Possible Duplicate:
When reinstalling Windows 7, does the language, version, architecture (64-bit or 32-bit) or source (OEM, retail, or MSDN) matter?

I was thinking of buying Windows 7 Ultimate to be installed on an old computer. In due time, I will be giving this old computer away.

The question is:

  • Will I have trouble transferring the Windows 7 Ultimate license to another PC?
  • If yes, do I need to watch out for any issues?
  • What exactly is Microsoft's stance/policies towards license transfers?
  • How many times can I transfer before it becomes illegal?

4 Answers 4


If you are purchasing a "retail copy" from a shop, you should not have any problems transferring it to another computer.

If you do run into a problem activating (which occasionally does happen) simply calling the Microsoft activation line (number given during the activation wizard) will allow you to activate it with a special code that you type in.

  • I've done this a number of times with both Windows XP and Windows Vista. The first couple of times you transfer the license it's no problem; after that, you do need to call Microsoft, but they're more than willing to help.
    – alex
    Sep 6, 2009 at 5:33
  • As @kez said below; the activation line for your country can be found here: microsoft.com/licensing/existing-customers/…
    – Hemi
    Dec 15, 2010 at 3:16

You can activate your license 2 or 3 times, so you should not have any issues. Worst case you will need to phone Microsoft to get the unlock key, but it is a fairly painless process, and I know in the States you can now even SMS them your code and they will send you back an unlock code.


If you are using a full retail license you will have no issues

Note however:

An OEM 'system builder' license must stay with the computer it is first installed on. (I believe it links with the motherboard).

For a upgrade license, my understanding is that, if it is installed over an existing OEM install, you can't transfer the 'full' license to another computer - only the 'upgrade' part. However this shouldn't be a problem if the 'underlying' OS was a full retail copy to begin with.


If you have a retail box of Windows 7, you can install it up to 3 times. After 3 times, your Windows 7 dvd turns into a frisbee.

  • It doesn't say this anywhere on the box (not on mine at least) and I've installed it at least 5 times.
    – Malabarba
    Dec 15, 2010 at 2:18
  • when you say '3 times' do you mean: 3 different installations concurrently; or do you mean: 3 different installs 'one-at-a-time'? the 1st may apply to some versions (though i can't think of any), the 2nd is just plain wrong. -1
    – Hemi
    Dec 15, 2010 at 3:07
  • 3 times, I mean one-at-a-time! You cannot have at the same time 3 computers using the same single license. Jan 10, 2011 at 17:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.