Should I clean install Windows 10 OEM Activated or not?

Discussion in 'Windows 10 Upgrade and Installation' started by Rishi Joshi, Sep 18, 2015.

  1. Rishi Joshi

    Rishi Joshi New Member

    Sep 18, 2015
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    I am considering to clean install windows 10 oem activated. But I was wondering if my hardware will be compatible or not, because I have heard that an oem os is locked to the computer's hardware. Now considering that I successfully installed oem on my machine, will I be able to upgrade or clean install another windows os in future? Please do outline some disadvantages of installing oem also. Thanks in advance.
    Rishi Joshi.

    BIGBEARJEDI Fantastic Member
    Premium Supporter

    Jan 28, 2013
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    Hi Rishi,

    The best way to get that answer is to download and run the WinX Upgrade Assistant from This checks both hardware, drivers, and application programs for compatibility at the WHQL level and generates a report for you onscreen.

    As far as installing a new OS such as Win11 or Linux goes, no one I've heard of with an OEM install (RTM) has yet tried this so we really don't know for sure. We can add this to the list of "need to test" for Win10 we already have; I already have several in the works, but no resources at the moment which includes buying an OEM license for 8.1 & 10 both. >$200. What I would suggest is to use Linux DBAN or ISOLinux PartitionEditor to format your Win10 hard drive and attempt to reinstall another OS on top of it to see the result.

    Since you are the first person to suggest this, you might consider running the test yourself and then reposting the result here to share with everyone!

    P.S. You might also consider posting this request on other Tech Forums as well as Community Forum, Insider Testing Forum, etc.

    Best of luck,
  3. kemical

    kemical Windows Forum Admin
    Staff Member Premium Supporter Microsoft MVP

    Aug 28, 2007
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    basically an oem licence is tied to the life of the machine.
    If at some point in the future you decide to buy a copy of a new os then yes of course you can either upgrade (if thats possible/compatible) or wipe the drive and clean install. OEM simply means that you can only install windows on the one machine.
    I feel I should mention that microsoft have said that windows 10 is the last big release and from now on it will only be updates.

    If you wanted to install your version of windows on different machines then you need a retail key although the os can only be on one machine at any one time.

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