I have 2 computers, one with Win7 and one with WinXP OEM. I'm thinking of upgrading the WinXP OEM edition to Win8 Pro and transfer it to the computer with Win7, and then transferring the Win7 copy over to the (formerly) WinXP one. Is this possible?


No you cannot do this.

To buy the offer, you need an eligible PC (Windows 7 PC (except Starter) purchased between 2 June 2012 and 31 January 2013). After you have bought the upgrade, you can apply it to any PC.

The original license and the upgrade license combine (temporarily) to form the Windows 8 license, thus you can no longer use the original license.

You cannot transfer an installed copy to another computer. To transfer a license, you uninstall it on the original computer, and re-install on a new computer. However, as soon as you uninstall, the original license (XP) and the upgrade dissociate again, and the upgrade can be reapplied to any other computer.

The original license (XP OEM) remains tied to the old computer. Therefore, if you want Windows 8 on your new computer (using up the Windows 7 license), your old computer will have to remain on XP.

ZDNet explains the Windows 8 upgrade license clearly in How the new Windows 8 license terms affect you.

In particular, here are some useful points:

  • After I upgrade, can I use my old Windows version on a separate partition or on another PC? Can I give it away or sell it?

    No. The upgrade replaces the old license completely. The terms are written in very clear language:

    The software covered by this agreement is an upgrade to your existing operating system software, so the upgrade replaces the original software that you are upgrading. You do not retain any rights to the original software after you have upgraded and you may not continue to use it or transfer it in any way.

  • Can I transfer my copy of Windows 8 to another PC?

    That depends.

    If you buy a new PC with Windows 8 already installed, your OEM Windows license is permanently bound to that computer. The only way you can transfer the license to another person is to sell or give away the computer itself, with its copy of Windows.

    If you purchase the software separately, in a package or as a download, the rules are much more liberal.

    You may transfer the software to another computer that belongs to you. … You may not transfer the software to share licenses between computers.

    In other words, you can remove the Windows 8 upgrade from an original PC and then install it on another PC, assuming the new PC has a license that qualifies it for an upgrade. Likewise, you can completely remove the PUL System Builder software from a self-built PC, a VM, or a partition and then install it in a new physical or virtual PC.

    There is no limit on the number of times you may do this type of transfer.

    Anytime you transfer the software to a new computer, you must remove the software from the prior computer.

Notice the words you can remove the Windows 8 upgrade from an original PC and then install it on another PC, assuming the new PC has a license that qualifies it for an upgrade. While you can transfer your upgrade license, you cannot transfer the underlying OEM license, meaning that the new computer must have its own valid underlying license, whether it is a retail, or its own OEM license.

  • Note, while this post deals with the legal aspects, it is not clear whether it is enforced in the software (ie. if you could move Windows 7 to the XP computer, then install Windows 8 onto the newer computer). See techpp.com/2012/10/27/windows-8-promo-code for details. – ronalchn Oct 30 '12 at 2:48
  • I don't think it's enforced. And it may work. However, strictly following the license terms, you cannot install the retail version of Windows 7 to your laptop which has Windows XP now. – Alexey Ivanov Oct 30 '12 at 6:12
  • So just a question, the copy of Windows that my upgrade installs over is invalid, until I take off the upgrade, and then it works again, right? – Justin Nov 1 '12 at 8:55
  • Those are the license terms, yes. – ronalchn Nov 1 '12 at 9:36

Yes you can upgrade the OEM version of XP to Windows 8 retail(I am trying to find out).

From the microsoft blog,

If your PC is running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 you will qualify to download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $39.99 in 131 markets.

Thereby you can install it on another pc.

According to the faq for the Windows Upgrade Offer:

Do I have to install the Windows 8 upgrade on the eligible PC, or can I install it on another PC?
The upgrade offer is tied to a Windows 7 PC purchased between 2 June 2012 and 31 January 2013, but you can choose to redeem the offer and install the upgrade on any compatible Windows-based PC with a qualifying base operating system.

Are all PCs purchased with Windows 7 between 2 June 2012 and 31 January 2013 eligible for the Upgrade Offer?
Eligible PCs are new PCs purchased during the promotion period with a valid Windows 7 OEM Certificate of Authenticity, product key for and preinstalled with:

Windows 7 Home Basic;
Windows 7 Home Premium;
Windows 7 Professional; or
Windows 7 Ultimate
Note: Windows 7 Starter Edition is not eligible for this offer.

If windows 7 is retail, you will not have any problems re installing.

  • What he might not be able to do is transfer Windows 7 back to the XP OEM system. – Joel Coehoorn Oct 26 '12 at 15:51
  • @JoelCoehoorn why ? – HackToHell Oct 26 '12 at 15:51
  • I should put it differently: he can always install his retail win 7 license on the XP machine. What he cannot do is transfer his XP OEM license to his current win 7 machine. He can upgrade that license, but that will not free him from the OEM restriction to keep it on that PC. So after upgrading the XP system, if he then wants to get Win8 on the machine running Windows 7, he needs another upgrade or to check if he can rollback his upgraded machine to XP and then re-apply the upgrade over top of win 7 (which I suspect is also not allowed). – Joel Coehoorn Oct 26 '12 at 15:57
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    @Justin - You cannot transfer an Windows XP OEM license, so it doesn't matter, it cannot be used on any other system except the one it was originally installed. It might work but its still a license violation. – Ramhound Oct 26 '12 at 16:48
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    Hey HackToHell, thanks for putting a bounty on my post! :). – Justin Oct 30 '12 at 10:11

You can upgrade any Windows version to Windows 8, that's not the problem.

However, under no condition can you transfer an activated license from one computer to another. That will only get your Windows serial blacklisted by Microsoft, so lost forever.

The only way this can be done is with the help of Microsoft Support by phone, explaining to them the situation and asking for new serial numbers for the two computers.

However, as one of the licenses is OEM, meaning attached to a physical computer, and that upgrading to Windows 8 does not change its OEM status, I do not believe that Microsoft Support will agree.

But that doesn't mean that it's not worth trying.

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