What are the disadvantages of OEM

OEM Or Retail Product Keys - Which To Choose?

There has been a certain amount of excitement in the world of software and games for many years. Some very expensive products can be obtained for free on various platforms, which means considerable economic damage for companies. Therefore, the use of well-secured codes, with which a program can only be activated on the server, is becoming more and more important. The terms retail and OEM key are often used in this context.

But for many users, these abbreviations sound rather cryptic. What is behind it, what are the advantages and disadvantages of these two key types and what must be considered if you want to buy a full version that is protected with one of these keys?

OEM key - a brief explanation

The abbreviation OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. In German, this means nothing else than OEM, which then already explains what such a key can be used for. Software with an OEM key - these are mostly operating systems from well-known manufacturers - is sold directly to hardware manufacturers. For this purpose, large volume licenses are usually offered, because thousands of devices in a series often have to be equipped.

The OEM key is not first used by the user for activation, because this is already carried out during installation in the factory. After the purchase, only the registration data of the user in the license is replaced. Such systems are often provided with a manufacturer's branding, which can be found, for example, in the system settings.

OEM keys are generally not allowed to be sold as individual software in retail stores. This means that, as a rule, a corresponding data carrier with a software copy is not enclosed with the device. Only the OEM key can be found here, which can be used for activation during a new installation.

What is a retail key?

The retail key is then the exact opposite of the OEM key. This comes with software that can be sold in retail outlets. The activation takes place by the user himself, who has to enter the key during the installation. Usually a connection to the developer's server is then established, via which the authenticity of the product key is verified. The retail keys can usually be found in the booklets that are contained in the DVD or Bluyray packaging.

In principle, they can be used as often as required to activate software, unless the manufacturer has set a corresponding limit. In this context, the retail keys must not be confused with game codes on certain Internet platforms. It can happen that the acquired key enables the purchase and download of the software, but not its eventual activation.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different keys?

OEM keys are of course foolproof, because the activation that has already been carried out means that no more codes have to be entered and no more software has to be installed. However, one is always dependent on the availability of the manufacturer's online offer. Since no data carrier is usually supplied, the installation files can only be obtained from the manufacturer's server. Of course, this makes it difficult to set up a device if there is no connection to the Internet.

In addition, the OEM keys are often not compatible with the retail versions, which then does not allow activation despite an existing installation medium.

On the other hand, retail keys are to be treated with caution on some points. Such a key should always be purchased together with original software. Many very cheap offers on various web platforms that only sell the code are more dubious. The keys often come from sources that cannot be verified, which can then mean that the manufacturer blacklisted the corresponding key on its servers. Here, too, there is inevitably the problem that a retail key usually cannot be used with OEM software.

Conclusion and recommendation

If you want to buy a full version, you should always make sure that the corresponding retail key is included. Especially when this is purchased online, it is all the more important that it is a complete package. In the case of OEM keys, this can be neglected, but in such a case the corresponding software should be saved on a data carrier so that an installation medium is available in the event of a problem. The code must never be lost because activation is very difficult without it.

As of: May 22nd, 2021 at 8:27 p.m. / * = Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API

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