When i went to win 7 i bought the oem version. Its the same as the retail . What i have done is load it on, do the updates and make an image to another drive. I also make incremental backups. Truth be told i haven,t had to wipe my drive with Win 7 in over a year maybe more. It is super stable.Spending days finding a solution to a problem is really a thing of the past. I never went for vista as it was a real PITA much like Windows ME.