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Reinstall windows without re-using key

Last response: in Windows 7
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October 10, 2011 9:06:59 PM

Hey everybody

I recently bought an upgrade kit version of win7 which said you can use the key 3 times.

Now, I upgraded 2 computers in my household and then I bought some hardware for my computer. It said it needed to activate the key again so I accepted. That means I used the key a third time?

Now, I want to have a clean reinstall of my pc. Is that possible while keeping my current key activated?
I don't want to copy the OS to another harddrive and copy it back. I just want a fresh clean reinstall if thats possible

More about : reinstall windows key

a c 411 $ Windows 7
October 10, 2011 9:18:28 PM

They will reactivate as long as it is on the same pc
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October 10, 2011 9:21:41 PM

Yeah, but if I format all my harddrives, to the point that there is no more software or drivers at all, how will it recognize that its the same pc?
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October 10, 2011 9:39:19 PM

When you activate the OS, it send an unique key generated by using info on the hardware. Reactivate it will send the hardware key, the OS key, both will be compared at the one sent the last time you activate and if they match, you are good to go.
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a c 411 $ Windows 7
October 10, 2011 9:44:51 PM

Yes it reads the hardware!
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October 10, 2011 9:54:18 PM

Thanks. I'm gonna see if I can find more on that topic and I'm gonna trust you guys and reinstall my windows. thanks alot.
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October 10, 2011 10:07:49 PM

Even if you run out of 'keys' the install will give you the number to call MS, they will just add extra 'copies to the licence anyway
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a b $ Windows 7
October 10, 2011 10:24:34 PM

As long as it is on the same PC, you can use it unlimited times, but after a certain number of times it will not activate automatically, you have to call Microsoft as explained above, convince them you are simply reinstalling on the same computer, and they will give a you new activation key or extend yours to work a few more times.
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a b $ Windows 7
October 10, 2011 10:40:27 PM

Yes I actually did the same thing you are going to do and when it came to activation and I tried the automatic online one it would not do it and it gave me a number to call. The number you call is a recording the you give them the activation code and then they give you one that you input while you are on the phone. It does work.
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a b $ Windows 7
October 10, 2011 10:41:42 PM

as everyone else said it goes by a combination of your system information, like what motherboard it has and what is the serial number etc. some things will not trigger a re-authentication, a reformat is one of them (by re-authentication i mean needing to get a NEW key) even changing the hard drives + graphics card wont dont it usually.

EDIT: i originally assumed it was using MAC addresses but now that i think about it thats really stupid, does microsoft release how they authenticate windows? anyone got an article i can read up on this?
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