4y ago or so I built my own PC and bought Win8 and installed it on it. I still have the DVD and box with the key, but I am not sure if I can reinstall the OS on the same machine without problems since OEM smells to me like some limited version of Win8.

Also if I can not do the reinstall is there any way to purge all the user data from the machine and return it to brand new state - this means all user content, all SW, all registry entries...

To be precise this is what says on the box: WINDOWS 8 PRO ENG INTL FOR OEM SOFTWARE

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    Microsoft change the way it licensed software with Windows 8. There are "Upgrade" keys which only give you rights to upgrade a previous compatible version of Windows to Windows 8. There are Retail keys which is what you purchase, while they still are refer to themselves as OEM, they actually have transfer rights. There are OEM keys which came with Windows 8 hardware, there is no physical representation of this key, its stored in the ACPI table on the motherboard of the device. Windows 8.1 got rid of the "Upgrade" keys. – Ramhound Jan 22 '17 at 17:45

OEM smells to me like some limited version of Win8.

It is not so. The word "OEM" applies to the licensing scheme of the copy of Windows you bought, not its edition. Your edition is "Pro", which is the highest edition for consumers.

Can I reinstall Win8 OEM licence on the same machine?

You can, assuming you know how to. There are special instructions coming with these variants of Windows.

But starting with Windows 8, you can "reset" or "refresh" your PC. These are automated forms of reinstalling that should eliminate your worries about licensing, user data, purging them, etc.


"I still have the DVD and box with the key" - that's really all you need. Retail versions can be transferred to new machines under certain conditions, OEM can't.

Your 'OEM' copy is probably a small system builder licence, which is meant for smaller shops building bespoke PCs and DIY builders. You can reinstall on the same hardware as many times as you want, and at worst you'd need to reactivate. This is in contrast to the volume OEM licences with system locked preinstall keys.

I'd prefer a fresh reinstall to a refresh or reset, mainly cause I'm oldschool and seen refreshes and resets fail - but both options should work on a healthy system.

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