I bought the Windows 8 Pro retail install disc (not the upgrade). I seem to recall somewhere hearing that you can install it onto multiple computers without having to purchase a new license key. How many computers are you allowed to install it on, before purchasing a new key?

For instance, I'm debating whether to install Windows 8 onto my laptop as well as my desktop (on which it is already installed).

  • This is a valid issue, and you do mention Windows 8, but I think it's not on-topic for this site. This isn't a technical/software question about an OS. It's a legal question about licensing. – Pops Nov 9 '12 at 19:52
  • See superuser.com/questions/494782/… , specifically the part **without retaining any copies of the software. ** – Hennes Nov 9 '12 at 21:12
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    @LordTorgamus We generally don't do legal questions, but practical questions about Windows licensing have always been welcome AFAICT. – slhck Nov 9 '12 at 21:17

(I Am Not A Lawyer.)

On one.

Under our license, we grant you the right to install and run that one copy on one computer (the licensed computer) as the operating system on a computer that you build for your personal use

and also:

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

Refer to the Personal Use License.

Full Version Retail licensing does not exist anymore like it did for XP and W7, it is replaced by OEM "System Builder" with the "Personal Use Licence" clause, essentially the same thing.

See my post here

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  • Just a note that there are special keys that allow multiple activations. However, it will always be mentioned, and generally only applies to volume licence, MSDN subscriptions, etc.. Not something you would pick up at a local store. – Bob Oct 31 '12 at 11:43
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    But is it enforced? What happens if I install my retail copy of windows 8 on multiple computers, will the first install stop working when I install the second? – Bjarke Freund-Hansen Nov 29 '12 at 7:32
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    @bjarkef No, but you are breaking the EULA and if Microsoft was so inclined they could sue you and legally they are in the right so you would have to pay the copyright infringement fees do to your unauthorized copying of the software on to two machines simultaneously. – Scott Chamberlain Dec 10 '12 at 3:44
  • @ScottChamberlain: Actually, I live in Denmark, some years ago there was a court case regarding this, but relating to Windows XP I think. The judge stated that the end-user (who where suing) could install Windows on as many of his computer as he wanted, as he was only a single person and could therefore only use one computer at a time. No matter what the EULA says. So as long as Microsoft have not put in any technical limits, I will not hesitate to install my Windows copy on multiple computers. :) – Bjarke Freund-Hansen Dec 11 '12 at 10:24
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    @bjarkef There is no guarantee that Microsoft does not have a method to deactivate such installations - it's not exactly hard to detect. And one reason we don't do legal discussions here (for the most part) is due to country specific legislation and precedent - all we will/can say is you are violating the EULA. – Bob Dec 11 '12 at 11:06

The retail install disk only entitles you to a single installed instance of the software at any one time.

Unlike the OEM license which dies with the machine, you are allowed to reinstall on as many different machines as you want, as many times as you want - but, you must uninstall/delete it from any machine before you install it on the next.

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