As I will undoubtedly have to install this on *something* in the near future, if only for the inevitable tech support issues, I figured it’d be good to get it as cheap as possible… Which means getting an OEM copy from either Microcenter or online.
First off, the exact wording of the OEM agreement: Microsoft licenses OEM software to “system builders,” which are defined as “an original equipment manufacturer, or an assembler, reassembler, or installer of software on computer systems”. I think everyone who reads my journal qualifies.
But, there are some additional rules one should know:
OEM software cannot be returned once opened. There are no exceptions. You open it, you've bought it.
OEM software is also tied to the motherboard it is first installed on. Unlike the retail versions of Windows which can be transferred to a new computer, OEM versions are not transferable. What about upgrading hardware? Microsoft says that anything is fair game, except the motherboard. Replacing the motherboard in a computer results in a “new personal computer,” which Microsoft considers to be synonymous with a transfer. It's not permitted with an OEM edition of Windows.
OEM software has no technical support. Not that the tech support Mumbai offers is real support…
So, if you must shoot up with some Vista, get the OEM from newegg or Microcenter, it’ll save ya about $200.