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 Windows system builder licensing for personal use

If you are building a system for your personal use or installing an additional operating system in a virtual machine, you will need to purchase Windows 8 software or a Microsoft retail version of Windows 8.1 software. Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 system builder software does not permit personal use, and is intended only for preinstallation on customer systems that will be sold to end users.*

For more information about the Personal Use License in Windows 8, see the Windows 8 licensing guide. .pptx 2.64 MB

OEM System Builder License – Windows 8.1

As indicated in the license terms on the software Pack, use of OEM system builder software for Windows 8.1 products is subject to the following:

  • System builder products may only be used to preinstall as the operating system on a customer system you build to sell to an end user.*
  • System builder product may not be used as an upgrade license to an existing underlying Windows operating system.

*Note Japan only. As indicated on the system builder License on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 Packs in Japan, system builders may distribute system builder software with a nonperipheral computer hardware component instead of preinstalled on a customer system.

Building a PC for personal use licensing comparison by product

Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro             Windows 7
  • Full packaged retail product is needed.
  • Can be used for clean installs on existing or new hardware.
  • Cannot be used as an operating system on any computer except one that you are building for your own use or as an operating system running on a local virtual machine or a separate partition, subject to additional terms.
  • Cannot be used as an upgrade license to an existing underlying Windows OS.
  • Can only be used by one user at a time.
  • Can be transferred to new hardware, if removed from the prior PC.
  • Transfer of the software to share license between computers is prohibited.
  • Can only be used on a computer running genuine Windows OS.
  • Microsoft provides limited support services.
  • License terms are granted by Microsoft to the end user.
  • OEM System builder product may be purchased.
  • Microsoft provides limited support services.
  • Can only be used as the OS on a PC you build for personal use, or as additional operating system running in either a local virtual machine or in a separate partition, subject to additional terms.
  • Cannot be used as an upgrade license to an existing underlying Windows OS.
  • Can only be used by one user at a time.
  • Can be transferred to new hardware, if removed from the prior PC.
  • Transfer of the software to share license between computers is prohibited.
  • Cannot be used to legalize from a non-genuine Windows OS.
  • License terms are granted by Microsoft to the system builder.
  • Full packaged retail product is needed.
  • Can be used to upgrade an existing PC with a Windows operating system.
  • Can be used for clean installs on existing or new hardware.
  • Can only be used by one user at a time.
  • You may only install one copy of the software on one computer.
  • Can be transferred to new hardware, if removed from the prior PC.
  • Microsoft provides support services.
  • License terms are granted by Microsoft to the end user.
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