W9x/2000/ME MSDN vs OEM vs RETAIL ?

edited December 2020 in Software
What are the difference between these?

I know OEM (usually) doesn't need a boot disk.

Do all three versions need keys?

What's special about MSDN version (is it a full MSDN release OR a limited/timed version)?

PS: Which are recommended for virtual machines?


  • Once you get them installed, all versions will work identically.

    MSDN releases usually lack CD-ROM extras. They are sort of like sloppy "warez" versions, but distributed by Microsoft. :P

    I forget if all MSDN versions required a key, but there were some 9x/ME releases that did not require one. It is easy to modify 9x/ME for that anyway.
  • edited December 2020
    I just prefer unmodified originals for archiving, and if I ever need to boot them, I prefer ones that give the least headaches (like inputting keys, activations, bootdisks, and so on).

    I presumed MSDN versions are something like new VL versions or something, and I saw a comment somewhere that MSDN versions are actually "time trials".
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