Do you want to buy Windows 10 for your home or work computer(s)? The campaign for free upgrades from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is no longer available, and the only way to get Windows 10 “for free” is to get it preinstalled on a new computer. Otherwise, you have to buy a Windows 10 license separately. Then you might ask yourself: Which Windows 10 edition should I buy, and from where? Is it a good idea to buy it from Amazon, or should you choose the Microsoft Store instead? To help you out, we made this comparison. See how much Windows 10 costs, and which Windows 10 you should get:
If you compare the Microsoft Store with Amazon and look at their prices for Windows 10 licenses, you see that Microsoft has the highest prices. We made the comparison below on December 15th, 2020.
As you can see, you can save money if you choose to buy Windows 10 from Amazon instead of Microsoft.
To help you buy the Windows 10 edition you want, here are the direct links from Amazon:
- Microsoft Windows 10 Home, download – you get an electronic license for 129.99 USD – an excellent price.
- Windows 10 Home USB – you get a USB memory stick with the Windows 10 setup, for 119 USD, on Amazon.
- Windows 10 Home 64 bit – OEM – DVD – the OEM version tends to be the cheapest. You can find it for only 99 USD. However, there’s a significant limitation you should be aware of: this license is for installing it on a new PC, and it cannot be transferred to another PC after you first install and activate Windows 10. This is a good option if you plan to install Windows 10 Home and use it on the same PC for many years to come.
If you prefer Windows 10 Pro, Amazon has a couple of interesting options:
- Microsoft Windows 10 Pro, download – this electronic license costs 180.99 USD on Amazon.
- Win 10 Professional 64 bit OEM – DVD – 119.99 USD is an excellent price for Windows 10 Pro. However, this version is made for use on only one PC and cannot be transferred to another. This is a good idea only if you plan to use Windows 10 Pro for many years to come, on the same computer.
What is the difference between the download, USB flash drive, and the OEM or GGK version of Windows 10?
When you buy the download version of Windows 10, you receive an electronic product key for Windows 10. Then, you download an ISO file with the Windows 10 setup, and you use that product key for installing the operating system. Read this guide to learn how to download an ISO with Windows 10 and create a bootable drive with its setup: How to get and use Media Creation Tool to create Windows 10 installation media (USB stick or ISO).
When you buy the OEM DVD, you receive a disc with the Windows 10 setup and the activation key for OEM systems. This acronym means Original Equipment Manufacturer, and it refers to companies that manufacture computers. An OEM license can be used only on the PC where you install Windows 10. It is not transferable to another computer or another user. Other types of licenses can be moved from an old computer to a new one, as long as the old computer is no longer used after the license is transferred. If you bought an OEM DVD, read our guide on installing Windows 10: How to install Windows 10 from DVD, USB, or ISO file.
The USB or Retail version of Windows 10 is available as a physical USB flash drive shipped to you. The USB drive also comes with an activation key for you to use during installation. In some shops, you may find GGK (Get Genuine Kit) licenses for Windows 10. These are a good choice when Windows 10 has detected that you are using a pirated version of it, and it forces you to buy an original product key so that you can legally use the operating system.
For home users, Windows 10 Home is the best option. However, depending on the offers available in stores, you may find Windows 10 Pro at a relatively close price. If you stumble upon such an offer, it is a good idea to choose Windows 10 Pro instead. This version has a few extra features like BitLocker encryption, the possibility to use Hyper-V virtual machines, Windows Sandbox, and others. If you need a comparison between Windows 10 Home and Pro, see this useful table from Wikipedia.
Before you buy Windows 10, pay attention. You may find licenses at low prices. However, that doesn’t mean that they are original or that they are legal product keys. See what other people comment about those licenses and the companies selling them. Very small prices can be sign of a scam. Some readers told us how they bought a Windows 10 Home license for just 25 dollars, only to find that they received a USB stick with the Windows 10 recovery tools, which you can create on your own, for free: How to create a USB recovery flash drive for Windows 10.
Some of these cheap product keys are sold through means that take advantage of legal loopholes and unofficial channels which don’t have Microsoft’s backing. They might work well, at least for a time, but they can end up being blacklisted by Microsoft because they were sold through unofficial channels, without fully respecting their licensing conditions. If you buy a very cheap Windows 10 product key, there is a chance for it to work for a time. However, when it gets blacklisted, you can’t ask for a refund, and Microsoft won’t help you get another product key because you didn’t buy it using the official channels.
There are many ways to buy Windows 10, many editions and versions available, at different prices. I hope that this guide was useful to you in deciding which Windows to buy (Home or Pro) and that you are satisfied with the choice you made. Before closing this article, tell us which Windows 10 you bought, how much it cost, and where you found it. If you do purchase Windows 10 using the Amazon links we shared, we receive a small commission from your purchase, which will help fund some of the work we do at Digital Citizen. A big THANK YOU to all those willing to support our work.