Transferring XP licence to a new machine RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi. I have an XP Genuine Advantage CD that I used to install Windows on an old PC, which suffered catastrophic failure and was broken for parts.

    I now want to use the CD on a new PC, but the Genuine Advantage checker says that the software is already registered - how do I transfer the licence to my new PC?
    Monday, September 15, 2008 3:01 PM


  • Crash Dark,

    Here is some information about licensing for you to review. It's really helpful when it comes to understanding how licensing and versions work. The second piece is information you can use to telephone activate if you are within the bounds of your End User License Agreement.

    Thank you for visiting the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program forum.  The purpose of this forum is the support of the WGA program.  Your question is off topic as well as outside my area of knowledge. I would like to provide some information which may help. There are two types of licenses for XP that consumers will encounter. Retail (aka the full version product), and OEM (original equipment manufacturer product).

    Retail licenses may be moved from one computer to another, as long as the license is activated on one computer at a time and as long as the previous installation of the license is removed from the previously licensed computer.

    OEM licenses for XP are tied to the first computer onto which they are installed and the license is not permitted to be moved on any other computer.  For the purposes of defining what a computer is, since a computer is really just a collection of parts, Microsoft has established that the motherboard is the base or "defining" component, and the OEM license is permanently tied to the motherboard.

    There is one exception. If a motherboard becomes defective, you are permitted to change it and reinstall your OEM XP license to it.  You should replace it with an identical board or the manufacturer's designated replacement. OEM licenses obtained thru a major manufacturer that uses SLP technology set the recovery or repair CD to look for certain bits in the BIOS of the official manufacturer's motherboards.  If such bits are not found, as they would not be if you replaced the defective board with one not from the original computer manufacturer, then the CD will refuse to install XP. The correct thing to do in these cases is to install XP using a genuine system builder/OEM Microsoft Windows XP CD-ROM, which does not have the SLP technology.  When installing, be sure to use the Product Key on the Certificate of Authenticity affixed to the computer, and NOT the Product Key that came with the CD-ROM. (Note that retail and Volume License CDs will NOT accept OEM product keys, returning an "invalid product key" error.)  Finally, when installation is complete, do a Telephonic Activation because the OEM PK on the COA will not be accepted by the automated online activation system.  If the automated telephone system also refuses activation, choose the option to speak with an activation rep and explain that you are replacing a defective motherboard and cannot use the manufacturer-supplied recovery CD-ROM.

    One does not "lose their license" for XP if the motherboard becomes defective and has to be replaced.  If the computer owner chooses to use, or because of availability is forced to use, a board that is not a direct or identical replacement, there has to be a mechanism to accommodate these circumstances, and that is why a telephonic activation is authorized.

    Note that if the computer owner decides to replace the motherboard for performance reasons or to add features or new technology, the defective exception is NOT applicable and a new license for XP is required to be purchased. A clean installation destroys all data on the hard disk, so be sure to back up any valuable email, pictures, docs, music, etc that you cannot afford to lose.

    Additional Information:

    For licensing questions, please call 1-800-426-9400 (select option 4), Monday through Friday, 6:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. (PST) to speak directly to a Microsoft licensing specialist.

    Volume licensing customers can use the Microsoft Volume Licensing site to find contact information in their locations. See the following link:



    Your issue is related to Windows Product Activation.  The purpose of this forum is the support of the WGA program and your question falls out of the scope for our support. In an attempt to assist I would like to provide some information which may or may not help. I do suggest trying to activate using the “Activate by Phone” method from the activation Wizard. Telephone numbers for Activation Centers vary by product license and country/region. Use the number provided on your Activation Wizard screen to call the Microsoft Activation Center.  Please follow the below guidance for telephone activation for activating Windows. 

    To contact a Microsoft customer service representative to activate Windows by phone, follow these steps:


    Click Start,  All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then Activate Windows.

    Or, click the Windows Activation icon in the taskbar notification area next to the clock.


    Click Yes, I want to telephone a customer service representative to activate Windows now.


    Click Read the Windows Product Activation Privacy Statement, click Back, and then click Next.


    Follow the steps in the “Activate Windows by phone” dialog box, and then click Next.

    Note The number appears now and differs based on the location that you select.


    When activation is completed and you receive the following message:

    You have successfully activated your copy of Windows

    Then click OK.

    For more information on how to activate Windows XP see the following link:


    Also you may reference the following site for various telephone activation centers:


    Here is the website for international support and the contact information:


    After you finish the above steps please restart the computer and try to validate Windows again. See the following link:


    Please locate the “Validate Windows” button in the upper right hand corner. Double click on the button and follow the guidance. We hope this information was helpful for you. 

    Rick, MS

    • Marked as answer by RickImAPC Monday, September 15, 2008 4:01 PM
    Monday, September 15, 2008 4:01 PM