Windows is the most used operating system in the entire world. Each version of it brings us new, unique and sometimes even surprising features. At the same time, each of these versions has some subversions designed for a specific audience and a specific task.
Both of these versions are the OEM version and the Retail version. But, what is the difference between these two? Most people are not clear about it. In this Windows 10 Oem vs Retail, we’ll clarify all the differences and decide which one is for you.
Windows 10 OEM
Windows 10 Retail
Cost – Official prices
Official: $85 for Windows 10 Home and $113 for Pro version.
RoyalCDKeys price: €2,50 for Windows 10 Home and €2,81 for Windows 10 Pro version.
$139 for the Windows 10 Home Edition, and $199 for the Pro version.
RoyalCDKeys price: €3,90 for Windows 10 Home and €2,40 for Windows 10 Pro version.
OEM licenses are tied to the first computer you activate it on. This version cannot be used to upgrade from an older Windows OS.
You can transfer Retail version to another computer, as long as you deactivate the old device. There is no limit on hardware.
OEM version does not offer any free Microsoft direct support from Microsoft support personnel.
You can contact Microsoft Support directly to get help when you encounter activation issues.
You can replace hardware or a part of your computer, except for the motherboard.
You can freely replace any part of your PC, and your operating system will still be activated.
What Is OEM Windows 10?
The OEM version of Windows – OEM means Original Equipment Manufacturer – is a version of Windows designed for small PC makers. This system builder is mainly used by large computer manufacturers as well as individuals and local computer shops that build their own computers.
It’s very common for computer enthusiasts to use OEM Windows 10 on their workstation PCs. Besides, your OEM version of Windows 10 will be tied to your single PC forever. Anyway, you can uninstall and reinstall this version as many times you want, but only on one PC.
In general, when we talk about OEM builds, they have a slower performance since their parts are sold in bulk to OEMs. OEM companies use these parts in their systems. Thus, most consumers end up with a computer that runs slower than it should.
What is Windows 10 Retail?
This Retail license refers to that version or copy of Windows 10 you acquire from authorized retailers or directly from the Microsoft Store. Any Retail key you buy is a Windows full version as well as a standard “consumer” version.
Anytime you head to a virtual store or online retailer and see a version of Windows 10, it’s a retail version of Windows. This version of Windows and all the features it integrates are designed for users who want to upgrade their computer or buy a new license in the future.
A significant advantage of any retail Windows key is that you can install it on any computer you want, and you can also transfer it to a different computer quickly, as long as you deactivate the old device. Besides, it comes with full support from Microsoft.
What Are the Main Differences Between Retail and OEM Licensing?
Both OEM software and Retail software offer the same OS but with subtle differences. In general, the major difference has to do with the price, but still, there are others worth mentioning.
Regarding use, there is no difference between OEM Windows 10 and Retail Windows 10. Both versions have all the basic features of the operating system. You can enjoy all the tools, upgrades, data, and functionality you expect from Windows.
OEM License vs Retail License
The second major difference between OEM and Retail versions is related to licenses. In a few words, you cannot transfer OEM keys of Windows 10 to other devices. However, you can transfer the retail license from one machine to another.
OEM is short for Original Equipment Manufacturer. When original equipment manufacturers produce computers, they always pre-install OEM Windows before selling them. When you buy these PCs, you will get a Windows OEM license and don't need to pay extra money.
It seems that the Windows 10 OEM license does not cost you money, but actually, its cost is already included in the computer cost. Despite this, it is still cheaper than Windows 10 Retail license.
The Windows 10 OEM license is customized for OEM Windows 10 users. Once it is first activated in the OEM PC, it is locked to the hardware. The product key isn't transferable, and you can't use it to activate another installation.
In a few words, OEM licenses are tied to the first computer you activate it on. Also, OEM versions cannot be used to upgrade from an older Windows OS.
A Windows 10 Retail license refers to the license you obtain when buying a copy of Windows 10 from the Microsoft store or an authorized retailer. If you have a Windows 10 Retail license, you can transfer it to another computer, as long as you deactivate the old device. There is no limit on hardware.
Oem or Retail Versions Support
Here’s the big difference between both windows licenses.
If you have a Windows 10 Retail version, you’ll be able to contact Microsoft Support directly to get help when you encounter activation issues or run into problems with hardware compatibility.
In short, the OEM version does not offer any free Microsoft direct support from Microsoft support personnel.
On the other hand, if you buy an OEM copy of Windows 10, Microsoft will tell you to contact the device's manufacturer to get technical support and solve your problems.
What’s more, you will still receive updates from Microsoft Update; you just won’t be able to connect to them directly for support. Generally speaking, though, retail is best.
If you have a Windows 10 OEM license and think of getting new hardware or replacing a part of your machine, you can do it except for the motherboard. It is where the Software Licensing Internal Code (SLIC) is stored in BIOS. If SLIC is missing, the OEM Windows can't be activated.
Changing a part of your PC with a Windows 10 Retail copy is easier. If you have this license type, you can freely replace any part of your PC, and your operating system will still be activated.
Whether you are using Windows Retail (FPP) version or the Windows OEM version, you can upgrade your system to Windows 10 as long as you have an official license. Although the free upgrade is already over, some users report they can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free.
Anyway, the process of upgrading is similar in both versions. Just reserve your free update on the official Windows website. Then, when you receive the notification, install it right away. Now, the upgrade is yours!
Availability and Price
As you can imagine, the OEM version of Windows is much cheaper than the retail version, but it’s also far more limited. This isn’t necessarily bad if you’re building your own workstation PC, and every dollar counts.
If you look for the retail Windows license on the official site of Microsoft, the company very likely will charge you around $139 for the Windows 10 Home Edition, and $199 for the Pro version.
On the other hand, if you look in online stores, the price is much lower, probably 10 or 20 USD.
However, an OEM Key License is much cheaper. You very likely can find it for $85 for Windows 10 Home and $113 for Pro.
Here, at RoyalCDKeys, you can find Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM Key and Microsoft Windows 10 Home Retail Key at the best price on the market (€2,50 and €2,10 at the moment of writing, respectively!). Click on the click before and check the offer we have for you!
Windows 10 OEM and Retail Conclusions
In general, Windows users that have genuine computers or laptops purchased in stores or websites use an OEM version, while those who assemble their own PC prefer to use a Retail version.
However, at this point of the article, we have to mention a couple of tips to help you decide which is the best version for your purpose.
- If you have a computer with a pre-installed Windows 10, and you don’t need to make a hardware change, including the motherboard, keep using the OEM license that your computer already has.
- If you want to build a new PC, or your machine does not have a preinstalled Windows 10, we don’t recommend you to buy OEM copies. It’s much better if you purchase a Retail version due to its privileges.
If this is your choice, get Microsoft Windows 10 Home Retail Key here, at RoyalCDKeys. You’ll get all the benefits of this version we’ve mentioned in this post at a really cheap price.
How Do I Know if My Windows 10 Is OEM or Retail?
Open a PowerShell or Command Prompt and type in Slmgr –dli. You can also use Slmgr /dli. Wait a few seconds for the Windows Script Manager to appear. It is going to tell you which license type you have.
Which Is Better, OEM or Retail Windows 10?
Both full versions are good for different purposes and services. The OEM version is cheaper, more simple, but it lacks features. Retail has more tools and highlights regarding technical support and general solutions.