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Get Vista Oem Working After Mobo/processor Upgrade?


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#1 David2282

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 04:49 PM

Okay, so almost a year ago now, I bought a Compaq from Wal-Mart for $400. Yes, I know buying a computer from wal mart is no good, and that compaqs are pretty crappy. But I did it, and that's what I'm working with.

The computer is a Compaq Presario product number: SR2163WM
it came with a P4 @ 2.99 Ghz, 512MB (PC-4200 I think) RAM, a 160GB HDD, and a DVD burner.
The motherboard is an ECS RC415ST-HM

The computer came preinstalled with Vista Basic. I later used an upgrade copy of Vista Ultimate to ugrade.

Now comes the fun part. I decided to build an HTPC to handle all my media, and as I have next to no money I figured my crappy compaq would be an excellent place to start. Long story short, my "Compaq" looks like this now:

new Antec NSK2400 media style case
new Core 2 Duo 4500 CPU
new ECS 945GCT-M motherboard
new 2 GB (2x 1GB) Corsair PC-5300 (667 Mhz) RAM
original 160 GB HDD
original DVD burner
new TV tuner card


So yeah, it's pretty much a completely different system, the only significant part from the old machine being the hard drive with the OEM windows installation.

Of course, when I attempt to boot, Windows won't load. Compaq's factory recovery discs refuse to load due to the hardware changes.

I want to use my windows vista basic oem licencse on the upgraded computer and if I use the old mobo/cpu/ram to build a new desktop system, I'll just install Linux.
I understand that technically, an OEM Windows is good for one mobo only. But I've heard rumors that you can get around that stipulation. Anyone know how?



Oh, and just in case someone wants to suggest that I simply install Linux and use MythTV on the new build, that's what I'm doing right now. But I quite simply prefer Windows Media Center, so that's what I want. MythTV is okay, but there are things I don't like about it so I want to use the Vista I paid too much money for to run my media center.

Edited by David2282, 15 January 2008 - 04:51 PM.


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#2 groovicus

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 05:52 PM

But I've heard rumors that you can get around that stipulation. Anyone know how?


Were there a way to get around that, we would not be discussing it here, since our guidelines forbid any discussions whose purpose is to defeat any security measures.

Compaq's factory recovery discs refuse to load due to the hardware changes

Of course. Compaq's disk is looking for a specific combination of hardware, which in turn is tied to a specific bulk license issued to Compaq. If that hardware is not there, then the installer quits.

By any chance do you have a copy of XP? You could upgrade to Vista from that. That is your only other option.

#3 David2282

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 12:07 AM

Sorry to bring up a taboo subject. I thought I might be crossing the line, but I figured since I haven't pirated any of this stuff and paid for it all myself it might be okay. Anyhoos, I don't have a copy of XP that is non-OEM, only recovery discs from older computers. I guess I'll have to pony up the cash if I want windows. I could buy an OEM XP and then use my Vista Ultimate to upgrade from that right? Of course, I'm very upset at OEM Windows right now, so I might just try to figure out MythTV better and stick with my Linux box.

It's really frustrating though, I paid for my computer that came with windows and I paid for my upgrade, I should get to use them as I please.. Oh, but that is a conversation for another forum...

If I do decide to pick up an OEM copy of XP... Will I have to pull crazy tech support acrobatics to get my upgrade to work since I've already installed it once before (even though it is currently not installed on any system)?
And, what is the cheapest piece of computer part I can purchase to qualify for OEM? I was on some blog the other day that implied that all you need to buy is a cable to qualify. Is this true? I'm going to be buying a graphics card but that won't be for another 3-6 months at least, and I'm impatient.
If I bought RAM a week ago and still have the receipt, do you think Micro Center will let me buy OEM XP?

#4 groovicus

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 01:59 PM

If I do decide to pick up an OEM copy of XP


That will work just fine. In fact, I am doing that on one of my systems right now.

Not that this will make you feel any better, but you bought a deeply discounted copy of Vista designed to run optimally on a specific set of hardware, and by deeply discounted, we're talking probably $20-30. My estimate is based on the cost of 100,000 licenses. I would assume that Compaq made more of that model, so the software probably cost less. If you look at it that way, you really only paid for the upgrade.

Just for argument sake, when I upgraded my system from ME to XP, all it asked was proof that I had a legitimate copy of another OS. All I had to do was pop in the cd, and the installer was happy. XP then proceeded to do a complete install. My copy of Vista states right on the front of the box that it may be necessary to do a clean install, so I wonder if the same situation will hold. That is all I am going to say about that.

#5 David2282

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 07:58 PM

As long as we're talking about OEM licenses, I've got a half theoretical half practical question.

OEM licenses are intended for system builders only. As I understand it, the most common way to prove you are a system builder is to buy significant hardware. But, it is the case that many people who buy enough hardware to build a system are actually considered end users as they are building a machine for themselves. Typical system builders would be little mom and pop computer shops ,and I suppose corporate giants like HP and Dell. Point being, you go to them for support, not MS.

Well, by that standard, shouldn't a legitimate system builder be allowed to buy copies of OEM windows regardless of whether they are buying hardware right that very second? I guess what I'm asking is, is it written into the license that you must buy certain hardware, or is it only written in that you must be a system builder, and it is up to the vendor to verify that you are indeed a system builder. Is building systems for other people and providing support to the end user enough to make you a system builder? Because by that definition I am a system builder, I just don't make any profit.

If my local computer store is confident enough in my status as a system builder to sell me an OEM copy of Windows, and in reality I have built computers and provided support for so far four people (including myself), am I following the rules of the license?

Another question about the whole Microsoft defining a motherboard as a new computer... If getting a new motherboard makes it a new system, shouldn't that mean that the old motherboard itself is the "old system," such that I can use any harddrive, any RAM, any processor, any optical drives, and any other component as long as it's the original motherboard and still get to use my oem license? Well, I know that is definately what it SHOULD be, but is that how it really is? When I build a different system out of the old motherboard, will I be able to run that copy of windows?

To be honest, I don't care whether or not I violate any MS license, I'm just a philosophical person and I have fun with this kind of pondering. And I want to know more about the OEM license restrictions so I don't make any more blunders. I mean, I guess if MS is going to discount a product they can call the shots as they see fit, but everyone knows its no security issue that microsoft is worried about here. It is a clear cut case of profiteering. I mean, $199 for OEM Vista Ultimate? For the same price you can get a 5-user license of Leopard, full version, non OEM, can install on as many computers as you like (only 5 at one time). A single-user license of Leapord is worth so much more than Vista any day, not to mention a 5 user license. You just have to be able to afford a mac, or know how to build a "Hackintosh." Seriously, now that Apple is converting more and more people, and Linux distros like Ubuntu finally starting to popularize the free software movement, I'm thinking MS is going to go down in a big way in the next 10 years. The only possible way I see them staying on top is by drastically reducing the cost of their operating systems (at least the home versions) and becoming a much more friendly company to their legitimate customers. Either that, or the American people stay as bitterly complacent as ever.

And all this just because I want Windows Media Center. I don't care at all about the rest of the operating system, I won't be using it.
Oh well, I'm just ranting now. Sorry to bug anyone.

Thanks for your help groovicus.

#6 usasma

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 07:08 AM

As I recall, the questions from the Microsoft Activation Center don't ask if you've change the motherboard, rather they ask if you've changed any major components. In general the only specific motherboard limitation is the "tattooing" of motherboards/OS restore disks by system manufacturers to ensure that their OEM license isn't used incorrectly.

I haven't purchased OEM Vista - but have many OEM copies of XP. Most of them came from major online retailers and some came with a small piece of hardware. I suppose the hardware inclusion was to satisfy the requirement that OEM software be used by system builders. So that begs the question - what are the qualifications for system builders? If you build one system (IMO) you are a system builder - but I don't know if Microsoft views it the same way. But the fact that major online retailers took to supplying a piece of hardware with OEM Windows indicates to me that their company views this as satisfying the Microsoft requirements.
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