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Will I be able to, and what is the worst that can happen to my laptop with the original OEM key. Will Microsoft invalid my key on both computers or not. And my brother did this for the other computer

And is it illegal to do so in the same house of having two computers with the same OEM key

Will my laptop get deactivated or not

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2  
-1 for not thinking through why Microsoft has a key-based system in place to restrict things like this. Bon Gart's answer explains in clearer detail why this is such a bad idea. Further, if you don't like how Microsoft has such a stranglehold on all of their stuff, then it might be worthwhile for you to look into other options that are cheaper, easier, and/or more legal. –  killermist Jul 7 '12 at 14:19
    
No key (except volume licensed ones) can be used on more than one machine –  pratnala Dec 1 '12 at 17:22

4 Answers 4

Will I be able to

Do you mean, will something physically stop you from being able to? No

what is the worst that can happen to my laptop with the original OEM key

The worst that can happen is that the key is invalidated by Microsoft, and that any computer that uses it displays a notification that "This copy of Microsoft Windows is not Genuine"... and needs to be reinstalled every 30 days, and/or can't be updated, etc. So, you can invalidate the new install and your old install. Essentially, you can make the OEM product key invalid for any and every installation.

And my brother did this for the other computer

With the OEM key from the bottom? Because here's the deal. When you get your laptop and start using it, there is one product key on the sticker on the bottom of your laptop... and your laptop is currently installed with a DIFFERENT product key called a Volume License product key. This is a single product key that the laptop manufacturer used on thousands of laptops when they made the hard drive image for mass production. However, the manufacturer is required by law to provide you with a UNIQUE and individual product key, since you are also purchasing a copy of Windows with your laptop. So, provided you haven't had to reinstall Windows yet, you actually have never used the OEM key on the sticker.

(EDIT This is easy enough to confirm yourself. Just download any keyfinder software that will pull the MS product key for your installation from your installation, and compare it to the OEM product key on the sticker. If you have never reinstalled Windows on that machine, you will find them to be different. Go Ahead. Try it. Use RockXP or ProduKey or Magical Jellybean.)

So... Can you use the OEM product key on a second installation of Windows, provided you have NEVER used it on the computer it came with originally? Yes. Is this recommended? No. You know why? What are you going to do when you need that OEM product key for the computer it came with? Oh... don't give me that "It's not gonna happen." Don't blow off the real probability that your hard drive is going to fail in a year or two... and you will be kicking yourself because you didn't make the recovery discs that you were supposed to (or they don't work right like so many people complain here about).

... and of course, as has been pointed out very succinctly... it is illegal too.

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+1 for the long angry answer :) –  Jeff F. Jul 6 '12 at 15:32
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@JeffF. Oh, it's not angry, so much... a bit of frustration, sure. Most people don't know about the volume license key. It doesn't occur to them that someone would have had to physically enter the different OEM key on EVERY laptop at the time of production for it to actually be in use. That's why people are able to get away with doing this for a short time. It just always bites them in the butt when they need the key for the machine it came with. –  Bon Gart Jul 6 '12 at 15:35
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+2 for the rant :) –  dwwilson66 Jul 6 '12 at 15:40
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The keys you are referring to are not volume license keys but SLP keys, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_Locked_Pre-installation. Your argument that one might need the personal key to reinstall Windows on a machine that was running the SLP install before is also weak, as you could just use the generic SLP key again if you need to reinstall (unless the motherboards got replaced). This of course requires the use of the oembios files of the OEM. So you can do it without problems but are not allowed to. –  Gurken Papst Jul 12 '12 at 19:31
    
Just a silly doubt. If I know the volume licensed key can't I use that again when I reinstall Windows? –  pratnala Dec 1 '12 at 17:24

One key is licensed for use on one system at a time. Using one key on multiple systems is a violation of the terms for use and illegal.

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I tried this. Installed Windows 8 on my desktop, then on my laptop. I used the purchased key from my desktop on my laptop and all that happened was a message saying the key was in use on another machine. That was it. Neither copy stopped working, although I had to get a new key for my laptop.

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The OP is talking about Windows 7 –  Lee Taylor Dec 1 '12 at 17:56

No.
Unless you are going for pirated stuff.

If you do, second windows installation will stop working(Your copy of windows is not genuine).

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It does not stop working, worst case would be Reduced Functionality Mode, see superuser.com/questions/378341/…. Since in this case the key used for activation might also get revoked, I still would not recommend to try this. –  Gurken Papst Jul 12 '12 at 19:38
    
technically it does not, but, it keeps on restarting after every hour and tons of restriction which is almost = stops working... –  tumchaaditya Jul 13 '12 at 2:26
    
This would only be true if you run Windows Vista without at least SP1. Even in Vista without SP1 there were no restarts, you just got logged off. This also only happened, if you did not enter any key at all within 30 days (out-of-grace RFM). See support.microsoft.com/kb/925582. But this question is about Windows 7 so it does not apply anyway. The few restrictions given in the previously linked question might be annoying but are far from making the system unusable. –  Gurken Papst Jul 13 '12 at 16:07

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