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Buying "Download Version" of  Windows Operating System

Posted on 2014-01-23
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
Hi,
 
 I have Windows 7 Professional PCs (mixture of 32bit and 64bit, but mostly 32bit PCs) and I need to upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate to use "BitLocker" function.
That said, I see a lot of internet vendors selling "License only download link".
Here is an example but there are quite a few out there.
 http://www.itdirectdeals.com/Microsoft-Windows-7-Ultimate-SP1-Full-Version-OEM-32-bit_p_341.html

 Of course that are significantly cheaper than Full Retail version or Retail Upgrade version.
But since I am not familiar with these types, I want to educate myself before trying it.
 What are the pros and cons?

Thanks.
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Question by:sglee
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Dan Craciun earned 67 total points
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The link you provided is for an OEM version, which is restricted for system builders to install on a new PC. You cannot legally use them in your situation.

HTH,
Dan
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by:Steven Harris
Steven Harris earned 34 total points
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To answer the download question, the immediate pros and cons are quite simple:

Pros:
Immediate download

Cons:
No physical media

Many Microsoft and Adobe products are moving to either cloud or download only versions.  As long as you are working with a trusted supplier, you shouldn't have any issues.

(Dan is correct about the OEM license portion by the way)
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 67 total points
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But as Dan stated, this is NOT an option.

Your best bet in my opinion is to buy volume licenses for Windows 8.1 Enterprise and if you don't want to install that, then downgrade to Windows 7 (the license keys and downloads would be available to you through the Microsoft Volume License web site, once you purchase).
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 67 total points
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And to make sure you know, you will need TPM chips in the laptops if you want a seamless experience (and note: you'll need to suspend bitlocker to do BIOS updates!)
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by:Dan Craciun
Dan Craciun earned 67 total points
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Did you investigate if you can use TrueCrypt instead of Bitlocker? http://www.truecrypt.org/
I do not know your needs, but if they can be filled by TrueCrypt you'll save some serious cash in upgrades.

HTH,
Dan
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by:sglee
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@Dan
Before choosing Win7 Ultimate BitLocker, I compared it against TrueCrypt.
Both did the job. I liked the fact that TrueCrypt was FREE.
But I was more comfortable with Windows solution because should I have a problem down the road, I can get broader support - from newsgroups but ultimately I can call MS tech support if I need to.
But with TrueCrypt, I have to reply on newsgroups only. In business when customers have problems, they can't wait until I get answers from newsgroups people.
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by:garycase
garycase earned 99 total points
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The simplest way to upgrade from Pro to Ultimate is to just click on the "Anytime Upgrade" link and buy the Ultimate upgrade.    This will do the upgrade in place ... with nothing for you to download (it will download the components it needs automatically).
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 33 total points
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Just adding to the licence information as described what's on offer is the System Builder OEM version of Win 7.  The saving they quote is based on the price of a retail version - the list price of the OEM version including media is considerably less (at launch it was $190 and most suppliers discount from there).  You pay less because of the significant restrictions in use outlined the the System Builder EULA.  That version is for supply only with a newly built PC which has to be supplied to someone other than the system builder.

Newegg are much more upfront about the limitations on its use - see the Specifications tab on their page here

Online stores are free to supply the System Builder version as they are not responsible for how the product is installed by the end-user (which should be a systems manufacturer). Some suppliers are less explicit than others about the license restrictions and it can appear that these are simply fully licensed, unrestricted versions of Windows at a discount which is not the case.
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by:sglee
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@garycase
I read upon "Anytime Upgrade" a few months ago, though I never tried it.  Since each PC has Win7 Pro, online upgrade may work just fine, but what happens when the hard drive goes bad in the future? When I install a new HD, then I have to install Win7 OS from the scratch and perform "Anytime Upgrade" again?

Another question: Currently I do backup Windows 7 OS using an external USB drive and I can restore the OS completely from the USB if needed.
If I backup Win7 Ultimate to external HD and the main HD goes bad, then I have no Win7 Ultimate CD to insert into the computer to restore OS from the USB Backup.
What do you think?
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by:sglee
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Since we are talking about "download OS", let me ask you this. I see some ebay sellers that offer only "License/Activation Code" w/o the media. They provide the download link for OS (from MS website). They say that once I pay the fee, then they will send me the license code via email. Is this something similar to online merchant that I posted the link from?
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by:garycase
garycase earned 99 total points
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No matter what path you take to get the system up-to-date with the version you want, you should, after it's fully configured and up-to-date, save an IMAGE of the system using the imaging tool of your choice [Acronis, Image-for-DOS, etc.].

That completely eliminates the issue of needing install media to restore it to a new hard drive;  or to the same drive if it becomes corrupted, etc.    ... and of course the image will include all of your updates; installed programs; etc. -- so it's much quicker.

However, even without that, all you need to do is save the license key you're provided when you buy the Anytime Upgrade, and you can apply it again in the future should it become necessary.
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by:sglee
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@ garycase
Do you know if there is a limitation as to how many times the license key that comes with Anytime Upgrade you can use?
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by:garycase
garycase earned 99 total points
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It's only good for one upgrade ... but as with any Windows license, you can re-install it on the same machine as often as needed.
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by:sglee
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Thanks for the information.
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