I had a technician change my motherboard from Dell to another board, now he's telling me the install disc i had from Dell won't work because it's OEM and I need to buy a full version of Windows 7 for another $200. Can't I reactivate the vista I had?
Q. Can a PC with an OEM Windows operating system have its motherboard upgraded and keep the same license? What if it was replaced because it was defective?
A. Generally, an end user can upgrade or replace all of the hardware components on a computer—except the motherboard—and still retain the license for the original Microsoft OEM operating system software. If the motherboard is upgraded or replaced for reasons other than a defect, then a new computer has been created. Microsoft OEM operating system software cannot be transferred to the new computer, and the e license of new operating system software is required. If thhe motherboard is replaced because it is defective, you do not need to acquire a new operating system license for the PC as long as the replacement motherboard is the same make/model or the same manufacturer's replacement/equivalent, as defined by the manufacturer's warranty.
The reason for this licensing rule primarily relates to the End User Software License Terms and the support of the software covered by that End User Software License Terms. The End User Software License Terms is a set of usage rights granted to the end user by the PC manufacturer and relates only to rights for that software as installed on that particular PC. The system builder is required to support the software on the original PC. Understanding that end users, over time, upgrade their PCs with different components, Microsoft needed to have one base component "left standing" that would still define the original PC. Since the motherboard contains the CPU and is the "heart and soul" of the PC, when the motherboard is replaced (for reasons other than defect) a new PC is essentially created. The original system builder did not manufacture this new PC, and therefore cannot be expected to support it.
So all you have to do is call the Activation line (the number will be listed if the activation fails - sometimes it will activate automatically) and explain to them that the MOBO failed and you had to replace it and they will give you a new activation code -- If the MOBO was just for upgrading the system and not due to a malfunction then the Technician is telling you correctly that He can not do that for you as it would be against the MS EULA.
The motherboard fried during an electrical storm and older power surge strip failed.
That should qualify as damaged and requiring change so you should be able to reuse the VISTA if you want -- just install it and try activating - It might activate automatically but if that fails then call the number given to you when it fails and talk to a support rep and explain that the MOBO fried and you had to replace it with the new one and they will give you a new activation code !