| By Fred Langa |
Microsoft treats unactivated copies of Windows as possibly pirated software, allowing only limited access to Windows Update and related online services.
But there’s an easy way to ensure that you won’t end up with a crippled copy of Windows after a reinstallation.
Reader ponders the mysteries of Win7 activation
Writing from the U.K., reader Bill Stronach wonders whether upgrading his system hardware will cause a reinstalled Windows to fail activation.
- “A question arises from your recent article regarding a shortcut method for reinstalling Windows 7 [the July 14 Top Story, "Win7's no-reformat, nondestructive reinstall"].
“I am aware that there is an unholy connection between hardware upgrading and Windows activation. Since acquiring my original, full-retail installation of Windows 7 Professional, I have upgraded my hard disk, removed an external sound device (connected to an onboard PCI card) in favour of the original integrated onboard sound, and added a high-performance graphics board.
“Is there a risk that these changes could cause my activation to fail if I perform a reinstallation using your procedure? If so, can anything be done to circumvent it?”
Over the years, I’ve activated hundreds of Windows installations, sometimes activating the same installation repeatedly. The automated, one-click activation process has almost always worked. I’ve had to fall back on manual activation perhaps only a dozen times, via the dialog box that Windows pops up if the automated activation fails.