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Windows 7 volume license alongside OEM stickers?

Posted on 2014-03-05
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Last Modified: 2014-03-08
An office I'm doing work for has a bunch of computers - about 40 of them, and MOST of them are licensed with a Windows 7 Professional OEM sticker affixed to the side of the computer by the manufacturer.

But, they also have a couple of old computers that originally came with Vista, and a few custom build PCs which have Windows 7 on them, but have no sticker (I'm assuming that during installation the licenses were poached from the other computers and activated over the telephone).

In total, there are about 6-8 computers that I would say are improperly licensed.

They're upgrading some systems now and they're trying to license everything properly so this is a good time for me to get them a handful of Volume Licenses for Windows 7 Professional under the Microsoft Open Volume License Program.

So, questions:

1. Do they have to buy 40 volume licenses, one for EVERY computer at the office, or do they just need enough to cover the computers that are not otherwise licensed via an OEM license sticker?

2. When they buy new computers, if it has a Windows 7 Professional OEM sticker and they then wipe the hard drive and install Windows 7 from their deployment image which uses the volume license key, is this installation still licensed via the oem sticker, or is it now a volume license computer and consumes one of their volume license seats?

3. If the answer to #1 is "you need 40 licenses", then is there any major benefit with regards to system administration for them to have volume license keys as opposed to just buying a few retail copies of Windows 7 on an as needed basis to fill in the cracks?

4. Can you buy an OEM license sticker, and affix it to an existing computer that originally shipped with Windows Vista, install Windows 7 Professional on it, and consider the computer to now be properly licensed? Or is it a problem that the OEM license wasn't originally shipped with the system when it was first built?
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Question by:Frosty555
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mcsween earned 1000 total points
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1. No, if you have an OEM license you are allowed to re-image the systems using a VLA (volume) license.  You only need to own 1 VLA license to do this, however, since you are 6-8 short you should purchase 6-8 copies. https://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/briefs/reimaging.aspx

2. See #1 (use VLA license media and key but the sticker is the actual license)

3. No advantage except the ability to mass deploy, however, you do not need to buy 40 anyway.

4. You must be a Microsoft System Builder to purchase OEM licenses without hardware.  You will find people selling OEM licenses alone online but, this is a violation of the license agreement.  You don't need them anyway as you are going to buy 6-8 VLA licenses to cover the gaps.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 1000 total points
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mcsween is absolutely correct - don't go down the purchasing OEM route as that would make you the OEM and you can't be both the OEM and end-user. There are all manner of other issues that would cause you grief if you were audited.

Reimaging Rights are what you are after - you can then effectively trade the OEM licence for a VL one at no cost provided you meet the minimum requirement for the VL (one licence). You can't trade up OEM licences for an earlier version of Windows from your VL though so you'll need to include anything that's not Win 7 Pro as a VL to buy.

Imaging an OEM system for deployment is also against the terms of the licence.
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by:mcsween
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One more note to add, downgrades are ok as long as they are the same version.  A Win 8.1 Pro OEM license is good for Win 8 Pro, 7 Pro, Vista Pro, XP Pro VLA.

The reverse is not true though; a Win Vista Pro license is no good for Win 7 or 8.  It also has to be the same or lesser version.  For example, a Pro license is good for home premium and home but not Ultimate.  Of course you still need a key for whatever version you are actually installing.  This is why you need to purchase at least 1 VLA license.
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