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  1. #1
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    Buy new Windows licence if reinstalling to new/different computer?

    Hi everyone

    My 2 year-old Packard Bell iXtreme X5620 UK (M3720) computer died last week. It was a replacement, by insurance, and supplied by PC World and came bundled with Windows 7 already installed.

    I now do all my own repairs (and don't bother with insurance any longer) and am currently eliminating the cause of it dying. It looks lke the mobo went down (MCP73PVT-PM).

    In my research on the internet I read somewhere that if you replace the motherboard (or, in my case, I might even use an old standard-size cabinet I have, rather than the squashed Micro-ATX size) then you have to get a new Windows licence as they don't recognize bundled Windows systems!

    I don't see how that can be fair trade (if it's true) when I paid for the system (or the insurance did in this case, in the total price) and I have everything on the HDD ready to go into my newly-built up computer - when it's completed.

    Can anyone put me straight on this please, as I would hate to spend a lot more time than I have already, and money, only to find I can't use the Windows OS that I already have, when I try to fire it up?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    The license you originally purchased with the PC was an OEM license rather than a retail license. Generally with Win 7 an OEM reseller buys a number of licenses, then installs these licenses using the same OEM key on as many PCs as they have licenses for. Thus, OEM licenses are computer specific. They can only be used on the PC they came pre-installed on. The EULA is very specific for this.

    Retail versions (which come with both 32 Bit and 64 Bit versions although only one or the other can be installed) can be moved to another PC assuming it has been removed from the original PC. Only one copy of one version can be activated at a time.

    That said, you can always call MS and explain the situation. Perhaps they will relax the rules for you. They have been known to be very flexible in these situations.
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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Myers View Post
    The license you originally purchased with the PC was an OEM license rather than a retail license. Generally with Win 7 an OEM reseller buys a number of licenses, then installs these licenses using the same OEM key on as many PCs as they have licenses for. Thus, OEM licenses are computer specific. They can only be used on the PC they came pre-installed on. The EULA is very specific for this.

    Retail versions (which come with both 32 Bit and 64 Bit versions although only one or the other can be installed) can be moved to another PC assuming it has been removed from the original PC. Only one copy of one version can be activated at a time.

    That said, you can always call MS and explain the situation. Perhaps they will relax the rules for you. They have been known to be very flexible in these situations.
    Thanks very much, Ted, for that clear explanation. I suppose it does (kinda) make sense. My next question is how would they know I was using a computer with just a different motherboard?

    Within the first year the Packard Bell primary HDD went down and, not being quite as savvy as I am now (I like to think), I re-installed the OS (on to a new HDD) from a set of CDs which I, MYSELF, had burned when the computer was new (which Packard Bell advised doing - they obviously knew it was made from cr*p parts, lol). What I'm wondering is why didn't that operation trigger MS to question the licence?

    Can they tell if one replaces, say, a capacitor on a mobo, a hard drive, or whatever else? Or the motherboard itself?

    I know it's quite frghtening the amount of data transmitted whenever the internet is used, but I would like to know how they can tell if just a MB has been replaced?

    Thanks again.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I do not know the exact specifics on how they know what PC the OEM license has been activated on. I suspect during the activation process, some specific PC specs are transmitted along with the activation request.

    Basically OEM licenses are the most pirated of all the various OS licenses. This is one reason why MS will require OEM resellers to request different keys for each license in Win 8 when released. There was a thread about this in the Win 8 Forum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Myers View Post
    I do not know the exact specifics on how they know what PC the OEM license has been activated on. I suspect during the activation process, some specific PC specs are transmitted along with the activation request.

    Basically OEM licenses are the most pirated of all the various OS licenses. This is one reason why MS will require OEM resellers to request different keys for each license in Win 8 when released. There was a thread about this in the Win 8 Forum.
    Thanks again Ted. That, I thnk, begs the question: WOULD they know that I was using a different motherboard?

    In my own mind, I would be doing nothing morally wrong - I paid for the original supply of the computer (including the OS); that computer died, so the OS that was being used in it has simply been transferred to another computer - used by the same owner, using the same internet, router, even the same hard drive, etc etc.

    But I'm more than sure that these huge corporations have the best legal brains plugging anything that looks like a loop-hole. But it might be worth trying to do what I'm attempting, and see what happens - maybe, lol. Fortunately I have this much older (XP) computer I'm using while my main one is down.

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    There seems to be a relevant price difference between an OEM OS license and a retail one. The price advantage of the OEM license is offered with it tied to the specific hardware where it was installed. So whoever buys a computer with an OEM OS license is benefiting from that.

    I am not questioning your reasoning, just stating why there are differences relative to OEM licenses. This said, you can always try and install the OS. If it does not activate, you can call Microsoft (you will be offered a number to do so) and can explain the situation. If the person who takes the call thinks they can activate your installation, they will. If not, you can buy another license and use the key with your existing, non activated installation and it should activate then.

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    I'd be surprised if you were able to successfully activate with the OEM lisence on a replacement board.
    If the board was replaced by the maker under warranty that might be a different story though.

    This would not be an issue with a genuine copy of the OS.

    I just think it's far less hassle to factor in the cost of getting your operating sytem from the "horses mouth" than it is to deal with an OEM
    installation and their funky lisences & backup regimens. This is especially true if your the type that doesn't have an issue with replacing parts
    or doing your own build.

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    Ian, greets. I will attach a .doc to help you understand the extend of the question on WPA ( Windows Product Activation ). It relates to XP but it also applies to W-7. The jest of it is that when installing Windows, the installer looks at your machine and notes the hardware in a hidden folder. When booting, every time, it looks for this file and compares what is in it to what the machines sports. You are allowed 10 "votes", your MoBo is 6, I believe. So, if this is the only change you are a GO ! I have done this, MoBo change along with a new 10/100 card but this took me over the 10 votes. I called MS and got activated over the phone, this is your next option.

    Your obedient servant, Jean.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by handcuff36; 2012-08-10 at 17:27. Reason: added .doc

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  14. #9
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Very useful info JP, and it does say that OEM license is tied to the Bios of the MoBO. If the replacement MoBo is supplied by the same supplier so that the Bios lock is maintained, then all is well. If not you might be out of luck. It's worth trying the phone call.

    I was able to open your doc just fine.
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    Hello, Ted. As you might know, I am out in the boonies, with Ethernet too, but I can not contribute as much as when I am home. Maybe you appreciate this !

    You wrote : I was able to open your doc just fine.

    I clicked it after finishing the post and I could not. This explains why I added the whole text to the post after an edit. I fancy that only the MoBO serial number is checked and if this one itme alone is changed, the WPA is accepted. Read the part about the votes and their value. Not on single item will trigger a reject. The NIC card is the biggest one, I seem to recall. I found out that MS is quite liberate in revalidating its OS. I asked for a french techie when I called them once and he was so glad to get rid of me as his french was not really fluent, that it took the best part of only one minute to get reactivated. Tee ! hee !

    I got a ? for you. Do you know if the keyboard to the Surf Ace is standard or will I have to purchase it seperate at an horrendous cost ?

    Thanks for the thankyou vote. Jean.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I believe the keyboard, which also serves as the cover, is included. Since they are not out, there is not a great deal of info yet.

    By the way, thank you for removing the entire doc. The attachment is working fine.
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  19. #12
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    Thanks for your comment, ruirib. What you say makes a lot of sense.

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    Clint, thanks for your comment. I agree that it probably would be better to have purchased a genuine OS in the first place - but for 2 or 3 things:

    1. I didn't realize the implications of buying a computer, originally, with an OEM installed (in fact I didn't even know there WAS a difference - and I wonder how many other people know?)

    2. I have, up until now, only bought computers (apart from this one I'm using now from eBay, with several customizations I did on it myself) from a well-known computer chain store here in the UK. And, as far as I recall, there was no option to buy without Windows already installed.

    3. I would have struggled to afford the cost of a 'genuine' Windows OS - as well as the computer!

  21. #14
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    handcuff36 (Jean), thank you so much for your kindness in finding, and attaching, the excellent documentation on how the MS WPA works. I never realized it could be so complicated - although I should have known!

    I shall do exactly as you did: press ahead with my repairs (whatever is needed, probably just a new mobo) and then, if necessary, give MS a call and hope they can tell I'm not trying to pull a fast one.

    Anyway, merci beaucoup mon ami!

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    Wpa.

    Ian, greets. You might know that Ian and Jean have the same root ? ? ?

    This text from Nichols I have kept as a .doc file for ever, it seems, it is definitely a keeper and it was my pleasure to have you get to know it too. The author passed away about a year after he wrote this. Being a MSMVP is not a cure, it seems.

    In my experience with OEM machines and homebrewed, there has been no reluctance in the MS revalidation process, they WANT you to use Windows.

    >>> I never realized it could be so complicated - although I should have known!

    If you read it over a few times, as the average bear, you ought to get the trend of it easily. I am no brain surgeon myself.

    >>> I shall do exactly as you did: press ahead with my repairs (whatever is needed, probably just a new mobo) and then, if necessary, give MS a call and hope they can tell I'm not trying to pull a fast one.

    I think that there is locale in the UK where this phone call will get you going. Here, there are two such locales. Easy to convince the techie that you are honest, he will ask you to read off a long number and this will tell him the origin of your machine. Then it is all downhill. Let us know how you fare.

    Mon plaisir, old chap !

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