There is a very minor difference that you need to know about Windows 10 OEM vs Retail Key is this:- The OEM Key is a one-time usable key and The Retail Key can be used multiple times and multiple Computers but at once.
The better way to understand is to read the article and know what does that key means actually and why does Microsoft design different types of Keys?
You might have visited any computer store or checked online the Original Windows 10 License will cost you around ₹10,000 per copyright! then why these keys are so cheap?
Parameters: OEM vs Retail Key
|SR||Parameter||OEM Keys||Retail Keys|
|1||Flexibility||can be used in one PC only||Can be used in any pc but once at a time|
|2||Benefits||Low Cost||Flexible Key|
|3||Upgrades||System Upgrades only||System upgrade + New OS access|
|4||Used by||Prebuild PC Manufacturers||Customer use|
|5||Support||Need to Contact PC Manufacturer||Full Support by Microsoft|
|6||Motherboard Change||Need new OEM Key||Can use this key again|
Types Of Windows 10 Keys:
There are 4 main types of Windows 10 Keys and two of them are consumer base that we discussed above that is OEM vs Retail key both are consumer keys.
- Windows OEM Key
- Windows Retail Key
- Windows Volume Key
- Windows MSDN Key
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What is The Windows OEM Key?
The OEM Stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer – that is the OEM Keys are own by Prebuild Computer/Laptop Keys. They provide a Licence window that is preinstalled with the Prebuild PC/Laptop.
Once the OEM Key is first activated in the OEM Computer/Laptop; it is locked to the hardware/motherboard. The product key isn’t transferable and you can’t use it to activate another computer, even if you format the old one.
There is one more form of these OEM keys – COEM keys (Consumer OEM Keys) these keys are used for those who Assembled Computers. And these COEM Keys actually work and you can buy an original COEM license key for just ₹899.
What is The Windows Retail Key?
Windows 10 Retails keys are designed to directly sold to the Customer. If you use this key then you get a license to use this key for Lifetime.
You can use a Retail key in any computer but at once, that means you need to deactivate the first computer key to use it on another computer.
The Retail Keys are made for sale to customers, You can buy the CD+Key from Microsoft Store for ₹9999 or just buy the Retail Key from the vendor (online/Offline) for just ₹1299.
What is The Windows Volume Key?
The Windows Volume License Key is a Master Key made for big organizations like Schools, colleges, and Companies. These Organizations buy a Master and use it in their Computers.
This Master key can activate multiple Windows with the same user and Organization. you’re not allowed to activate devices that aren’t part of the organization.
What is Windows MSDN Key?
The Windows MSDN Key (Microsoft Developer Network) is a key designed for Windows app Network developers.
You are allowed to use licensed windows as a developer but you can not share or use it for Commercial purposes without Microsoft Permission.
Using this key is kind of risky as Microsoft can deactivate the key anytime they want and you will need to get a new key.
How to Find Your License Key and its Type?
Now you know the basic difference between OEM and Retail Keys but if you already have a key installed then how to find the key and type of key you have installed?
Let’s get started I will show you some steps that you can find the type of key and your Windows Key you are using in your PC/Laptop
Step 1: Open the Command Prompt
Go to Windows search bar and type Command Prompt and open the application
Step 2: Find Your Windows Key Type
Now Type Slmgr/dlv in the Command Prompt and hit the Enter button.
Now you will see a window where you can find the type of Key You are using. Read the Description there you see my license type is OEM.
Step 3: Find Your Windows Key
In the same window, you will see these types of other information.
Activation ID, Application ID, Product Key.
The Activation ID is your Windows Key you can use it for Activation.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: What is the difference between OEM and Retail key?
Answer: The main Difference between OEM Key and Retail Key is: The OEM Key get permanently tied with the Computer it was originally installed. Whereas The Retail Key can be used again on new Computer if you are not using the old Computer or the key is removed from old computer
Q2: Should I buy Windows 10 OEM or Retail?
Answer: I would Recommend You to Buy The Retail Key Because: Retail key get customer care support, it get all system updates and the main thing its lifetime key that you can use on any Windows Computer.
Q3: Is my Windows key OEM or Retail?
Answer: You can find whether your key is OEM or Retail by just typing Slmgr/dlv in the Command Prompt and a Popup will show Your Windows Key and Key Type
Q4: Is buying OEM Windows legal?
Answer: Yes!! There is no such legal issue with OEM keys but there are some disadvantages than Retail Key in OEM Key
Q5: Can OEM Windows 10 be reinstalled?
Answer: Yes!! I have formatted my Windows 10 with OEM key 4 Times and every time I install the Windows 10 OS it get automatically activated when I connect it with the Internet.
Q6: Can a Windows 10 OEM key be reused?
Answer: Yes!! But You can Reuse the Windows Key in same Hardware/Motherboard multiple times.
Q7: How do I find my Windows 10 OEM key?
Answer: You can find whether OEM or Retail Key by just typing Slmgr/dlv in the Command Prompt and a Popup will show Your Windows Key and Key Type