;)
  10. Timepass macrumors 65816

    Jan 4, 2005

    The OEM license agreement has never really changed out side the defintion of system builder. The reason for the activasion was the built in hash check system saw something has changed and it wants to you to make sure that it still the same computer. For the most part M$ not going to care since to them it is still the same computer and to the average person it is still the same computer. now if you change the mobo and CPU that would not really be the case. But for the most part that is how it goes. I had to that on my OEM copy since the orginal mobo fried right after getting it and then I switch the video card out shortly after the replacement. Well I no longer had at least 7 of the points from the first install. Call M$ and they fixed it.

    OEM has always been tied to one computer. Retail I could put in into an entirely new rig and it not a problem. OEM it is another story.

    edit. well read the changes but all I saw in it was closing loopholes. Basicly it was just defining what the system is. Mobo, cpu and case. Basicly what an average joe is going to see as a computer. Change those would mean it is a different computer (I see it mostly as the mobo and the CPU but you get the idea). OEM just means it is tied to a computer changing part of it still means it is the same computer. Just dont to much of a change that it can no longer be id as the computer you started with.
  11. Timepass macrumors 65816

    Jan 4, 2005

    I would vote do not touch ebay ones. Chance are high that they are not legit. To get a legit copy cope for much cheaper go to and order an OEM verson of windows. OEM verson of XP home is around 90 at newegg.

    and 110 for pro

    I would only order or get windows from a some place I trust. I trust newegg/ tigerdirect not to cheat me and sell legal copies only. Hope this helps
  12. plutnicki thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2003

    Sounds like I really want a Retail version, so that I can move it from computer to computer legally and reliably.

    Thanks for the detailed responses!

    I'll shy away from Ebay, as far as I can tell, they are all OEM versions.
  13. DMPDX macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2005
    I bought an OEM copy of XP Pro w/ SP2 for my iMac and it worked fine. I also purchased the same hing ffor a computer I Built about 5 months ago. They both install on anything that can support xp pro. Simple as that. Go to Newegg sends you broken stuff EVERY time and the RMA process is a joke. Plus its usually ~10$ cheaper there.
  14. almightyshoe macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2006
    B-Town, India
    You can actually get XP Pro for free if you're an engineering student:

    The U of A's is:

    You just have to register with your Engineering email account, in a week they send you a personal code, and that's your ticket to freeville. Software included are:

    Microsoft Visio Professional 2002 (Single User)

    Visual Studio 2005 Pro CD1

    Microsoft Windows 2003 Server Standard

    Microsoft Exchange Server 2000 Enterprise Edition

    SQL Server 2005 Dev CD1

    Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Developer Edition

    Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition

    Microsoft Project Professional 2002

    Project Professional 2003

    Visio Professional 2003

    That's what I could copy and paste. There's about 40 titles.

    (Sorry, don't care enough to format it). My point is, it's legal, it's free, enjoy it.

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