How to Determine if Windows License Type is OEM, Retail, or Volume
Most common license types:
- KMS Client and Volume MAK
- OEM SLP and COA SLP
- OEM System Builder
- KMS Client and Volume MAK product keys, are volume license keys that are not-for-resale. They are issued by organizations for use on client computers associated in some way with the organization. Volume license keys may not be transferred with the computer if the computer changes ownership. Consult your organization or the Volume Licensing Service Center for help with volume license keys.
- OEM SLP and COA SLP product keys, are issued by large computer manufacturers and use SLP (System Locked Pre-installation) technology to bind the license to the original motherboard via the BIOS and software.
The OEM SLP keys self-activate if the corresponding data in the BIOS is correct. OEM SLP keys, which the user can read in the MGADiag report or software like KeyFinder, cannot be used by the end user to manually activate Windows. The COA SLP key is printed on a sticker affixed to the side of the computer case (desktops), or on the bottom of the case (laptops), or in the battery compartment (newer laptops). This is the key for the user to enter manually should he need to activate Windows himself.
- OEM System Builder, product keys are for use by smaller system builders, computer shops, consultants, and others who provide computers and services to their customers. A system builder is defined by the System Builder license as "an original equipment manufacturer, an assembler, a refurbisher, or a software pre-installer that sells the Customer System(s) to a third party." A person who builds a computer for his own use or for friends and family is not a system builder as defined by the System Builder license. The correct license for these cases is Retail.
OEM keys are not-for-resale and may not be transferred to another computer. They may, however, be transferred with the computer if the computer is transferred to new ownership.
- Retail, product keys are what the customer gets when he buys a Full Packaged Product (FPP), commonly known as a "boxed copy", of Windows from a retail merchant or purchases Windows online from the Microsoft Store.
The term "retail" used in licensing has nothing to do with how the user purchases Windows, however, but refers to certain rights granted by retail licenses. A retail license may be transferred to another computer so long as the number of computers licensed does not exceed the licensing limit. In most cases, the limit is one.
Some retail licenses are not-for-resale. Licenses obtained from a subscription such as MSDN, TechNet, BizSpark, and complimentary copies are not-for-resale. Subscription and complimentary licenses are transferrable to a new computer by the subscriber/recipient only. They may not be transferred with a computer that changes ownership. Such licenses are classified as "retail" because, unlike OEM licenses, they are transferrable to a different computer.
Retail licenses may be either Upgrade licenses or Full Rights licenses. Microsoft uses "upgrade" to mean both an installation methodology and a licensing right. Don't confuse the two meanings. As a licensing right "upgrade" means that the customer is given credit (residual value) for the old Windows license because it is being superseded by the new upgrade license. Upgrade licenses are sold at a reduced price compared to the Full Rights license for this reason. However, the user must own a previous Windows license qualifying for the upgrade in order to take advantage of the reduced price. Further, the user may not re-use the old, superseded license.
Full Rights retail licenses do not supersede a preceding license regardless of how the software is installed.
#Product Affected / Related
Windows all versions
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