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I've recently been able to get access to an MSDN version of Windows 7 Professional for development use through the MSDN connection at my college.

I am planning on installing this onto a test/development machine for my school, the question I have is this.

I remember reading somewhere that the System Builders version of Windows 7 would not reinstall if it's installed onto another computer and/or if your computer dies and you're forced to replace components (because Windows "detects" that too many components have changed since it's mostly meant for OEM use).

Does the MSDN version have this same problem? If my test/development machine were to ever get some sort of major hardware upgrade would I be in dead water or would I be able to reactivate Windows 7 again? If I decide that I don't want to use a particular development machine anymore and install it onto a different development machine, would I be able to activate without any problems (this is also provided I completely delete the installation from the first development machine to follow the license guidelines).

I just want to prepare for one of those "worst case scenario" moments in case my development machines get screwed up. Thanks!

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The MSDN versions do not have any activation requirements - you can install it an unlimited number of times for the explicit purpose of development.


If you read Windows Activation in Development and Test Environments you will see this (emphasis mine):

Windows licensing is predominantly device based. There are some exceptions; for example, MSDN subscriptions provide user based software licensing rights.

That is, one MSDN license enables one user to install and use the application on any number of machines. So to say you have to...

completely delete the installation from the first development machine to follow the license guidelines

...does not make sense. This is per-user, not per-machine.

I don't know where the 10 activations "soft limit" comes from, one of the benefits of MSDN is unlimited use of Microsoft applications for development, so organisations could use the one MSDN license on 10+ different hardware configurations if their testing process required it and one user managed those installations (if two users managed it then they would need two MSDN licenses).

And as Martheen points out below, you can simply call their customer service number and explain to them that you need more activations.

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I did a google search before I posted this question and read that there's a "soft limit" of 10 activations, is this true? – White Phoenix Jan 19 '11 at 8:03
You simply call the customer service for activation by phone, explain your reason, then you're good to go – Martheen Cahya Paulo Jan 19 '11 at 8:28

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