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So that's the serial number of my pre-installed windows copy, I take it. But am I allowed to use it again when, say, I don't know, my system gets crippled by a sneaky virus?

If I format my computer and install windows starter again from a USB drive (speculating. I've never format before, I suppose is completely possible) Is that serial number still valid?

I'm talking about the number printed on the back of my laptop.

I have an Acer Aspire One model D255.

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Edit your post to include the Make and Model of the notebook. – Moab Feb 9 '11 at 0:19
    
@Moab, not necessary. The same Windows licensing rules apply across the board. – nhinkle Feb 9 '11 at 9:18
    
@ nhinkle, I asked for another reason. – Moab Feb 9 '11 at 16:31
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes, that license will still be valid for use on the laptop it was sold on in the case of a clean install.

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That is so sweet. But, I don't have my windows copy anywhere, it didn't came with a disk. Is there a place where I can download it legally? – overmann Feb 8 '11 at 22:11
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Your laptop manufacturer may have installed some software that lets you create a set of 'recovery discs'. – Linker3000 Feb 8 '11 at 22:14
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Not really, no. Certainly there isn't anywhere that it is offered by Microsoft. If your laptop didn't come with a disk, it is likely that there is a "restore partition" that you can access by choosing the boot device in the BIOS which will allow you reinstall/repair the OS. – TZHX Feb 8 '11 at 22:16
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It should be clarified that those OEM keys WILL NOT WORK WITH RETAIL COPIES OF WINDOWS. You cannot just grab a copy off the shelf and expect it to work; you need to follow @Linker3000's advice and make the manufacturer recovery disks. (Note that those are normally BIOS key'd and won't even require you to enter the license key.) – Shinrai Feb 8 '11 at 22:29
    
Thank you, great comments, everybody. – overmann Feb 8 '11 at 22:56

Yes you can use it to reinstall Windows again on that laptop if you need to.

One tip though - keep a note of the licence code somewhere safe (or take a picture of it) because I have seen many laptops (like mine!) where the licence sticker has become so damaged/scuffed by the way the laptop is used/handled that the key is unreadable.

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I'll keep that in mind. Thanks a bunch! Point for you, also. – overmann Feb 8 '11 at 22:14
    
+1 for "Take a picture of the license key". When we ship PCs, we ship a photocopy of it for just that reason. – Shinrai Feb 9 '11 at 0:12

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