Legally Buying Windows 7 Cheap
There is a little known fact among most home users that Microsoft also releases an OEM version of Windows 7. This version of Windows 7 is identical to the full version except it is packaged and supported as a version of Windows that is intended to be loaded onto a new computer and sold.
This OEM version of Windows 7 is a quite a bit less expensive than the full version. The Home Premium OEM version of Windows 7 goes for US$109.99, the Professional version sells for US$149.99, and the Ultimate edition costs US$199.99.
However, there are a few caveats to buying and installing the OEM version of Windows 7. First, technically, only system builders are supposed to buy and install OEM versions of Windows 7 on a PC that ultimately must be sold to a consumer. Strangely, Microsoft does not monitor who buys an OEM copy of Windows 7 so there is nothing stopping you from legally buying and installing it on your own PC.
Unfortunately, you are mostly on your own when it comes to support for Windows 7 OEM versions. However, there are so many websites out there that can help you with your Windows 7 problems that most people with OEM versions use those sites or the Microsoft Knowledge Base to fix their own Windows 7 issues.
Some very large authorized dealers of Windows 7 are able to sell the operating system for a slightly lower price than those dictated by Microsoft. For example, the full version of Windows 7 Home Premium at Amazon is about US$199.99 rather than the expected US$199.99. The Home Premium upgrade version is only US$109.99 at Amazon rather than US$119.99. Not a huge savings but you may be able to offset your tax and shipping costs with these modest price decreases.