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Can I transfer a Windows 7 license to another computer?

I purchased a license and used Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit OS for a while. But recently I bought a 64 bit version to take advantage of the larger RAM the machine had and hence reinstalled the OS and activated a new license for the 64-bit version. Now, I am in a need to install the 32 bit version on another machine. How do I go about reactivating a license on another machine? (again the license currently is not used) Am I going to have issues with Microsoft not letting me reactivate that license on a different machine? Thank you.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com May 12 '10 at 14:15

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marked as duplicate by BloodPhilia, random Mar 25 '11 at 13:31

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3 Answers 3

It depends on the version (of Windows 7 Home premium) you bought. If you purchased an OEM version (which should only be purchased with a computer), it is only valid for that one computer and the licence does not allow you to move it from one machine to another.

If you purchased a retail edition eg a normal boxed version from a shop, the licence states that you can use it on one computer at a time.

So, provided that it is a retail version you want to move, it sounds like you are not going to act against the terms of the licence.

As to whether or not you have trouble activating the licence, that is a different question. Both retail and OEM versions will activate on more than one machine, but there are limits on how often each will activate before Microsoft's servers get the hump with you.

If you do end up talking to a Microsoft employee, if you tell him or her that an OEM version is going on the same machine they will let you activate it. If it is a retail version Microsoft will just want to check that you are only installing it on one machine.

Edit: Looking at (well, quickly scanning through) the licences from Microsoft, it seems that the OEM licence, not longer states that it cannot be transferred from one computer that you own to another that you own. You are not allowed to have it on more than one computer and you cannot transfer your rights except for with the machine it relates to. Maybe I missed something...

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I would suspect that the the OP has got an OEM copy onf Win7 as the retail version has both the 32-bit and 64-bit dvds in the box and you can install either on a new machine. The licence page you linked, when you effectively say it's an OEM with the "installed by manufacturer option", gives a PDF for says "The software license is permanently assigned to the computer with which the software is distributed. That computer is the “licensed computer.”" Only full retail copies, not OEM, can be transferred going by what is written on those licence pages. –  Mokubai May 12 '10 at 15:46

Strictly speaking, I believe the license is not transferable. But I have not had any problems moving Windows to a different machine. The tech on the phone will ask you several times "is this only installed on one machine," but eventually will give you the activation code.

Why not just try it?

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It will activate on a bunch of computers without a problem. The problem is the 'legality' of this. Basically it would be legal. But who read ALL the copyright/EULA/etc? :P –  Shiki May 12 '10 at 15:52

Microsoft licenses a single copy of Windows to a single machine, and has checks on installation to enforce that. It's not transferable. But there's no harm in trying, and I think the install checks might allow a little leeway. Either that or you can plead your case to their support center.

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Hmm a friend of mine (seriously :)) uses one key on all the PCs at home. Since he have no money for buying all of them, he uses this method. (Yeah I know "its cheap" but think about countries where people cant pay all of it.) –  Shiki May 12 '10 at 14:18