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Old 24th October 2003   #1
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WinXP: Full Version, Upgrade Version, OEM?


Hopefully someone can correct me on any info I have incorrect, but this is what I understand so far about upgrading with XP after reading several articles on this forum.

(And maybe this note will benefit others who are as confused as I was by the 'upgrade' possibilities with XP!)


Windows XP Home Edition comes in several flavors:
1. Full Version
2. Upgrade Version
3. OEM Full Version
4. OEM Upgrade Version

(I refer only to XP Home in this article, not the XP Pro version. Also, any reference to Windows means version 95 or higher; Windows 3.1 or earlier don't count.)


1. FULL VERSION - $200 - the Full Version is only necessary when you have NO previous version of Windows available on a CD. Most people do not need the Full Version. Even if you have a blank drive, you still don't need the Full Version -- as long as you have the cd from an older Windows OS! You can use the Upgrade Version. (See below.)

2. UPGRADE VERSION - $100 - the Upgrade Version can actually be used under several different circumstances:

a) To do an UPGRADE - You have Win98, 98SE, ME or 2000 installed on your hard drive, and YOU WANT TO INSTALL RIGHT OVER THOSE OLD WINDOWS FILES. This is called an "UPGRADE". This course of action is supposedly okay if your old OS is working properly. If you are having problems with the old OS -- or have the ME version installed --, do NOT "UPGRADE"! (i.e. install over the old files) Rather, do a CLEAN INSTALL as in section "b" below. Note that you can NOT "Upgrade" (install over the old files) with Win95 files. You HAVE to do a Clean Install with Win95 (see section "b" below), tho still use the XP Upgrade Version.

b) To do a CLEAN INSTALL (old OS already installed) - You have Win95, 98, 98SE, ME, or 2000 installed but you wish to START FROM SCRATCH AND INSTALL XP LIKE IT WAS A NEW MACHINE. This is called a "CLEAN INSTALL". That is, you wish to format your hard drive, install XP, and then re-install all your old programs. THIS IS THE SUGGESTED ROUTE IF YOU HAVE Windows ME - OR - IF YOU ARE HAVING PROBLEMS WITH YOUR CURRENT OS. Note: You MUST HAVE THE CD FROM AN OLDER WINDOWS VERSION in order to do this! If you have Win95 installed, this is the only route you can go (besides Full Version). You can not install XP over Win95 files. If you have WinME, this is also the strongly recommended route.

c) To do a CLEAN INSTALL (NO OS installed) - You have a BLANK hard drive but HAVE A PREVIOUS VERSION OF WINDOWS ON CD. Believe it or not, you CAN install the XP UPGRADE VERSION to a blank hard drive! You just have to have the CD of an older Windows OS available when you do the install. Just start the XP install from the XP cd, and insert the old Windows OS cd when prompted. If you don't have an old Windows OS cd, you must use the Full Version as mentioned above. Anything from a Win95 cd and higher can be used in this situation as the qualifying, older OS.

3. OEM FULL VERSION - less than $200 on eBay, etc. - Someone has said you can buy an OEM Full Version from a (reputable) person/company on eBay, etc. Apparently that worked for them. However, my understanding of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) software is that you may very likely get something that doesn't work on your machine! For example, I bought an OEM Nero 5.5 cd on eBay recently. When I went to install it, it said it couldn't find a particular cd-rom, even tho I had a cd-rom that was compatible with Nero 5.5. So THAT Nero OEM software was made to be 'bundled' with only one brand/model of cd-rom, and it wouldn't work with anything else! Apparently when software is made for OEMs, they change the code so that it doesn't work if certain hardware - or other identifying components - aren't there! Does anyone have any further insight on OEM software?? I think it's risky to buy OEM software. Any commments on this??

4. OEM UPGRADE VERSION - less than $100 on eBay,etc. - This too has the stigma (?) of being OEM. If I bought a barebones system from company XYZ and I also ordered the OEM XP Home
Edition from them, would it only work on the system I bought from them? I.E. I would not be able to use it on any other system? I think this is true. I bought a Win98 SE OEM cd
on eBaY a few years ago, and as I recall I couldn't get it to work on another computer. Again, anyone have more insight on OEM software please enlighten....

Also, as one person mentioned, nowadays when you buy XP from a pc manufacturer and they pre-install it, they actually give you an XP 'restore' CD, not an actual XP Version cd. (Assuming you get the cd at all!! Companies like Compaq (and Gateway?) don't even give you an XP restore cd. They partition the hard drive and set up a Restore Drive in the 2nd partition to use if you have to restore anything, and I have found this to be a MAJOR MAJOR
PAIN! In order to re-install XP with this setup, you have to format your hard drive and start from scratch! This is why my last pc purchase went to Dell. I got an actual cd that I can apparently use if I need to reload XP. It says on the cd "reinstallation cd" so I presume it is a 'restore' cd for this pc only and can't be used elsewhere; it isn't a normal XP Version cd.)



Finally, there's the whole issue of "activation" of your XP software with Microsoft. I understand XP looks at your system components (hard drive, cd-roms, dvd roms, video card, motherboard, etc. etc.) and when you 'activate' your XP software those components are registered to THAT COPY of XP. Now, if you try to install that same copy of XP onto another machine, the activation won't go through because the system components are so different from the machine you first installed and activated XP on, and thus you can't do it. This is how Microsoft is keeping one OS copy to one machine. So, you can't take that XP CD and install it on another machine while it is active on another machine. Now, you can change a few parts here and there (upgrade your hard drive, upgrade video card, etc.) over time and those few changes won't set off an alarm as tho that copy of XP is trying to be installed on another machine, tho I don't know how many parts can change before XP thinks it's being copied onto another machine. Any more insights anyone?

Another question I have is this: if I bought the Full Version of XP, installed it on my machine, then a few years later deactivated that pc and wanted to install the Full Version of XP on another pc, would I have to call Microsoft again to let them know of this so the activation would go through? (since now the components are substantially different from initial activation)? Apparently, yes. But how would Microsoft know if I was actually deactivating the first machine or just SAYING I had deactivated my old machine? (and thus really using 1 copy of XP on 2 machines). There must be some way for them to know this. Microsoft wouldn't simply trust the word of the caller, would they? There must be someway for them to prevent this, otherwise all you would have to do to use 1 copy of XP on 2 systems would be to call in and get the changes okayed! Hmmm....


I also understand there are UPDATE versions of Windows out there (as opposed to UPGRADE versions)?? Is this true and how are they different?


COMMENTS:
1. Apparently Microsoft says you must have Win98 or higher to use the XP Upgrade Version. This is not entirely true. If you want to OVERWRITE the old files (as in section "a" above), then yes, you MUST have Win98 or higher. If you do a Clean Install however, Win95 IS a valid 'older version OS' to meet the requirements of the Upgrade Version!

2. Formatting wipes out everything on your hard drive. Be sure to save data to a CD first.


Dave

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Old 24th October 2003   #2
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Hi Dave - Welcome to the Board

Good thesis - well researched!

One or two points I would make - without the benefit of a thorough search on the Board - so others may chip in and confirm/deny.

I am not sure that a Win 95 CD would be eligible as 'Proof of a previous version' for a clean install of XP from an Upgrade CD - and Win2k cannot be upgraded to XP Home according to M$ and the same may apply.

OEM can be dodgy - I experienced the same re. Nero when trying to install on my second PC using an install CD which came with a new burner for my main PC. Fortunately I had an original copy of Nero which I was then able to upgrade.

For the lowdown on Windows Product Activation this is a good read as is Move Windows to Another Computer. Note the rider re. OEM versions

M$ appear to trust you, but it would not surprise me if the original install, if it remained in use, could not be updated or have Service Packs applied through Windows Update.

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Old 24th October 2003   #3
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As noted (on the link supplied by PeteC), Win95 is not eligable for upgrade.

Here is my take on Product Activation in Windows XP.

Note this:
Quote:
Reinstallation of Windows XP on the same or similar hardware and a subsequent reactivation can be accomplished an infinite number of times. Finally, the Microsoft activation clearinghouse system will automatically allow activation to occur over the Internet four times in one year on substantially different hardware. Every 120 days, the current configuration of a user's PC will become the new "base," so to speak. This means (for example) that on a non-dockable PC you could change 8 of the above parts without a reactivation. After 120 days, you could again change 8 parts. This last feature was implemented to allow even the most savvy power users to make changes to their systems and, if they must reactivate, do so over the Internet rather than necessitating a telephone call.
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Quote:
Also, as one person mentioned, nowadays when you buy XP from a pc manufacturer and they pre-install it, they actually give you an XP 'restore' CD, not an actual XP Version cd.
Well, I can only say that I bought a Dell laptop this year, and it comes with a CD labaled "Reinstallation CD Microsoft Windows XP Professional". On the sleave, it also has a red sticker with: "The enclosed CD contains a complete version of you OS...".

I would NEVER accept a "restore CD" only.

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Old 24th October 2003   #4
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Quote:
Also, as one person mentioned, nowadays when you buy XP from a pc manufacturer and they pre-install it, they actually give you an XP 'restore' CD, not an actual XP Version cd.
I think it all depends on who you buy your computer from. I bought my present computer, configured to my specs, from Nutrend, and received a "recovery CD", which appears to be a full version of XP Pro. I have done both clean installs and recoveries on my desktop with this CD.

Quote:
Now, if you try to install that same copy of XP onto another machine, the activation won't go through because the system components are so different from the machine you first installed and activated XP on, and thus you can't do it.
There is an exception to that. I've used the same OEM CD to put a plain vanilla installation of XP Pro on my IBM laptop, which came pre-configured with IBM's highly customized version of XP Pro, which I didn't want. When it came time for product activation, I used the product key for the XP version that came pre-installed on the machine, rather that the one for the version I actually was installing. ¡No problema!

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Old 24th October 2003   #5
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Good points, all... but, because I deal with both Home and Pro versions of XP, I wouldn't waste my money on Home.

I don't remember where I got this, but it sums up the differences nicely:

Remote Desktop – you don't get Remote Desktop with Windows XP Home
Domain Membership – you won't ever be able to join a Windows domain with XP Home
Encrypting File System (EFS)– you don't get EFS with Windows XP Home
File level access control – file level NTFS permissions can't be set in Home
Multiprocessor support – Windows XP Home supports only a single processor
Internet Information Services – You can make Windows XP Pro a Web or FTP server, not Windows XP Home
ASR – the Automated System Recovery feature is included in Pro, in addition to System Restore (which is also included in Home)
Dynamic disk support – you can't make spanned or striped volumes in Windows XP Home Edition, as you can in Pro
The Network Monitor – this handy tool for capturing data packets that are sent to or from your computer isn't included in Home

I will never buy an OEM for myself, EVER. I prefer a clean system not packed with spyware, garbage and interdependent software. It may be cheaper, but I'd rather have the improved performance, and options of configuring it myself. I just worked on an HP that took forever to boot- no wonder- it had 57 processes trying to load at once with 256 Mg RAM. Norton discovered 186 internet enabled programs, including BackWeb. JMO
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Old 24th October 2003   #6
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I bought an OEM XP Pro CD with SP1 and it doesn't have anything on it exept the usual M$ ****. There's no spyware exept what's been downloaded from the Web.

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