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In case i want to change the motherboard of my computer without formatting harddisk, Currently there is windows7 is installed, then Is it possible to retain the same licence earlier i had, or i will loss it.

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Is it a retail or OEM licence? – Bob Mar 16 '12 at 6:55
its OEM licence – Sumant Mar 16 '12 at 7:14

You can't do this with an OEM license (ie if Windows came with the computer when you bought it).

You can do it with a retail license (if you bought Windows separately).

Assuming you have an OEM license for Windows 7 that came with the computer, then you can replace the motherboard with the same model - but you can't upgrade it to a different one.


Generally, an end user can upgrade or replace all of the hardware components on a computer—except the motherboard—and still retain the license for the original Microsoft OEM operating system software. If the motherboard is upgraded or replaced for reasons other than a defect, then a new computer has been created.

If you have a retail license, you don't have this restriction.

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Yes. According to the Windows 7 EULA, a single license is valid for two processors:


  • a. One Copy per Computer. You may install one copy of the software on one computer. That computer is the “licensed computer.”

  • b. Licensed Computer. You may use the software on up to two processors on the licensed computer at one time. Unless otherwise provided in these license terms, you may not use the software on any other computer.

  • c. Number of Users. Unless otherwise provided in these license terms, only one user may use the software at a time.

  • d. Alternative Versions. The software may include more than one version, such as 32-bit and 64-bit. You may install and use only one version at one time.

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So its not the motherboard its processor which Microsoft is using to track the licence. – Sumant Mar 16 '12 at 6:44
I can't be sure what that means - it definitely doesn't mean two CPU cores, since four is quite standard now. I can't see that it means "two motherboards" or "two hardware configurations" - if anything I think it means two physical CPUs. I do know, though, that Microsoft uses a unique combination of hardware to track the license, and if you change hardware you will need to re-activate. I've heard that if you call them and explain the situation, they should give you a new activation code, though. – user55325 Mar 16 '12 at 6:58
@user55325 that sounds correct to me, they are referring to computers with 2 physical processors as a "single computer" the hash they use still is not tied to any particular component, it is a hash of the whole computer. The intent behind the licencing is the Obvious, not installing the software on more than the one computer it was purchaced for. Because it is an OEM it is tied to the "computer". Changing a broken motherboard could still be concidered the same "computer". That is where my comment ends. – Psycogeek Mar 16 '12 at 7:26
@Psycogeek you are right. – Sumant Mar 16 '12 at 11:12

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