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Windows 7 and Vista Activation FAQ: How do language, version, 64-bit or 32-bit, and source affect ability to install and transfer Windows licenses?

My computer has Windows XP (OEM) installed. If I install a Windows 7 Upgrade Version in this computer, will I be able to transfer this license to another computer (without any OS installed) in the future? Or will I need to have an OS to upgrade from there? (I'm planning to buy another PC)

Thank you.

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marked as duplicate by techie007, nhinkle Aug 16 '12 at 23:22

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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No. An Upgrade licence requires a valid licence of a previous Windows version. If your new computer doesn't come with one (and I'm not aware of any new computers that come with XP or Vista), then you cannot use the Windows 7 Upgrade licence and will instead have to buy a retail licence. You also cannot use your current XP licence since it's an OEM licence and thus permanently tied to your current computer.

You might be able to get a second-hand XP or Vista retail licence from someone for your new computer, but the cost of that plus the cost of a Windows 7 Upgrade licence might well end up being higher than if you just bought a full Windows 7 retail licence in the first place.

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That's what I was thinking (and even typed in before remembering the dupe). But apparently this isn't true. If you upgrade Windows you've replaced the OEM license with the Upgrade license, which is the same as the Retail license; and the Retail license is transferable. Although it makes me wonder if it permanently kills/replaces/invalidates the original OEM license (i.e.: you can't legally continue to use it on the old PC). –  techie007 Aug 16 '12 at 23:31
It makes me wonder if it permanently kills/replaces/invalidates the original OEM license (i.e.: you can't legally continue to use it on the old PC). My semi-educated guess would be YES, it kills the OEM license agreement forever as soon as you upgrade it. –  techie007 Aug 16 '12 at 23:38
@techie007 Yes, the Upgrade licence remains transferable, but if you want to move it to another computer, that computer still needs a previous Windows version licence to upgrade from. And yes, the Upgrade licence replaces the original licence, unless and until you reinstall the original OS with its licence, at which point the Upgrade licence becomes eligible for use on another computer. In other words, they're not permanently coupled together. –  Indrek Aug 16 '12 at 23:39
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