Can I re-use DELL Windows license with a repaired computer? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have a DELL Dimension 4600 computer.  When I bought this computer, I paid extra for Windows XP Professional and MS Works Suite 2005 with Microsoft Word.  And of course I have all of the genuine install disks and license papers.  The power supply has now burned out, and apparently destroyed the motherboard, as it will not boot up even with a new one.  So now my options are to buy a new computer, or replace the motherboard. 

    If I buy a new computer, it will come with Vista, which I don't want.  I have looked into purchasing a replacement motherboard, however DELL does not supply this board "new" anymore, only as a "refurbished" part which I don't want.  The amount being charged is also very high for a board that apparently was defective in some way and has now hopefully been repaired.

    Now is there anything wrong from a licensing standpoint if I was to simply purchase a different motherboard from a company like Newegg.com and re-install my existing operating system and application software?  Does it make a difference if I reuse the existing processor, memory, etc, or if I replace these things as well?  This computer is used in a business environment, so I am not interested in having legal or functional problems, but I am also not interested in paying twice for software that is going to be used on the same computer.
    Friday, August 28, 2009 12:50 AM


  • Hello b_cohen,

    Presumably the licenses for XP Pro and Works with Word that came with your Dell are OEM licenses.  OEM licenses are valid ONLY on the computer onto which they are first installed and are not permitted to be moved to any other computer.

    If you use the replacement parts from Dell, you will not be creating a new computer.  You can continue to use the software that came with your Dimension 4600.

    If you use third party parts (motherboard) and replace the processor and memory to gain perfomance or new capability, you are creating a new computer and the OEM licenses are not permitted to be moved to this new computer.

    If you do buy a new computer, if you purchase one with an OEM license for Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate, the OEM licenses for these two editions confer downgrade rights that allow you to run XP Pro in place of Vista.  If this sounds like it might be something of interest, be sure that the computer's manufacturer provides the XP Pro installation media and product key as part of the downgrade package, as these can be difficult to get on your own.
    For great advice on all topics XP, visit http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/winxp
    • Marked as answer by Darin Smith MS Tuesday, September 1, 2009 4:23 PM
    Friday, August 28, 2009 3:42 AM