I have a major (intermittent) fault which I am fairly sure is hardware in my homebrew MCE. I am proposing to change components (including the motherboard and hard drive) until I find the cause but how many changes can I make before I am not allowed to use/re-install the OS (OEM version) because it is a new computer? What information does Microsoft gather to identify a computer?
I've changed a lot of different parts in the machine, and have only had to reauthorize XP after changing the disk. I'm sure if you swap the MB model you will probably have similar problems. But, as far as I know there is no limit to how often you can reauthorize, you just have to contact microsoft and have them release the serial number so you can reauth. I don't know exactly how they do it, but they compare the different parts in the machine and come up with some hatch number from the parts. When the hatch changes too much then it will not reauth without them releasing the serial number.
What is the problem you are having in your MCE, and what is your hardware?
Before doing anything to change hardware, save the C:WINDOWSsystem3wpa.dbl file to somewhere else. After doing major changes, rename that file to .old and put the file back into C:WINDOWSsystem32. This will sometimes fool the activation trigger.
This process is mainly used when you do a complete reinstall on the same hardware to preserve the activation. This file is where windows keeps the hardware hash data generated from your current mix of hardware.
the activation checks for serial numbers and the limit is 3 changed objects. Hay somthing wired happened the other day i had OEM XP pro and as a test i installed it on a new machine before buying a new version of windows i went to the phone activation and said it wasnt intalled on any other pc and they gave me a new activation code.
Thanks for the replies gentlmen.
The spec is MSI RX482M4 motherboard with Athlon 3200 and 1Gbyte of Crucial 3200 memory. C drive is an 80Gbyte Maxtor SATA150 and I want to instal a 2nd larger drive to store TV The only extra to date is a Hauppage digital TV card. There are 3 problems:
a) I can no longer access the BIOS (pressing DEL used to work but nothing will do it now)
b) there is no system information flashing briefly on the screen in the startup sequence before it opens up Windows (could this also be a BIOS problem?)
c) I have had 2 blue screens on startup warning me of something nasty but proceeding from there it has all worked.
This can be a fun project but it has its bad moments.