Would you like to buy a new version of Windows or Office but you are undecided between an OEM license, a retail license or an ESD license? Here we will explain what is the difference between the OEM, retail and ESD license.


First of all, it should be noted that there is no difference in terms of technical characteristics between one license and another. In fact, all three types of licenses offer the same things. The main differences between one type and the other are therefore only of a legal and contractual nature.


A license of Windows or Office in the OEM version is a type of license that is inextricably linked to a single PC. In practice this means that if for one reason or another you no longer want to use that PC, then you will no longer be able to use the same Windows and/or Office Product Key on the new computer. Also, if you want to change some components on the PC with a Windows OEM license, probably that same license then can not be used even on the same computer.

In particular, if on the PC with the Windows OEM license, for example, you want to change the motherboard, then that same Windows OEM license then can not be used even on the same PC. Instead of making less radical changes, such as changing Graphic cards, changing hard drives or changing/adding RAM, in this case, most likely, the Windows OEM license will continue to be valid. Unfortunately, the condition in these cases is a must because Microsoft in this respect is not very precise, even ignoring the fact that sometimes even makes small changes to the license agreement.


A retail or Windows license of Office is a type of license that allows you to install Windows and/or Office on any PC, allowing in case of need to be moved from one computer to another. In other words, if you decide to change computers, you can easily take the version of Windows and/or Office and install it on the new computer without incurring any kind of problem. But this does not mean that you can install the same version of Windows and/or Office simultaneously on multiple computers, but only that, once you uninstall Windows and/or Office from the old PC, that same license can then be used on any other computer without meeting any problem.


A license of Windows or Office in the ESD version (acronym of electronic software distribution ) is a type of license that Microsoft offers in digital format without the aid of any physical support (such as the classic box, the DVD, the user manual, etc.), thus reducing the costs due to packaging and shipping. The main advantage of an ESD license is undoubtedly its price which, depending on the case, can also cost only between 5 and 20 dollars.


If you’re going to change PC components often or you already know that you want to change computers from time to time taking your version of Windows and/or Office from one PC to another, in this case, then, the ideal solution is to buy a retail license. If you’re one of those who do not often change computers, then in this case the OEM license of Windows and/or Office is for you, thus allowing you to save money. A license of Windows or Office in the OEM version costs in fact much less than the counterpart in the retail version. Please note, however, that with an OEM version license you will not have direct support from Microsoft, which, if you have problems with Windows or Office,
Finally, an ESD version of Windows or Office license, depending on the case, may be similar to both the OEM license, the retail license, and the MSDN license, as there is no single version of the ESD license but it depends, more what else, from the seller in question who decides from time to time which of these three licenses to associate with the ESD license.

Although things may also change in the future, they should always, however, always remain more or less in principle. At this point, however, you should finally have realized that there is a difference between the OEM, retail and ESD license.


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