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Changing Parts with Windows


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3 replies to this topic

#1 Chris_Pool

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 12:52 AM

I've been building PC's for a long time but this question has always bothered me.

I have my own CD's and CD keys but often times I'm upgrading another person's computer and he doesn't have his install CD's/key anymore or simply doesn't want to take the time to reinstall.


If you change too much stuff then Windows will think you're pirating it and will ask you to reactivate. I've done it before and I've un-genuine'd my copy of Windows.


What parts does it care most about? I'd assume the motherboard but what about things like ram and the processor that doesn't have a chipset/driver?


Thanks for your help.

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#2 Platypus

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 04:28 AM

Microsoft don't release the exact details of the hardware weighting algorithm, which varies between Windows versions. I understand Vista is less stringent than XP was.

This document:

download.microsoft.com/download/b/4/0/b405fe5f-e614-480b-8243-2bcdc04cbc0e/Product Activation for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.doc

gives a table of the relevant components for Vista, and some scenarios, eg:

"Scenario A:
Computer One has the full assortment of hardware components listed in Table 1 above. User swaps the CPU chip for an upgraded one, swaps the video adapter, adds a second hard drive for additional storage, doubles the amount of RAM, and swaps the CD ROM drive for a faster one.

Result: Reactivation is NOT required."

Note: the URL is deliberately supplied not as a hyperlink, as the link gets corrupted for some reason when posted.

Edited by Platypus, 01 July 2010 - 04:35 AM.

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#3 the_patriot11

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 02:30 AM

In my experience, it is the motherboard that sets if off more often then not. Ive never had any of the other components set it off in any copy of windows Ive ever had. Course, Ive never swapped out everything but the motherboard. Activation isnt an issue, one time I had an old Hp with xp, I did a lot of surfing and the registry corrupted pretty bad so I just reformatted the drive every 6 months, needed it or not. One time it decided it wouldnt activate, cuz it thought it was pirated, simple phone call to microsoft, he asked why I had to do it, I explained it was a cruddy operating system, and I still had the key, he reactivated it for me, and I havent had the issue since, with either that computer or my other XP system. Sometimes all it takes is that 2 minute phone call to fix any activation issues, but typically, with a OEM copy, microsoft defines one computer as the motherboard, you should be able to swap everything else out. If its a retail version (someone correct me here if Im wrong or got these 2 confused) then I think you can move it from computer to computer-as long as its only one one computer at a time.

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Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

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#4 Platypus

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 04:04 AM

If its a retail version (someone correct me here if Im wrong or got these 2 confused) then I think you can move it from computer to computer-as long as its only one one computer at a time.

You're right, the retail license can be transferred to a new computer if the installation is removed from the previous computer.
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