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

I had a question about Windows 7 licenses. Say I use mine, but later on I need to run a system recovery or reinstall the OS, will that same license still be usable, or do I have to purchase a new one? Also, I have an HP laptop. If, after I install Windows 7, I call and ask them for a Windows 7 recovery dsc, would they give me one, or would they refuse since Vista was the default OS?

Thanks for your help!


1 Answer 1


If you purchase a Windows 7 license you can re-install it as many times as you wish, on as many computers as you wish.

So long as you don't install it on more than one computer at a time (or up to three at a time for the Family Pack license).

  • I actually can confirm that the key will only activate twice, where after you need to phone MS. The RC and Beta was not limited however. I had this issue today actually. Oct 9, 2009 at 18:19
  • 2
    MS will help with re-activation during phone support assuming you have the Retail version. If you have purchased the OEM version however, Microsoft will not help you with reactivation. One of the reasons I'm considering purchasing the Retail over the OEM personally, since I do like to reformat yearly. Oct 9, 2009 at 18:48
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    this answer is partly correct. Retail licenses you can install on any number of computers as long as it's only installed on one computer at any given time. OEM licenses are bound to the first computer they're installed on. You can re-install as many times as you want but you cannot move the license to another computer.
    – Paxxi
    Oct 9, 2009 at 19:55
  • What happens if you activate the regular license on a second machine? Will the first one stop working? and will it be illegal to go back to using the first one?
    – Malabarba
    Nov 22, 2009 at 16:19

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