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Thinkster

Licensing question OEM vs. Retail

8 posts in this topic

I'm working with 14 machines that came with Vista Business preloaded on them from Acer. Of course they come with all the bloatware and acer stuff I don't really want and are not customized the way I want. Each PC has a sticker on the side with the product key which I have entered into a database. Can I take a real Microsoft Vista Business SP1 Disc and do a clean install on each machine using the Machine's sticker product key?

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no. you would need OEM media. Retail media wont accept the key.

additionally, the OS will need to be activated and if installed from OEM media you cant do that over the internet. (you'll have to call)

there are threads on this forum about backing up the activation data and restoring it after a fresh install though. after you get OEM media i would take a look at those threads.

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If you have an OEM copy of Vista business from Acer, yes, that key will work.

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Manufacturers these days cut corners where ever they can including NOT sending CD's/DVD's as they used to, So unfortunately I don't have an Acer Windows Vista OEM disc. Even if it did come with a disc, it would probably be their bloated one with all the stuff I don't want. I searched the HDD for i386 and other related Vista install files but nothing..

Any other ideas?

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Manufacturers these days cut corners where ever they can including NOT sending CD's/DVD's as they used to, So unfortunately I don't have an Acer Windows Vista OEM disc. Even if it did come with a disc, it would probably be their bloated one with all the stuff I don't want. I searched the HDD for i386 and other related Vista install files but nothing..

Any other ideas?

Usually you can get one from the vendor, but if Acer won't provide one you'll have to get your own.

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Can I take a real Microsoft Vista Business SP1 Disc and do a clean install on each machine using the Machine's sticker product key?

I'll break this into two parts:

First, with Vista, there is no such thing as a "home basic" disk, a "business" disk, an 'OEM" disk, a "retail" disk, etc. There are only four varieties of disk - a 32-bit Vista installation disk and a 64-bit Vista installation disk for RTM (meaning non-SP1) and a 32-bit Vista with SP1 integrated and 64-bit Vista with SP1 integrated. Each disk has all versions of Vista available for installation; the product key you enter dictates which version is allowed to be installed, not the media. You should be able to buy a Vista Home Basic SP1 Retail upgrade disk to get the SP1 integrated bits for your project; or, if you have a MSDN subscription you can download it.

Second, with OEM's like Acer that utilize system locked preinstallation (SLP), you can backup and restore your original SLP settings using programs such as orev's Activation Backup and Restore (he has a really good guide on doing exactly what you want to do posted at http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=120228). This way, your installation will be activated without having to call in and without having to reactivate online. If you use the product key from the machine sticker, you will have to call in to activate, but it should also work.

Good luck!

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Thanks jrf2027,

Although since my original post, I have already discovered this and have in fact used that great utility from orev. I was able to use vLite to take

a "Windows Upgrade Anytime" Disc and lighten it up a little as well as make it a Business only version. I also found that the backed up key from the utility was different from the key on the sticker on the outside of the PC and I know why now...

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There are only four varieties of disk - a 32-bit Vista installation disk and a 64-bit Vista installation disk for RTM (meaning non-SP1) and a 32-bit Vista with SP1 integrated and 64-bit Vista with SP1 integrated.

What about Vista Enterprise? The four Vista x86/x64 RTM/SP1 comes with Home, Home Premium, Ultimate and Business, but not Enterprise.

Enterprise Version takes another DVD, i have the Enterprise SP1 ISO from MSDN... about 2 GB, because only have Enterprise version...

Edited by gus_007x
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