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I have a Win 7 Home Premium retail installer which I installed on my desktop. But my desktop crashed 2 days ago (mobo problems) and I want to install Win 7 on my laptop.

I understand that my Win 7 can only be installed in one PC at any given time so that it can be activated. I have read this post and it said there is no standard way of deactivating the installation but I am just required to format the old drive.

But I want to install Win 7 on my laptop first, then hook up my old drive to retrieve my files before I format it.

Will I be able to install Win 7 on my laptop and have it activated?

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YES. Retail copies are fully transferrable licenses. Microsoft should give you no problem with activation but frankly, you probably won't have to call them. And even if you do, from everything I've heard from other consultants on forums and that I know, it's exceedingly RARE that they refuse to activate and they have no legal ground (based on their own license agreement) to deny you activation on the laptop provided what you said is true.

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I had to call for MS support but all went well. Now I have my Win7 activated on my laptop (and erased from my desktop PC hard disk). –  Eric Mar 14 '12 at 0:08

Probably not, but it depends. Some licenses allow for two parallel installations - that's the case with Windows 7 distributed by my university. You get two for 64bit Windows and two for 32bit!

Back on topic: You can use unregistered Windows 7 for 30 days before it starts to act up. So yes, you can try to retrieve your files and you don't need to activate your Windows.

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From what is in the EULA... No.

In reality... It depends on the Microsoft Windows activation department guy you get on the phone. In many cases I've seen where they willingly activate it under those circumstances... and you're fine. (As long as this is indeed a RETAIL copy, and not an OEM copy of Windows.) OEM copies that come pre-installed on a computer (from Dell/HP/etc...) are not permitted to be installed on any computer other than the original. It's my experience that Microsoft isn't trying to gouge their customers... but rather... get you to pay for what you are using at least once... rather than join the huge number of people who steal it outright.

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-1 - Retail licenses are transferrable. –  Multiverse IT Jan 27 '12 at 14:45

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