You Must Know Before Buy Windows Software

Difference Between Microsoft Office / Windows RTM, Final, Retail, OEM & Original MSD

You might still be confused about the many versions of Microsoft Office / Windows that have the name Beta, RC (Release Candidate), RTM, Retail, OEM. Here I will explain a little about this.

Microsoft usually in the process of making Windows has several stages including:


This version is the earliest version of Windows OS. This version is still in the development stage and not for the public.


The beta version is the same version of the development stage as the Alpha version, except that this Beta version already has a more advanced stage and can be released to the public. Several years ago (Around 2012) Microsoft released several Beta versions of Windows products for Windows 8 like.

  • Developer Preview: This version is intended for developers (application developers / programmers). Usually this version is not recommended for the public even though it has been released on the official website.
  • Consumer Preview: This version is level above the DP version (Developer Preview), but the difference with the DP is that the Consumer Preview version can be enjoyed by the public as an experimental material. But this version hasn’t entered the Final version or there are still many bugs in its features.

Release Candidate

After that, Windows will enter the RC (Release Candidate) version. This version is actually the same as the Beta version but the level is higher. This Release Candidate version can be said to be just one or two more steps before the Final version.

RTM / Final / Original MSDN

After the development is complete, the final version is released in the form of RTM or Release To Manufacturing. The RTM version will be given directly to electronic companies that work with Microsoft, for example HP, ASUS, Lenovo, etc. The RTM version is also given to MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) users. Basically this RTM version has reached the Final version, only this RTM version will be divided into several parts depending on the license agreement including:

  • Retail: The Retail version is actually the same as RTM with the same Windows Build. Retail is intended for consumers directly in the form of DVD Box. The Retail version is still divided into 2 versions of the license agreement.
  • Full License or commonly called Full Packaged Product (FPP): This version is the most expensive Retail version. Users can use it without any usage restrictions. Users can also upgrade, reinstall or transfer licenses to another PC as long as they are not installed on 2 PCs simultaneously. This version is usually intended for consumers / home users.
  • Upgrade License: This version is the same as the FPP version, but with a cheaper price. Usually Microsoft offers this version for consumers who already have an original product key either FPP or OEM version in the previous OS, one example is an upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1.


OEM or Original Equipment Manufacturer is a Windows license agreement that is usually pre-installed or has been installed automatically into a PC / Laptop. The difference between this version and the Retail FPP version is that the OEM version cannot be installed on other devices and has been “tied” directly to the motherboard of the device (usually injected into the BIOS product key) so when reinstalling, usually the OEM version does not require serial number again. The next difference between Retail and OEM is that the OEM version is usually integrated directly with the device driver. With this OEM version we don’t have to bother looking for suitable drivers. The convenience of the OEM version is to have recovery that is compatible with devices that have an OEM version of Windows installed. So it’s like the user is “fixing” his own device because the company has provided it by default.

Volume License

The Volume Licensing version is arguably the wholesale version of Windows. This version is only intended for the small to top companies. This version is usually activated with MAK (Multiple Activation Key).
The conclusion is that the RTM version is arguably the “Golden Master” version of the Windows OS. Because with this RTM version, later it can be added various kinds of updates such as Service Pack, Tweak to make the OEM version and so on. Essentially all versions of Retail, OEM, VL are based on this RTM version.

Leave a Reply