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Different between Microsoft OEM and Open License?

Posted on 2010-09-01
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I'm trying to decipher the exact difference between OEM and Open License. I know both are tied to installing on 'new' hardware. If the hardware dies, i believe the OEM license is gone but with Open License you can transfer it to a another machine?
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Question by:Cobra25
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Expert Comment

by:Glen Knight
ID: 33581116
An OEM license is tied to the hardware but an Open license is a discounted licensing program for buying perpetual licensing from Microsoft, this license is transferable.
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Expert Comment

by:karephre
ID: 33581183
you correct on the OEM. here is a good read on Open
http://www.opendefinition.org/guide/#what-is-an-open-license
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Lee W, MVP earned 350 total points
ID: 33581282
Unless laws in your area dictate otherwise:
OEM licenses are tied to the hardware they are sold with and cannot be moved to new systems.
Open License and other Volume licensing options are tied to the company they are sold to and cannot be moved to another company.

In addition, you cannot image OEM licenses but CAN image volume licenses - this can be a HUGE time savings.

Also, I believe (not as confident in this as I am about other aspects) that you cannot buy Volume licenses for hardware that does not already have a license.  Volume licenses are, if I'm not mistaken, effectively upgrade licenses so an existing version of Windows MUST be present on the hardware (or more specifically, must be allocated to the hardware).

DISCLAIMER: All licensing questions really need to be directed to the license granting organization (in this case, Microsoft - Microsoft Licensing and Pre-sales Support).  "They told me on experts-exchange" will not be a valid defense in an audit if you are doing things you're not supposed to.  Further, licensing can change and the understanding provided by the experts here MAY be based on old information.
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Assisted Solution

by:Rant32
Rant32 earned 150 total points
ID: 33581326
With an OEM license, the hardware manufacturer that preloaded the server/pc with the OS will supply support for the OS for a limited time. This is not the case with other licensing methods. The supplied Windows setup discs are also not exactly the same. The h/w manufacturer can change the Windows install/recovery disc to their needs. With Open License, you order plain vanilla CD/DVD media that you can use on all models.

Open license is not restricted to particular or new hardware, it just allows you to run the selected OSes or applications for a certain number of instances (physical or virtual machines). The licensing model may differ between Standard and Enterprise edition, especially if you're clustering or virtualizing.

Any OEM license will only grant the use of that license on a single machine, and the license is tied to that machine.

Also note the activation requirements. OEM licenses must be activated online or over the phone. Open/Volume licenses may be activated by running an authorized activation server in your company.

So, the "exact difference" is that they're not even closely similar.
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Expert Comment

by:Rant32
ID: 33581448
leew: Interesting, so I looked it up.

http://download.microsoft.com/download/a/7/0/a70853c1-a783-4d48-a7ad-f404abdb1e7d/Microsoft_Volume_Licensing_Reference_Guide.pdf

The restriction that a valid license must already be present with VL appears only with Desktop operating systems. The section about server systems and applications mentions no such thing.
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Expert Comment

by:Kaffiend
ID: 33583692
The above posts sum it all up pretty well.

One more thing to consider when choosing between OEM and Open licensing is virtualization.

As mentioned already, an OEM license is tied to the hardware - you cannot legally virtualize a server (or workstation for that matter) and stay within the licensing terms.

Actually, if you do try and virtualize a server with an OEM license, it will want to be activated when you start up that VM, and you will not be able to do so.

So if you are thinking that at some point you might want to virtualize your servers, stay away from OEM licensing.  
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 33583707
Rant,

Yes, I knew that - should have clarified.  Thanks for posting it.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Cobra25
ID: 33666819
thanks
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