We are considering getting a Macbook Pro but are quite heavily tied to windows application so want to install Windows 7 on it.

Can you install the OEM version of Windows 7 on a Macbook Pro using boot camp or do you need a full licence?

I'm fairly sure there should be no difference, I've installed OEM version of Windows an quite a few machines before I was wondering if there was anything that would stop it working on a Macbook.

Also are there any limitations on which SKU of Windows 7 will run on a Macbook Pro (Home Premium, Ultimate, etc.)


The OEM version has only three differences compared to the retail versions:

1) Retail versions come with both 32-bit and 64-bit installations. OEM versions are one or the other, so you will want to make sure you're ordering the right version - for a new MBP, 64-bit unless you have a compelling reason to go with 32-bit.

2) OEM versions are tied to the hardware they are installed on and cannot be moved, ever. This MAY be an issue if you are planning on using virtualization software against your bootcamp installation, since the VM "hardware" looks different from the real hardware.

3) OEM versions do not come with telephone support from MS.

There is NO difference in the actual executable code, and so it would work just fine on an MBP. As for the SKUs, again, it would make no difference. The higher-end SKUs add additional features, not additional hardware support.

I do have a few questions for you. Which Windows application(s) are you tied to? What are the specs of the hardware you are ordering? Depending on your answers, it MAY make more sense to consider virtualization so that you can run that one or two Windows applications "on top" of MacOS and have access to both sets of applications at the same time.

  • It's going to be a Macbook Pro with the 2.2Ghz i7. The software we need to run is mostly bespoke scientific software it's fairly intensive so I'm not sure virtulization is going to cut it. Apr 29 '11 at 13:15
  • Virtualization doesn't have that much of an impact on purely computational load, and of course you've got a powerful processor in that processor. It's up to you of course but you may want to try a virtualized solution using a trial VM product and an unactivated copy of Windows 7. You can run in that configuration for 30 days to see if it works for you before committing to it.
    – David
    Apr 29 '11 at 14:13
  • Regarding number 2: you can move your OEM versions to another computer, you have to reauthorize it. It works. Apr 29 '11 at 14:54
  • @Martin Marconcini: That may be technologically possible, it's not valid according to Microsft: answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/…
    – tegbains
    May 1 '11 at 5:56
  • @Tegbains an OEM Windows copy is tied to some hardware pieces (like HDD serial among others). However, it's known that some of those components may fail and have to be replaced thus causing Windows to fail auth. What Microsoft thinks is valid or not is entirely useless in Europe, since the EULA is less valid than a 3 Dollar paper. If you wanted you could go to MS and request a refund for your "unused" Windows Copy. It's a gray area. All I'm saying is that technically you can authorize it again. (probably not a lot of times tho') May 1 '11 at 14:22

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