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Several years ago I bought a PC which came with Windows XP, now that PC nolonger has XP installed (Ubuntu instead). Is it legal for me to install XP with that serial on a different PC? The XP installation has never been used on the another computer. I have reinstalled XP a few times on the computer it came with after formatting.

Just wondering if anyone know if what I want to do is legal or would Microsoft ban the serial or so.


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If it was a fully boxed edition of Windows, you can move the licence as many times as you like as long as it is only installed on one machine at any one time.

However, if you bought the computer with Windows pre installed, it is more than likely it is an OEM Licence which means that it is "locked" to the machine it is installed to so you can not move or reinstall Windows on another machine.

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Thanks. I bought the PC from Dell with XP installed. At a later date I achieved the disc for XP SP2 disc of Dell when I required it. The XP serial is on a sticker stuck to the tower so I assume its an OEM licence. – dierri Dec 26 '09 at 15:58
It might work, but I believe Dell licenses use the BIOS to verify the machine, too. If you can install it on another machine and it works, you're fine. Legal? It is if MS permitted it. Does it violate the license? Technically yea. My bet is you won't be successful, though. – Stephen Dec 26 '09 at 16:37
@Stephen just because technically it works does not mean that legally it is allowed. Microsoft allow the quick/no activation of larger OEM companies for tech support reasons, however, just because it passes activation does not mean that you legally can install on a machine that is not meant to have it... And, OEM means the licence dies with the machine. – William Hilsum Dec 26 '09 at 17:17

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