NOTE: Windows OEM licensing terms have changed!
by John.Wilkinson - 12/19/09 1:33 PM
Recently, Microsoft modified the licensing terms for OEM editions. Previously, purchasers were permitted to apply OEM licenses to their own computers provided the licenses were purchased with qualifying hardware. However, the Windows OEM System Builder EULA now prohibits purchasers from applying OEM licenses to computers they are building for themselves, friends, family members, etc. As explained in the revised license comparison, "[OEM licenses] must be preinstalled on a PC and sold to another unrelated party." (Emphasis added.) These revised licensing terms apply to all OEM versions of Windows currently sold, including Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Please keep these revised terms in mind when building your own computers, as well as when advising others who are contemplating building their own computers and/or purchasing a new OEM license.
Additional Information/Editorial: Is it OK to use OEM Windows on your own PC? Don't ask Microsoft [Ed Bott, ZDNET]