What are the differences between Retail and OEM versions of Windows software?

Question

I recently saw a Windows XP oem version at 1/2 the price of the full version. The requirement was that you needed to purchase some hardware with it. What is the difference between the oem and the other version? What are the disadvantages of the oem version.

Answer

This question was answered on October 7, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Generally speaking, the OEM version and the Retail version only differ in that the OEMs have any extra drivers that are needed and also brand a few boxes here and there So, when you look at tyour "My Computer" properties, you see a Dell, Compaq, or whatever logo OEMs also occassionally preapply Service Packs, but then again, you can get retail versions that do that as well...

I have experimented with the Dell OEMs (2K and XP) that come with various Optiplexes and Lattitudes Other than branding and device drivers, I cannot see a difference.

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Author

Posted by Student of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on October 7, 2003