What Windows 8 License To Choose: OEM, VUP or Retail?

When it comes to choosing from Windows 8 Licenses, some questions appear: should it be OEM, Retail or VUP?

After its official release, Windows 8 has already determined its fans to ask a lot of questions. Most of them are of technical nature. However, a quite significant percent of these questions are related to the number and types of license which are now available to buy from the Redmond company. Unfortunately this is not a new situation. The same happened when Windows 7 has been released, not to mention that the next ancestors of these new operating systems (XP and Vista) have raised similar question marks.

The mysteries related to the technical side of Windows 8 can, in the end, be resolved by simply downloading and testing the latest version of the Microsoft popular OS (I am referring here to the pre-release versions, obviously). Unfortunately, it’s not that easy when it comes to the different types of licenses in which the new operating system has been presented. That’s because you will have to investigate this problem by asking questions to sales people in different Microsoft dealers or by searching and studying this matter on different internet forums. Or…you can consider yourself lucky because you have found this article, which will en-light you.

I have chosen to write about this matter because there are lots of computer users not being able of differentiating these licenses between them. After analyzing the feedback from our readers, I can tell that Microsoft did not do a really good job explaining what each of these licenses are bringing and which one fits perfectly the needs of a particular user, like you…or me…or anybody else. Therefore I suggest you reading the following paragraphs before hurrying up towards your local Microsoft dealer for purchasing one of these licenses.


So let’s begin: as mentioned in the headline of this article, there are three licenses available for Windows 8: OEM, VUP and Retail. Of course I am referring here to the final end users and not corporations or any other form of business customers.

OEM Licenses

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. These kind of licenses are usually installed on new machines (desktops, laptops etc.) by their manufacturers (Dell, HP, Acer, Sony, Samsung, Lenovo etc.). They are Microsoft partners and, therefore, they are able to deliver your equipment with a pre-installed operating system. In some cases retailers, which are assembling by themselves different types of machines, are also bale to deliver a pre-installed OS, upon customers request.

But that’s not all the story in which regards OEM licenses. You must know that you can buy this kind of license, too. The main advantage in this situation comes from the fact that you will have to pay a smaller price for it. However, you must take into consideration a drawback, too: there are some limitations when it comes to modifying your hardware.

What is Windows 8 OEM License?

OEM license is cheaper. However it has some limitations.

The Windows 8 OEM license will be installed on just one machine. Furthermore, this computer must not suffer major hardware modifications. For example, if you will replace the motherboard of that computer, the license will not be valid anymore. Still, there is a chance to earn back your operating system by calling to a Microsoft support center and asking them to re-activate your license. But you must know that this is somehow a complex process: you will be asked a lot of questions in order to prove that you are the real owner of that license.

The CPU can be changed but you will have to call at the above mentioned Microsoft support center, too. After three upgrades will refuse to reactivate your OEM license.

Those components which are being changed frequently (like hard disk drive or RAM memory) will not de-activate your OEM Windows license.

When buying an OEM license, you have to know from the beginning what type of OS you would like to install on your machine: the package does not include both 32 and 64 bits versions.

. Therefore we strongly recommend you to think well before buying this type of license. It is perfect for laptops and office desktops (because this kind of machines are rarely supporting major hardware modifications) but it could be a real pain for gamers which frequently upgrade their systems with new motherboards and processors. The last category of users should read the next paragraph.

Retail Licenses

The retail license is, in fact, the complete Windows 8 kit. It will not pose any limitation but, in the same time, it could cost double that the OEM one.

You can install it on as many computers you would like and you can upgrade your machine without worrying that it could be de-activated by Microsoft. Obviously, don’t expect it to run on several machines in the same time.

The Retail package comes both with Windows 8 32 bits and 64 bits.

Retail License for Windows 8

These are the most complete packages

There are two Retail sub-categories: FPP (Full Package Product) and GGK (Get Genuine Kit). The first one comes with  the entire package (box, installation kit, documents related to the product), assuming  that you don’t have already an OS installed on your computer.

GGK has been designed for those users which have already a pre-release Windows 8 version.

VUP License

VUP stands for Version Upgrade License and it is perfect for those users which already have valid license of an olders Windows OS. They can easily upgrade to Windows OS by purchasing a VUP license.

Microsoft is offering this upgrade possibility through this kind of licence which will be able to make the transition from the old OS to the new one, while keeping some of the characteristics which were already saved in the initial system.

Windows 8 VUP License

This is perfect for upgrading from a previous OS version

For example, if you own a Windows 7 Home Premium, the VUP license will allow you upgrade to Windows 8 (which is similar to Home Premium). If, for example you have a Windows 7 Professional, then you can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro through thins kind of license.

The same rules are being applied for those which have a Windows Vista or XP license.


These are the main Microsoft consumer licenses which you can buy from the software market. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to use the below mentioned comment form or visit Microsoft official website.

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