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My windows 7 license number.

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February 19, 2012 4:11:49 PM

Ok I recently had a laptop have the screen destroyed, I am tired of having that laptop connected to monitor and am planning on throwing that hard drive into a new build pc desktop (I understand that the hard drive is fairly slow). What sort of fun gyrations do I have to go through to get the copy of windows registered in my name to be recognized by MS to update and run properly with the mostly new hardware?

More about : windows license number

February 19, 2012 4:19:05 PM

Plug and play
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a c 248 D Laptop
a b $ Windows 7
February 19, 2012 4:21:39 PM

Hi :) 

If its an OEM windows on the laptop (most are) you will end up buying another 7 to be legal...

All the best Brett :) 
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a b D Laptop
a b $ Windows 7
February 19, 2012 4:26:16 PM

you could of course replace the laptop screen. you can't reuse an OEM license and if your building a desktop using a laptop drive is a poor choice.

if you want a desktop sell the laptop on eBay as is or replace the screen and sell it
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February 19, 2012 4:26:21 PM

Brett928S2 said:
Hi :) 

If its an OEM windows on the laptop (most are) you will end up buying another 7 to be legal...

All the best Brett :) 

Na it's plug and play.
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a b D Laptop
a b $ Windows 7
February 19, 2012 4:27:08 PM

If your OS came with the laptop then it is bound to that device and it breaks EULA to install that OS on another computer (ie, you will have to purchase a new copy of windows). On top of that Windows is highly bound to the north-bridge chipset, and will likely not work in another machine without being reformatted and re-installed in the first place... but as there is no restore CD and the recovery software is likely in the laptop's BIOS/UEFI this may prove to be a rather annoying task.

Look online, replacement monitors only cost in the $50-120 range, so it may be cheaper just to replace the screen and have a working laptop again. http://www.laptopscreen.com/ and other similar sites may have some good deals for you. Installation may be a pain, but it is not impossible; just be very careful.
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a b D Laptop
a b $ Windows 7
February 19, 2012 4:29:18 PM

Boopoo said:
Na it's plug and play.

It may or may not be plug and play (highly unlikely as it is a pain to transfer windows between mobos without loosing stability), but is still illegal, and as such you are not allowed to make such suggestions on this site.
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February 19, 2012 4:36:29 PM

CaedenV said:
It may or may not be plug and play (highly unlikely as it is a pain to transfer windows between mobos without loosing stability), but is still illegal, and as such you are not allowed to make such suggestions on this site.

Ya well I am on Windows 8 Beta and if you paid for a legit copy of Windows it is yours to use on any PC you own friend and Windows are the criminals here more than Joe whom just wants a new PC and to easily transfer them personal files and prefs over to a new rig and sorry for Microsoft's luck maybe they need to come down on price a bit um.
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February 19, 2012 4:46:11 PM

I've priced the screen and they want to charge around $130 for it, I can do a screen replace but at this point am more willing to buy a new motherboard, faster processor and ram for the same amount since the laptop has been replaced. I will also have a conventional hard drive in the machine but I don't really see any reason to dispose of a perfectly functional 350 gig hard drive if I don't have to and its not that slow. Why would it be illegal for me to use that copy of windows as it would still be on the machine that gateway originally installed it on? I get that I wouldn't be able to put it onto another computer hard drive other than where it was initially installed but as long as I keep it on the same equipment it came on I shouldn't be considered as changing it.

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February 19, 2012 4:53:01 PM

Maxor1 said:
I've priced the screen and they want to charge around $130 for it, I can do a screen replace but at this point am more willing to buy a new motherboard, faster processor and ram for the same amount since the laptop has been replaced. I will also have a conventional hard drive in the machine but I don't really see any reason to dispose of a perfectly functional 350 gig hard drive if I don't have to and its not that slow. Why would it be illegal for me to use that copy of windows as it would still be on the machine that gateway originally installed it on? I get that I wouldn't be able to put it onto another computer hard drive other than where it was initially installed but as long as I keep it on the same equipment it came on I shouldn't be considered as changing it.

It's a legally grey area in where MS will not ask and you will not tell and it is in no way or form unmoral on your part in any way shape or form welcome to 2012 where Corporate Crybabies wreaked it for everyone.
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a b D Laptop
a b $ Windows 7
February 19, 2012 5:11:28 PM

Maxor1 said:
I've priced the screen and they want to charge around $130 for it, I can do a screen replace but at this point am more willing to buy a new motherboard, faster processor and ram for the same amount since the laptop has been replaced. I will also have a conventional hard drive in the machine but I don't really see any reason to dispose of a perfectly functional 350 gig hard drive if I don't have to and its not that slow. Why would it be illegal for me to use that copy of windows as it would still be on the machine that gateway originally installed it on? I get that I wouldn't be able to put it onto another computer hard drive other than where it was initially installed but as long as I keep it on the same equipment it came on I shouldn't be considered as changing it.

OEM software license is tied to the mobo and case, not the HDD. While MS is quite lenient on transferring consumer purchased OEM licences, they tend to frown on transferring licenses that are tied to pre-manufactured builds (like gateway, dell, hp etc.). You said on the original post that you wanted to reuse the licence from your laptop to a new PC... which is illegal. If you have a PC that already has a windows licence, and you want to move your laptop HDD to that desktop as a system drive (personally I would use it as a data drive, and use your traditional drive as the OS drive as it is faster), then you simply need to rt-click on 'my computer', properties, and down under 'windows activation' select 'change product key' and enter in the key for the PC you have. It may prompt you to call MS and explain your actions, but that would be perfectly legal. If you have a retail copy of windows (unlikely unless you purchased it in the store as a separate product and installed it yourself) then you can move that HDD to any PC you want because the licence is tied to you personally, and not the mobo/case.

However, I doubt that your laptop OS install will work with a different mobo simply due to some technical limitations and you will have to reformat/reinstall anyways. You can try it, but such procedures have mixed results, and you should do a fresh install when moving to a different platform to make sure everything is installed properly.
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a b D Laptop
a b $ Windows 7
February 19, 2012 5:12:43 PM

what is the make/model of your laptop? I work at a place that recycles PCs and may be able to help you out a bit if it is a popular model.
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a b $ Windows 7
February 19, 2012 5:19:13 PM

It definitely wont work. The Gateway motherboard has a SLIC license in the bios, and your new system will not be recognized period. You can run it for a few months doing rearm and save money. BooPoo simply does not know what he is talking about at all.
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February 19, 2012 5:20:49 PM

Boopoo said:
if you paid for a legit copy of Windows it is yours to use on any PC you own friend

It's only legit if it's installed on the computer it was shipped with.

Boopoo said:
It's a legally grey area in where MS will not ask and you will not tell and it is in no way or form unmoral on your part in any way shape or form welcome to 2012 where Corporate Crybabies wreaked it for everyone.

There's nothing gray about the terms of the license agreement. Using the software in a manner that violates the terms in the EULA is a violation of civil and criminal law in the US and most other countries. It's not a question of morality, it's a question of law. Whether you choose to violate the law is the moral question.

Speaking of terms of use, you're in direct violation of the terms of use of the Tom's Hardware forums. Inciting others to break the law is not what this community is about. We all know about the 'nudge-nudge, wink-wink' ways to get a working install of Windows. There's no reason to pointedly encourage someone to break the law in spite of how any of us might feel about the software vendor in question.
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a b $ Windows 7
February 19, 2012 5:21:55 PM

Boopoo said:
Ya well I am on Windows 8 Beta and if you paid for a legit copy of Windows it is yours to use on any PC you own friend and Windows are the criminals here more than Joe whom just wants a new PC and to easily transfer them personal files and prefs over to a new rig and sorry for Microsoft's luck maybe they need to come down on price a bit um.



Retail versions can be used on any PC with one activated at a time. OEM is 1 License 1 computer. Next time try to know what you are talking about. Its not MS fault mommy don't give you enough allowance.
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February 19, 2012 5:22:33 PM

It won't be entirely new am going to be reusing the hard drive, I suppose I can probably solder in the wireless nic as as well from the motherboard, of the gateway, not sure of the exact model number the laptop went down about 3 months ago or so. I want to know how on earth intellectual property of Microsoft is licensed to a case that neither the intellectual property nor anyone associated with Microsoft ever touched?
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a b $ Windows 7
February 19, 2012 5:25:19 PM

Maxor1 said:
It won't be entirely new am going to be reusing the hard drive, I suppose I can probably solder in the wireless nic as as well from the motherboard, of the gateway, not sure of the exact model number the laptop went down about 3 months ago or so. I want to know how on earth intellectual property of Microsoft is licensed to a case that neither the intellectual property nor anyone associated with Microsoft ever touched?



Microsoft will allow you to change most parts including Hard drives. What they will not allow is changing motherboards. And like I said all Big brands have a SLIC embedded in the bios of the motherboard. Get a USB enclosure and use the laptop drive for storage/backup.
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February 19, 2012 5:39:20 PM

Maxor1 said:
I want to know how on earth intellectual property of Microsoft is licensed to a case that neither the intellectual property nor anyone associated with Microsoft ever touched?

The OEM manufacturer, as an authorized reseller, attached the license to that particular computer when they pre-installed Windows on it. You accepted that fact when you accepted the EULA and started using the computer with Windows installed. It's not about how many components you reuse but whether you are dealing with a substantially different computer. Making a major change to the motherboard and CPU is most certainly enough to constitute a new computer in the sense of the EULA.

What it boils down to is this: Can you install your old OEM copy of Windows on your replacement PC and reuse the license key? Yes, it's certainly within the realm of the possible.
Is doing this within the terms of the Windows EULA? No it's not.
Are the software police going to knock your door down if you do it? Not bloody likely.

All this doesn't mean that we all sit around on this forum and encourage each other to use software illegally. You asked a question with a thorny legal issue and got a "yeah, but..." answer. That's how it works.
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a b D Laptop
a b $ Windows 7
February 19, 2012 5:45:54 PM

Without resorting to making commends about who's mom gives who money....

Microsoft has a retail package for windows that is designed to be bought by the end user. This user can move it to a new system as long as they stop using the old one. This version of windows cost much more.

The OEM(Original Equipment Manufacturer) version is much cheaper and for the cheaper price you are "Supposed" to only install it on 1 system(the system is the motherboard[more or less], everything else can be swapped).

It is a grey area since in many cases, people will reactive this copy of windows on a new system and MS will not even ask for a phone call(I mean what happens when a board fails? your replacement may be different and it is all the company can send you). You have no way to give it a guarantee YES or NO to it working without trying. I am not saying this is legal/illegal(it is fully not legal by the terms of the OEM agreement), it is just the way things work.

For the record in the past, i have(maybe 2 times, certain boards just did not overclock or work the way I liked them to) swapped out boards and done a clean install(You need the OEM disc for this) without any issues what so ever, but your mileage may vary.
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February 19, 2012 5:55:02 PM

Pretty much was I was planning on doing Daship save for the USB enclosure there are a bunch of 3 dollar adapters that let you put a laptop drive in a 3.5 slot now mainly for SSDs but any laptop drive will work. I don't want to loose the rest of the data off of the drive as well. What does system level integrated circuits have to do with anything?
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February 19, 2012 6:03:55 PM

Good luck when that activation pop-up appears and you find out your Windows key is no good.
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February 19, 2012 6:52:34 PM

DelroyMonjo said:
Good luck when that activation pop-up appears and you find out your Windows key is no good.



What is a windows Key?
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February 19, 2012 7:02:30 PM

Maxor, according to your information, I think you would be smarter than A: ask what a Windows key is. B: Aren't aware that OEM licenses are difficult to activate when changing entire machines.
I've never tried the telephone 'liar' ply though.
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a b D Laptop
a b $ Windows 7
February 19, 2012 7:19:23 PM

I would call MS and ask, Explain that the laptop is kaput - broken and is going into the Trash or where ever Broken systems go.

While the Lic is tied to the orginal system, there is an exception. This is primarily tied to MB/CPU. The OEM can Not ne reused to simply upgrading a "Working" system. In your case it is NOT economically cost effect to repair. MS may allow you to download the Installation program and Use the Laptop key.
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February 19, 2012 7:20:14 PM

I am genuinely curious as to what a windows key is. I thought it was just a short cut for hitting ctrl+esc to bring up your start menu, I was unaware it had jack all to do with activating windows. To activate windows I have always been pretty sure you just called MS and read them the code either off of your windows sticker or tell them why its illegible at which point they just let you activate the software. Its been that way since win 95 as far as I remember. I don't remember anything like that on windows 3.1, but since I was about 12 last time I installed 3.1 I can't say that I remember for certain.
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February 19, 2012 7:23:34 PM

RetiredChief said:
I would call MS and ask, Explain that the laptop is kaput - broken and is going into the Trash or where ever Broken systems go.

While the Lic is tied to the orginal system, there is an exception. This is primarily tied to MB/CPU. The OEM can Not ne reused to simply upgrading a "Working" system. In your case it is NOT economically cost effect to repair. MS may allow you to download the Installation program and Use the Laptop key.



I shouldn't need the installation program I have the partition that installs windows, its essentially a slightly modified instalation CD, (It is not a disk image I checked.). Out of curiosity what was your AFSC, chief? I just like to know what it was other vets did while they were in.
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a b $ Windows 7
February 19, 2012 7:42:17 PM

An oem restore partition is definitely tied to the oem PC. Not to mention if you somehow got it to work it would load drivers and registrys for the gateway that will totally conflict with a new system. Go try it just don't come back and ask for help when it don't work.
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a b D Laptop
a b $ Windows 7
February 19, 2012 8:17:58 PM

^ daship is totally correct.
The key is that long string of Nubers/letters that you need to input when doing an install.
It should be on a little sticker on the bottom of the laptop, or on a restore disk.

What I did on a laptop was to use one of my Windows 7 installation disks and install the windows 7 operating system to an SSD that I bought for the laptop. Just did not use the key duing install. But when installation was done, I inputed the Laptop Key.
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February 19, 2012 8:21:27 PM

I'll probably just end up using one of the licenses that comes from my student copy of windows 7 pro but it seems stupid to me at least that I can't use the same license as my laptop had since I'm using some of the parts in a direct replacement computer doing the same job.
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February 19, 2012 8:43:36 PM

I don't like MSTF's prices and policies either but I've spent a ton of $$$ over the years buyi their OS software.......because I'm a 'stand up' guy.
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February 19, 2012 8:46:07 PM

Thing is I specificaly asked for my windows and drivers disks when I ordered this laptop and sent in a written complaint when I didn't get them now that its busted and around 15 months old that is comping out to be even more of a pain in the arse than i initially thought since I am going to have to use a good copy of windows on a machine for goofing off.
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a b D Laptop
a b $ Windows 7
February 19, 2012 8:51:51 PM

As I said, you probably can, but you should contact MS.
Or install and if propted, then call MS and Explain. As I stated this is only legal if the Laptop was beyound economically repairable. I think in this case MS would probably allow it.
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a b D Laptop
a b $ Windows 7
February 20, 2012 1:27:43 AM

Maxor1 said:
I'll probably just end up using one of the licenses that comes from my student copy of windows 7 pro but it seems stupid to me at least that I can't use the same license as my laptop had since I'm using some of the parts in a direct replacement computer doing the same job.

Well let's think about that for a minute. Can you take the HDD and build a computer out of it, take the mobo and make another computer out of it, take the CPU, etc, etc, etc? MS had to choose to define what a computer was, and they decided that 'in general' a PC product is a mobo and it's case because those are the 2 parts which are least likely to fail, and most likely to only be replaced when doing a very significant change to your computer. HDDs come and go, Ram gets swapped out all the time, CPUs get upgraded, allong with add-on cards, power supplies fail, but mobos generally last a long time (unless you are as lucky as me lol), and cases are generally provided by the manufacturer and are proprietary to their mobos. The key is tied to the mobo, and then physically attached (and damndably difficult to remove) to the case. If that license sticker is removed/damaged then there goes your physical licence.

You did not buy Windows when you bought your laptop, you bought a laptop that had windows on it. It is not MS's fault that you broke your laptop, nor is it their fault that your screen is expensive. If you get rid of your laptop then you are getting rid of that copy of the OS, just like you are getting rid of a perfectly good mobo, power supply, and other parts. There comes a time to stop belly aching, spend $100, and just get what you need. If you cannot afford it there are tons of great Linux distros out there which are free and work great (I have fallen in love with Fedora). Another option is to move to the Beta side of things and run win8 (which I have on 2 netbooks at the moment and it works pretty good for being a dev build... cant wait for beta to come out later this month). But we have thoroughly answered your question.

You can get a copy of your install discs from the manufacturer, it generally costs $20 if you order them when you buy the computer, or $30-50 to get them after the fact. They do not give them out for free or by request, and it still does not help your situation whatsoever.

@delroy: indeed, the OS is expensive, and I (in my younger and dumber days) ran illegal copies of windows for a long time. However, when win2K came out and the thing actually worked I didn't mind paying for it so much. XP was better, and I feel win7 to be worth every penny. As MS has improved I find that I upgrade the OS less often, but am much more willing to fork over the money for it.
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February 20, 2012 12:11:53 PM

CaedenV said:
Well let's think about that for a minute. Can you take the HDD and build a computer out of it, take the mobo and make another computer out of it, take the CPU, etc, etc, etc? MS had to choose to define what a computer was, and they decided that 'in general' a PC product is a mobo and it's case because those are the 2 parts which are least likely to fail, and most likely to only be replaced when doing a very significant change to your computer. HDDs come and go, Ram gets swapped out all the time, CPUs get upgraded, allong with add-on cards, power supplies fail, but mobos generally last a long time (unless you are as lucky as me lol), and cases are generally provided by the manufacturer and are proprietary to their mobos. The key is tied to the mobo, and then physically attached (and damndably difficult to remove) to the case. If that license sticker is removed/damaged then there goes your physical licence.

You did not buy Windows when you bought your laptop, you bought a laptop that had windows on it. It is not MS's fault that you broke your laptop, nor is it their fault that your screen is expensive. If you get rid of your laptop then you are getting rid of that copy of the OS, just like you are getting rid of a perfectly good mobo, power supply, and other parts. There comes a time to stop belly aching, spend $100, and just get what you need. If you cannot afford it there are tons of great Linux distros out there which are free and work great (I have fallen in love with Fedora). Another option is to move to the Beta side of things and run win8 (which I have on 2 netbooks at the moment and it works pretty good for being a dev build... cant wait for beta to come out later this month). But we have thoroughly answered your question.

You can get a copy of your install discs from the manufacturer, it generally costs $20 if you order them when you buy the computer, or $30-50 to get them after the fact. They do not give them out for free or by request, and it still does not help your situation whatsoever.




No they did not have to do any of those things listed in the first paragraph they could continue to distribute a one computer at a time copy with a license like they did for consumer computers sold with DOS and Windows 3.1. I specifically asked for my windows CD's with the purchase of the computer, and was told they would be sent by Gateway, They never sent me those or the drivers disk just numerous restore disks filled with bloatware. I had to Hijack and edit a huge ammount out of the disk they gave me to make another to install with without that crap. I am not getting rid of that laptop I am using one of the few remaining viable parts of it. (Motherboard has issues due to the screen having feed back. Its not completely dead but when you boot with a secondary video screen you are likely to get a bluescreen or hard reboot from the weird voltages the screen is/has been returning to it. The processor is a soldered on component of the motherboard most atoms are, it might in theory be removable and reusable on something else but the odds of desoldering it and resoldering it by hand on something without thermally damaging it are slim at best and I had a number of years of doing component level repair for the airforce, I can't imagine that anyone really does it successfully with atoms on a regular basis.) The actual reusable parts of this computer are the optical and disk USB drives, the Harddrive, the wireless NIC and only because its a psuedo-daughter board that is easy to remove from the main motherboard, and perhaps the ram though what I would use a 2 gig stick of slow laptop ddr2 for is unlikely. The only place where the operating system in its entirety is loaded is the Harddrive, and perhaps the optical disk if the install disk counts. How can it be tied to a case that never holds any information, or a motherboard that is basically just a back plane with an I/O and memory controller. I think the real problem here is that the end licensing agreements were allowed to be changed by legislators that had no clue how things worked.

I bought the USE of a single copy of their operating system, when I purchased that laptop. I am currently unable to use that copy through no fault of my own, (Neighbors knocked the computer off of catwalk onto pavement.) Since I am using parts of that computer namely the harddrive which mainly contains the operating system, I see very little reason why I would be violating any reasonable terms of use. They gave out copies of everything software wise installed on the computer for decades, they suddenly in about 1998 or 1999 decided to stop and start including retarded arsed restore disks that you have to put onto another system and edit the crap out of to not get bloat ware out the arse any longer. Recently they have been getting away from that and just putting restore partitions and the hard drives and wanting to charge you for restore disks saying you can make your own copy when you first start the machine if you want one. Why this practice changed for the cost of a mass produced CD or DVD(about 15 cents) I will never be able to fathom but appearently most of the public simply accepts it and feels it is wonderful to have control of their own devices and software taken away from them by the distributors.
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a b D Laptop
a b $ Windows 7
February 20, 2012 2:58:44 PM

Restoring/reinstalling the operating system only requires 2 things: (1) a Copy of windows 7. Can be upgrade, OEM, or Retail only requirement is that it is the same in terms of 32 bit or 64 bit. May be a copy for a 2nd computer, can be begged, borrowed, or OOPS NO not stolen. And (2) Have the Activation key for the laptop.

My new samsung RF711 came with restore partiton and stated to make my own restore. To me No biggy. I did copy the restore partition to a usb thumbdrive. When I janked the HDD out and replaced with a SSD I Used my Upgrade win 7 installation disk for my desk top, Installed Win 7 using custom Install. when Happy with installation I entered the Key for the LAPTOP and activated. As to Having to jump thru hoops to avoid bloatware, could not be farther from the truth. After installation I ran their "restore utility which asked which drivers and software I wanted to import to the Installation.

For my Toshibia laptops, I do the same thing - Grab one of my windows disk, install, BUT use the Toshibia activation key. NO bloatware installed.

When you bought the laptop, the OEM Version of windows is a LOW cost/volume discounted edition and as such has the restriction on use. While indivduals may Buy a OEM version it is higher priced than bulk orders, but has the same restrictions. So far uSoft has been unable to disconinue individual sales, But they did tighten the moving from one MB to a 2nd MB, by addiing the "Not for Upgrading, MB must be Dead" (quotes are my interputation, not exact words).

Does not matter whoes fault, and no matter how much yelling/shouting, ranting and raving, nor cryng in ones beer will change this. Only way is if a HUGH number of users stopped buyin - yea this will occur about the same time as pigs sprout wings and flies.

Bottom line - Install using a copy of Windows, insert Your laptop key. If accepted Fine, if you get that message to call then Call and explain!!
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February 20, 2012 8:27:25 PM

Getting it to work isn't the problem.... I can get it to work, the question is how legally I can get it to work. If nothing else I can use my school issued copy of windows 7 to give myself a valid license, but I prefer to use those for computers built and sold.
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February 21, 2012 2:40:03 AM

Maxor1 said:
I've priced the screen and they want to charge around $130 for it, I can do a screen replace but at this point am more willing to buy a new motherboard, faster processor and ram for the same amount since the laptop has been replaced. I will also have a conventional hard drive in the machine but I don't really see any reason to dispose of a perfectly functional 350 gig hard drive if I don't have to and its not that slow. Why would it be illegal for me to use that copy of windows as it would still be on the machine that gateway originally installed it on? I get that I wouldn't be able to put it onto another computer hard drive other than where it was initially installed but as long as I keep it on the same equipment it came on I shouldn't be considered as changing it.



Okay, I experienced that before my friend, that copy of windows on that HDD is solely for the laptop. Upon booting windows it will prompt you "wrong machine" cannot continue booting. WHY? because the drivers like, sound drivers, ethernet drivers, video driver(iGPU), USB driver, chipset controller driver, they are all installed and set up in that copy of windows for that laptop's hardware. That copy of windows is tied to that laptop, mainly the Motherboard.
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March 4, 2012 12:45:53 PM

Best answer selected by Maxor1.
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a b D Laptop
a c 395 $ Windows 7
March 4, 2012 12:54:24 PM

This topic has been closed by Area51reopened
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