The term, OEM (original equipment manufacturer) refers to companies that make products for others to repackage and sell. Resellers buy OEM products in bulk, minus the costly retail packaging that comes with individually sold units. The product itself is essentially the same as its more expensive, retail-packaged sibling. OEM products are used in many industries, but are perhaps most prevalent in electronics.
Generally, dealers of OEM products add something of value before reselling the merchandise. An OEM vendor that does this is known as a \"value added reseller\" (VAR). A VAR might build components, sub-systems, or systems from quality OEM parts. OEM goods allow VARs a wide range of creative marketing choices, which permits smaller dealers to be competitive in the marketplace.
OEM software will have different product numbers than retail packages, and support may be provided by the VAR, rather than the maker of the software. Functionally, OEM and retail versions of software should be essentially the same.
Two kinds of OEM Product Keys:
OEM SLP Keys:
* OEM SLP (System-Locked Pre-installation) keys are only issued to the big manufacturers such as Dell, Asus, Sony, etc.
* These are the only keys that are able to bypass activation that is, perform offline activation without contacting Microsoft.
* They will work with any OEM SLP system, regardless of the OEM system's brand i.e. Product Keys are not brand specific.
OEM NONSLP Keys:
* Similar to Retail, but distributed and supported by an OEM. Needs activation by phone or online and they are not brand specific. .
OEM COA Keys:
* OEM COA keys (Certificate of Authentication) are regular OEM keys that require activation, either by phone or online and they are not brand specific.
(you will find the sticker with the key underneath you Laptop or on the side of you PC)
* These keys will work in general same as Retail or Upgrade keys and can be used only once.
OEM SLP Product Keys activation:
* You need is an OEM SLP Product Key that matches the version of Windows Vista you have installed or are going to install.
(Home Basic, Home Premium, Business or Ultimate), plus the OEM certificate matching the SLIC table
* The OEM SLP Product Key does not have to match the OEM-brand certificate nor the OEM-brand BIOS ACPI_SLIC information.
(The only ones that need to match are the OEM-brand certificate and the OEM-brand BIOS ACPI_SLIC information.)
* SLP activation doesn't work with Vista Release Candidates or Vista Beta versions. Only the final version (RTM, Retail or OEM).
i.e.: A+B+C = Vista Activated Offline
OEM SLP Key + OEM Certificate + Full SLIC Table = Vista Activated Offline
If one (A,B or C) is missing, activation will fail!
Note: (the SLIC table can be emulated)
Why so many different keys for the same edition of Windows Vista?
I believe it's mainly because different keys are issued to the same brand in different countries.
Also, like Volume Licensing, I believe Microsoft imposes a limit to the number of systems that can be shipped with the same license or OEM SLP key.
When the limit is reached, the Royalty OEM will buy a new license and a new key is then issued .
What is SLP 2.0?
This mechanism referred as 'SLP 2.0' ('system-locked pre-installation 2.0') consists in THREE (3) elements:
1. The OEM's hardware-embedded BIOS ACPI_SLIC information signed by Microsoft
Toshiba = “TOSQCITOSQCI00?
HEX: 54 4F 53 51 43 49 54 4F 53 51 43 49 30 30
2. A certificate issued by Microsoft that corresponds to the specific ACPI_SLIC information.
Something like 'oemname.xrm-ms'.
3. A special type of product key that corresponds to the installed edition of Windows Vista.
Is the OEM SLP license mechanism a crack?
There is no cracking here; the OEM SLP license mechanism was created by MS and is completely legitimate.
Where do these keys come from?
These keys were retrieved from OEM SLP systems that are being sold by the big OEM vendors.
Do I need to activate my Vista online when I use a OEM Product Key?
Yes, if you use an OEM COA Product Key or any other Retail or Upgrade Product Key
No, if you use an OEM SLP Product Key
Is MS going to black list the OEM SLP Product Keys?
No, these keys have been used by the big brands for thousand of computer with legally preinstalled Vista. If they black list those keys all these legal costumers would be affected too.
Why big manufactures can use OEM SLP Product Keys?
Large OEMs tend to ship large numbers of PCs with Windows preinstalled. The keep the process of installing the OS cost effective Microsoft has decided that these companies will be allowed to use the some key to preinstall Vista on their units.
Also, because of the direct relationship Microsoft has with those OEMS, the company has a higher degree of confidence that a genuine COA will be attached to each PC and that there will be accurate reporting of the number of units shipped preinstalled with Microsoft Windows.
I tried those Vista Ultimate keys here but getting an error saying something like to call Microsoft for activation?
Well, OEM SLP Key and/or OEM Certificate and/or Full SLIC Table is missing. Or the installed key is not matching your Vista Edition.
How to change the product key?
Launch command prompt window with elevated privileges (Admin mode)