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Three questions on installation and activation with Windows 7.

  • Windows 7
Last response: in Windows 7
December 12, 2009 12:13:53 AM

I have three quick questions regarding installation and activation on Windows 7.

1. Is there a limit to how many times or how frequently you can activate Windows 7?

Both Windows XP and Vista had limits on how frequently you could activate, so I am wondering what it is for Windows 7.

2. It says in the EULA that OEM copies cannot be transfered from PC to PC, but whats Microsofts definiton of a new PC?

If I ever upgraded my current system (like a new Motherboard/ CPU), would that be considered a new system? Or just an upgrade to the existing system?

3. I have three hard drives in my system, a 1TB Segate SATA II, a 250GB Maxtor SATA I and a 200 GB Western Digital ATA.
Currently Windows is installed on the 1TB drive, but would I have any trouble installing/ activating Windows 7 if I ever switched it to one of the other 2 drives or purchased a new hard drive?

This is my current system in case anyone is interested, though the Motherboard/ CPU are a bit dated given I got them in August 2006. So Yes I know the quad cores, Core i7, Core2Duo and every other newer CPU else makes my CPU look ancient.

Antec Super LANBOY Case
1 120MM Blue LED Cooler Master fan
1 120MM TRI Color LED / TRI Cool Antec fan

550w Antec True Power 2.0 PSU
Asus M2N SLI- Deluxe
AMD AM2 Athlon 64 4200+ x2 (2.2 GHz)
1GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 memory (2x 512 sticks) (dual channel mode disabled)
2GB DDR2 Supertalent Memory (2x 1GB sticks)
EVGA 9800GTX+ PCI- Express (replaced my old Pny 7600GT)
Audigy 2 ZS Gamer (been using this for 5 1/2 years)

Seagate 1TB Hard Drive
Maxtor 250GB SATA Hard Drive
Western Digital 200GB SATA Hard Drive
Seagate 250GB ATA hard drive (external drive)

Samsung 22 inch Wide Screen LCD Monitor
Windows 7 Home Premium

Hauppauge TV Card
Logitech Z-640 Speakers
Microsoft Wireless Keyboard/ Mouse
Floppy Drive
DVD/ CD RW Drive
LG Blue Ray Drive!

More about : questions installation activation windows

a c 224 $ Windows 7
December 12, 2009 1:16:35 AM

1. Neither Windows XP or Windows Vista had time based limits on how frequently one could install and re-activate their copy. They had hard limit on how many times it could be done online. After you hit this limit, you would then have to call Microsoft to activate. This takes about 6-7 minutes. Windows 7 has a similar limit (10 times if memory serves)

2. Microsoft considers your PC to be new when the motherboard is changed.

3. No, you should not have any trouble installing 7 to a new hard drive, or a different drive you already have. As stated above, the limit on how many online activations you can do with your OEM serial would come into play, obviously decreasing by 1, but it should be a pretty seamless operation.
December 12, 2009 1:32:41 AM

Just to clarify, the 10 online activations means I can only activate my OEM copy of Windows 7 10 times total before I Have to give MS a call and activate it over the phone?

I had an OEM copy of Windows XP Pro and remember once getting an error message stating I had activated it to many times within a certain period and needed to call MS to activate, however I Just waited a little while, tried to activate again and had no trouble.

I have no problem calling MS to activate my OEM copy (even if they charge $$$ for the phone call), but I just wanetd to make sure it was not like MS Office where they only give you 3 activations with the retail copy.

Also to clarify, if changing my motherboard counts as a new PC by MS rules, that will prevent me from upgrading my existing system or force me to buy a new copy of Windows 7 if I upgrade?

Thanks for your help!
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a b $ Windows 7
December 12, 2009 1:42:38 AM

There's a lot of misinformation out there and I have yet to read a published article regarding Win7. It's changed a bit since XP but from what I can see, not too much's the basics:

The MoBo thing only applies to commercially build volume licenses ie Dell.

Here's the hardware items windows XP monitored:

1. Display Adapter
2. SCSI Adapter
3. IDE Adapter
4. Network Adapter MAC Address
5. RAM Amount Range (i.e. 0-64MB, 64-128MB, etc)
6. Processor Type
7. Processor Serial Number
8. Hard Drive Device
9. Hard Drive Volume Serial Number

Windows XP checks to see that it is running on the same or similar hardware that it was activated on. Reactivation is required if Windows XP detects that the hardware has changed "substantially". This check is performed after the SLP BIOS check discussed above, if the SLP BIOS check fails. This means that if your PC is pre-activated by the manufacturer, using the SLP pre-activation method, all the components in the PC could be swapped (including the motherboard, so long as the replacement motherboard was genuine and from the same OEM with the proper BIOS).

If the PC is not dockable and a network adapter exists and is not changed, 6 or more of the other above values would have to change before reactivation would be required. If a network adapter existed but is changed or never existed at all, 4 or more changes (including the changed network adapter if it previously existed) will require a reactivation.

The change of a single component multiple times (e.g. from display adapter A to display adapter B to display adapter C) is treated as a single change. The addition of components to a PC (adding a second hard drive) which did not exist during the original activation, would not trigger a reactivation. Reactivation would not be triggered by the modification of a component not listed above.

Reinstallation of Windows XP on the same or similar hardware and a subsequent reactivation can be accomplished an infinite number of times. Finally, the Microsoft activation clearinghouse system will automatically allow activation to occur over the Internet four times in one year on substantially different hardware. Every 120 days, the current configuration of a user's PC will become the new "base," so to speak. This means (for example) that on a non-dockable PC you could change 8 of the above parts without a reactivation. After 120 days, you could again change 8 parts. This last feature was implemented to allow even the most savvy power users to make changes to their systems and, if they must reactivate, do so over the Internet rather than necessitating a telephone call.
a c 224 $ Windows 7
December 12, 2009 1:46:36 AM

Yes, 10 online activations (or however many one actually gets... it may be more than 10), not 10 activations total. You can reactivate over the phone as many times as you need (if your hard drive, or another piece of hardware fails, or via virus infections... etc.). I had to activate my copy of XP over the phone quite a number of times but when I spoke to the Microsoft rep (the phone activation system is automated now, unless there is a problem with the information you provide), I just briefly explained why I needed to call them to reactivate and they were happy to help me out. Phoning the activation line is a toll-free call as well.

Technically you are supposed to buy a new copy of Windows if you change the motherboard, but there isn't really anything stopping you from calling and activating the same copy on the new board.

Edit: Buying a retail copy of Windows allows you to move it from PC to PC (or motherboard to motherboard in the context of this thread). OEM copies are supposed to remain with the first PC they are installed on.
a b $ Windows 7
December 12, 2009 11:18:08 PM

The_Prophecy said:
I had to activate my copy of XP over the phone quite a number of times but when I spoke to the Microsoft rep (the phone activation system is automated now, unless there is a problem with the information you provide), I just briefly explained why I needed to call them to reactivate and they were happy to help me out. Phoning the activation line is a toll-free call as well

I was refused activation by telephone .... on a 2 week old PC and a 1 day old PC.....had no internet connection (in one case a storm took out cable, another it was a driver problem). Both times they gave me an extreme hard time about trying to "pull something". Both times, after getting internet service back, it registered w/o issue

A third time.....internet explorer just wouldn't go on the internet while firefox had no issue....again they wouldn't activate. This was a 3 year old PC....was refused again....had to do a system restore.... luckily had ConfigSafe on that box.
a c 224 $ Windows 7
December 12, 2009 11:49:23 PM

Really? I've spoken with a rep twice since 2002. Once due to blown capacitors on my motherboard (hence the reinstall), and the other time due to a dying hard drive. Both times, I explained what happened (I lied about the motherboard and said I had it replaced with the same one via RMA), but they had no problem giving me the necessary activation code in each instance.

I had never heard of their phone activation people giving anyone a hard time until today...
a b $ Windows 7
December 13, 2009 1:00:55 AM

A dying HD should not trigger an activation....doesn't come close to the required 6 changes. I have know people who have done complete upgrades....every single part ..... just changed no more than 5 things at a time.

One guy turned off his on board NIC, bought a new vid card, CPU and RAM, grabbed a $3 NIC.....left it old boxfor just over 4 months.....built a completely new box w/ new MoBo ....put his 4+ month old stuff in and it worked like a charm ....121 days later took out the $3 NIC and and regsistered online.
a c 224 $ Windows 7
December 13, 2009 3:54:15 AM

No... my hard drive died completely... as in I had to replace it and completely reinstall the OS.