written by: Bruce Tyson•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 5/8/2011
New computers usually come with Windows 7 OEM, a special version of the operating system designed and priced for system manufacturers. Because the version is unique, some of the problems it has are also unique. Problems with Windows 7 OEM installations are discussed here.
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Installing Windows 7 OEM on a Different Machine
Because the Windows 7 OEM operating system (OS) is keyed to each unique machine, owners will experience difficulty installing thesoftware on a different machine. Even if the original machine is replaced with a new one, the authentication process of Windows 7 OEM is not the same as the one used for the retail version of the operating system.
The authentication used for most Windows OEM systems is an automated, offline process called System Locked Preinstallation (SLP), saving the time and manpower required for manually entering software keys. When the OEM is reinstalled by the end user, it must be installed with the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) and will report that as its install method.
Users that have a Windows 7 OEM install problem when either performing a clean install of the OS or on a new or upgraded system may have to contact the manufacturer of the system involved for installation support.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Linfocito B
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The Windows 7 OEM Installation Location Cycle
One of the Windows 7 OEM install problems most frequently encountered by end users is the problem where Windows boots on the CD, creates a temporary partition, prompts for the installation location, and then reboots the computer. Afterward, the series of events repeats itself in a seemingly endless loop.
This problem usually is caused by leaving the Windows 7 media in the optical drive. When the computer reboots as part of the setup process, the computer should be allowed to boot on the Windows 7 boot partition rather than on the optical media.
Solve this problem by removing the media from the optical drive while the computer restarts, disabling the option to boot from optical media, or by using boot menu options to manually choose to boot from the hard drive.
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No Support from Microsoft
Two versions of Microsoft Windows 7 OEM exist. The version installed by manufacturers that does not require activation and the so-called "System Builder" version that must be activated just like other versions of Windows. Regardless of which OEM version is involved, the licensing deal for the software requires the manufacturer or integrator to assume responsibility for supporting the operating system.
The reason why Microsoft does not officially support end users with OEM installations of Windows 7 is because of cost. System vendors received discounted prices based on volume and on the fact that they manage support.
Some Windows 7 OEM users have reported that they were able to get help with installation issues from Microsoft, but most of the time Microsoft will redirect end users with Windows 7 OEM to the company that assembled their machine.
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Wrapping it Up
Windows 7 OEM problems include those that are common with the entire Windows 7 product family, but some problems with the OEM version of the operating system are unique. Here, just a few of these problems were listed, along with possible solutions.