Where can I purchase a non-oem version of Windows 7 Upgrade Pro w/ SP1?
April 29, 2013 3:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking to upgrade our XP PC's to Windows 7. I'm having a hard time finding a legitimate source for non-oem Windows 7 pro upgrade with SP1 already baked in. Thanks for any help!
posted by colecovizion to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can download the ISOs directly from Microsoft, legally - search for "digital river windows 7" (digital river just hosts the downloads). It appears that the images include SP1. Note that you will still have to purchase a license to use and activate windows, but the image itself is free to download.
posted by unix at 4:25 PM on April 29, 2013

Unix: Wow, that's awesome! Thanks for posting that. Now... I guess they've taken away the ability to be fully digital and buy a key online. It looks like I can only buy a Windows 8 key. Any suggestions?
posted by colecovizion at 5:40 PM on April 29, 2013

Not quite sure I can help with that, as I've shared pretty much all of my windows knowledge.

This may not work, and I'd suggest trying it in a VM or on a computer you don't care about first, but it's possible there will be an option to buy a product key after installing windows 7. Again, that might not work, so don't try it on a mission critical computer, but it might.
posted by unix at 6:49 PM on April 29, 2013

Did you check out Amazon? I don't know if they will have XP to 7 upgrades for you, but they certainly have a lot of Windows 7 "System Builder" packages advertised. FWIW.
posted by forthright at 9:04 PM on April 29, 2013

I think some editions of Windows 8 are "downgrade licenses", where you can use the same key for Windows 7 as well.
posted by vasi at 2:41 AM on April 30, 2013

In your position I would buy a licence for whichever version of Windows 8 looks like the replacement for the Windows 7 version you actually want, then download a Windows 7 ISO and tweak it to make a SLP OEM installation for my hardware.

This procedure is in no way compliant with any of Microsoft's EULAs, but it should result in (a) a Windows installation technically indistinguishable from one supplied by your hardware manufacturer and (b) MS getting paid what they probably would have charged you if they'd had the courtesy to make it easy to buy what you actually wanted.

The only behavioral differences between OEM and full-retail flavours of a given Windows edition are that the OEM versions interrogate the BIOS at setup and boot time to make sure they're running on an authorized vendor's hardware, and use a vendor-specific product key that doesn't require online activation rather than an activation-required product key unique to the particular installation.
posted by flabdablet at 8:16 AM on April 30, 2013

Thanks for all of the responses!

Since I am buying for a small business, I want to stick with the EULA's and not go the OEM route (even though it is technically possible).

I'm going to buy the box on amazon for the serial and then use the Windows 7 with SP1 ISO to install.
posted by colecovizion at 1:55 PM on April 30, 2013

System Builder Windows licenses are for use by people who build computer systems for resale, and the setup DVD that comes in a System Builder pack will install an OEM edition of Windows. If you're seeking to install Windows on an existing, fully assembled computer, only buying a retail Windows license (which costs considerably more than an OEM license) will give you legitimate authorization to do that.

Retail editions of Windows can't be activated using product keys for OEM editions, and OEM editions of Windows Setup don't include an upgrade option; they can only do fresh installations.

The fact that anybody can buy a System Builder pack from Amazon without any requirement to demonstrate that they are in fact a legitimate OEM speaks volumes about how seriously nobody takes Microsoft's licensing language. But if you truly are looking to upgrade your existing XP installations, as opposed to rebuilding them from ground zero starting with a fresh installation of 7, then you're going to need retail media and a retail product key.
posted by flabdablet at 8:09 AM on May 1, 2013

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