Windows Server OEM licensing is cheaper, but not always.


To be specific OEM licensing has many limitations:


  • Licenses are non-transferable (to another computer)
  • Licenses expires with the hardware
  • A change of motherboard or processor will deem an OEM license invalid and a new license will have to be purchased as it is similar to changing to a new system
  • There is No upgrade path
  • You will need to keep the COA (certificate of authenticity) and invoice (OEM license is purchased with hardware) as proof of license
  • No on-line tracking
  • No re-imaging rights.  You cannot create custom images and deploy using third Microsoft or third party tools
  • If a license is lost, damaged in fire/flood or stolen, new licenses needs to be purchased as there is no way of replacing those licenses as Microsoft does not keep track of the licenses.
  • Each install has different license key and will need to be activated online. You cannot use a Volume license key to install OEM licenses
  • No multiple language rights
  • Support is the responsibility of the OEM reseller (probably you), not Microsoft.

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