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Windows 7 Licensing


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#1 sikntired

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 07:50 AM

Didn't know if this was the appropriate sub-forum.....apologies if not.

 

With all the new ransomware hitting users, I was curious as to if there were any limits on how many times MS would allow activation of software?  (Those refusing to pay and opt to clean install?)

 

Here's the scenario for example: In 2009 purchased a Dell computer with Windows 7 Home Premium installed. There were a number of items included in the sale, the most pertinent being: An OS disc, drivers and utilities disc, drivers and documentation disc and a disc to install Microsoft's Works 9.

 

I've searched MS licensing, however did not come up with anything definitive.



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 08:04 AM

Avoid the issue by backing up your activation files using Advanced Tokens Manager. Unzip the file to a folder on the desktop. Start the program and click the Activation Backup button. When the button changes to Activation Restore the activation has been backed up. Make a note of the key it finds. Use this key for reinstalling the OS. Copy the folder you unzipped to a flash drive. 

 

After reinstalling the OS using the key from ATM, copy the folder to the desktop. Press the Activation Restore button. Doing this you avoid contacting Microsoft for reactivation.

 

http://joshcellsoftwares.com/products/advancedtokensmanager/



#3 smax013

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 08:08 AM

Didn't know if this was the appropriate sub-forum.....apologies if not.
 
With all the new ransomware hitting users, I was curious as to if there were any limits on how many times MS would allow activation of software?  (Those refusing to pay and opt to clean install?)
 
Here's the scenario for example: In 2009 purchased a Dell computer with Windows 7 Home Premium installed. There were a number of items included in the sale, the most pertinent being: An OS disc, drivers and utilities disc, drivers and documentation disc and a disc to install Microsoft's Works 9.
 
I've searched MS licensing, however did not come up with anything definitive.


Nominally, it should be unlimited as long as you are installing per the licensing terms associated with the type of Windows license you have.

If it is an OEM license that came with a manufactured computer (i.e. if the Windows 7 license came with the Dell), then it will be unlimited. And there is a good chance you may not even need to activate it, but I have not used a Dell that came with a Windows license in LONG time, so Microsoft may have "increased" the demands. From what I recall, my last Dell that came with Windows XP did not require activation even though Windows XP did have an activation system. That was because the Windows XP that shipped with that Dell was an OEM license that was effectively "tied" to that computer. You could not install Windows that came with computer on another computer that was not a Dell as the system would crash. I don't know if Dell can still take that approach with the newer activation systems (activation for Windows 7 is more sophisticated than what was with XP).

For a retail license, again it is technically unlimited I believe. And with a retail license, you can move that Windows license from computer to computer. The main issue might be if you try to do it rapidly, then the activation system might not be able to keep up and those not allow you to use the Internet activation. If so, then you can call in to activate it. Of course, you cannot install it on more than one computer at a time, so if you do try, I believe the activation system is smart enough now to detect that and not activate on the additional computer.

If it is a OEM system builder license (i.e. you bought an OEM license for a built computer or had someone build you a custom computer), then that license is tied to that one computer. You should be able to still do a Windows reinstall as many times as you need on that one computer, but again if done in rapid succession, then the Internet activation system may freak out, but again you can call in to activate. If you try to install it on another computer or change enough of the hardware, then activation will fail.

#4 sikntired

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 11:17 AM

 Thanks John for the info and the link. Definitely an avenue to utilize as an option.
 
smax013, you answered the questions regarding limits and others I had in mind concerning 'from computer to computer'. I realized if the motherboard was replaced the license tied to that particular computer may be deemed void.


Edited by hamluis, 16 May 2017 - 12:26 PM.
Removed unnecessary quoteboxes, merged posts - Hamluis.


#5 BeigeBochs

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 09:34 PM

The Windows installed on an OEM's computer such as a Dell contains special information and a special product key which pre-activates it for all computers of that brand.  This information and key is also contained in the OEM's Windows install disc which comes with the computer which allows for Windows to be installed from scratch from that disc without entering a product key and without requiring activation online or by phone.

 

But if the motherboard dies and your replacement motherboard doesn't match the brand of the computer, the special information in the Windows installation and install disc will be invalid and will require you to enter a new product key and perform product activation.  Each brand-name computer has a certificate of authenticity sticker attached to it somewhere which contains a unique, unused Windows product key which differs from the special product key for the OEM.  You can enter this key when changing to a different brand motherboard.  This will link that product key to that brand and model of motherboard and allow you to perform activation on it.  If that motherboard dies, however, then you may need to acquire yet another product key; unless, I believe, you replace that dead motherboard with the same brand and model.  Then the activation should remain valid.



#6 smax013

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 01:36 AM

I realized if the motherboard was replaced the license tied to that particular computer may be deemed void.


Again, it will depend on the type of Windows license.

For a so-called "retail" license, it would not be. Retail licenses can be moved from computer to computer or have new motherboards whether the same brand and/or model or not. You will have to activate Windows again, but it should have no problem as long as you are not trying to install it on more than one computer. And if you do, it can typically be resolved by calling in to the Microsoft activation phone line.

It is OEM system builder licenses that will have issues with new motherboards that are not at least a brand and model match. As I kind of implied, it becomes how much does the computer change. Changing a hard drive or upgrading RAM or upgrading/replacing the PSU or GPU should not cause issues. It is most often that you run into problems if you change motherboards to another model, but can also happen if you change CPUs, I believe (although I have to believe there is some wiggle room since many motherboards can accept upgraded processors).

OEM licenses for manufactured computers and their motherboards will be similar. As noted by [members=BeigeBochs], many Windows licenses with manufactured computers are effectively "hardwire tied" to the computer setup such that activation is effectively not needed. When this happens, a new motherboard of the same model can be swapped in (i.e. to replace a defective one) and no new activation is needed.

#7 sikntired

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:41 AM

@BeigeBochs & smax013,

 

My thanks for providing in-depth and pertinent answers to my query. It appears I was misinformed with regards to motherboards.

 

I purchased this setup in 2009, however it still performs adequately for my needs. Will migrate to Linux Mint when MS ends support.






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