Installing Windows 7 System Builder vs. Regular Retail Version:So you want to upgrade your PC operating system and you're wondering what the heck is the "system builder" version. I recently built a mid tower desktop computer system and was wondering the same thing when it came to installing my new operating system. I had XP Pro on the previous system, and I wanted to keep the old hard drive, but have a new OS installed on a new SSD boot drive. After reading all of the horror stories about wiping your drive to install Windows 7, I opted to just add the SSD, and keep all of my old files on the old hard drive. I did my research about the system builder version of Windows 7 and was still hesitant about my abilities to install it without having issues that I couldn't resolve on my own. It turns out that the system builder version is made for system builders that install operating systems on the computers that they build for resale. You can find Windows 7 System Builder on Amazon at a greatly reduced price from the regular retail version. The catch is two fold. First is that you do not have any technical assistance available with this product like you would if you installed the retail version. Secondly, once installed, it is permanently linked to the motherboard on that computer. So you will not be able to reinstall the software on another system if it crashes...etc without a whole lot of aggravation.
My thinking was...I've installed full operating systems and upgraded OSs before so how hard could it be. It had been a while, but I didn't remember having any major issues when I did. Plus for the cost savings on the SB version I could buy two for the price of one retail version. If I ever had to replace the motherboard or move the hardware to a new system I would come out even anyway so it's worth a shot! I ordered the OS and it arrived in the mail a few days later for the install. It was a straight forward install just like I thought it would be. It was exactly the same steps as installing the retail version. Registration was smooth and I was up and running in an hour or two. Make sure you buy the correct OS version (32 or 64 bit) depending on your hardware setup. I don't consider myself a pro builder by any means. I'm more of a do it yourself-er. So if you have a decent amount of computer knowledge, you shouldn't have any issues installing the system builder version. Good luck and if you have any questions, feel free to ask here.