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Hardware upgrades with 64-bit Windows 7 and its activations. RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello.

    I do hardware upgrades every year or so (two for major ones like motherboard, CPU, RAM, etc.). I read that this will cause 64-bit Windows 7's activation to become unhappy and requires reactivation like in XP.

    Questions:

    1. Is Windows 7 the same or more stricter?

    2. Does it matter if it which edition, retail, or OEM?

    3. Are there a limited numbers of doing these hardware changes and reactivations?

    Thank you in advance. :)


    Ant @ Ant's Quality Foraged Links (http://aqfl.net) and The Ant Farm (http://antfarm.ma.cx).
    Sunday, November 13, 2011 12:12 PM

Answers

  • "Ant Dude" wrote in message news:84757789-24c6-4cd6-8511-64fd7a4da093...

    Hello.

    I do hardware upgrades every year or so (two for major ones like motherboard, CPU, RAM, etc.). I read that this will cause 64-bit Windows 7's activation to become unhappy and requires reactivation like in XP.

    Questions:

    1. Is Windows 7 the same or more stricter?

    2. Does it matter if it which edition, retail, or OEM?

    3. Are there a limited numbers of doing these hardware changes and reactivations?

    Thank you in advance. :)


    Ant @ Ant's Quality Foraged Links (http://aqfl.net) and The Ant Farm (http://antfarm.ma.cx).
     
    1) Win 7 is considerably less restrictive than XP – about the only thing that it WILL object to is a change in motherboard, The rest is pretty much up for grabs Note that occasionally updating the chipset drivers will also cause a request for re-activation.
    2) OEM Licenses (as they always have been) are limited to activation on the first motherboard on which they are activated – unless it’s a replacement under warranty conditions. Retail licenses can be moved freely-  but expect to have to make a phone call to MS every time you move the license to a new M/B, and expect the old license to be invalidated when you  do.
     
    3) I have no idea what you mean :)
     
     

    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    • Marked as answer by Darin Smith MS Tuesday, November 15, 2011 11:01 PM
    Sunday, November 13, 2011 4:22 PM
    Moderator
  • Yes, there is a system in place that will cause reactivation once a number of changes are made.  They are flags rather than counters.  Changing the video card, for example, will set that flag.  After that you can change the video card as often as you want but since the flag is already set it makes no difference.  Once enough hardware items have been changed to trigger reactivation all flags are reset.  In sum, it is not how many changes you make as much as it is how many different items you change.

    The hardware items that affect reactivation are weighted, so changing some have more of an effect than others.  Items that matter include the system hard drive, NIC, CPU, first optical drive, memory, etc.  Items that don't matter are additional hard drives, second video card, second NIC, usb devices, firewire devices, keyboard, mouse, monitors, other external devices, case, power supply, etc.

    The motherboard is sufficient by itself to trigger reactivation and always will.  A new motherboard is defined by Microsoft as constituting a new computer for licensing purposes. 

    I don't recall seeing the weighting system published anywhere so I can't tell you what combinations trigger reactivation.  I know I have never triggered reactivation with any combination of changes that did not involve a mobo.


    Colin Barnhorst Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on DIY with 6GB ram.

    Sunday, November 13, 2011 9:56 PM
    Answerer

All replies

  • "Ant Dude" wrote in message news:84757789-24c6-4cd6-8511-64fd7a4da093...

    Hello.

    I do hardware upgrades every year or so (two for major ones like motherboard, CPU, RAM, etc.). I read that this will cause 64-bit Windows 7's activation to become unhappy and requires reactivation like in XP.

    Questions:

    1. Is Windows 7 the same or more stricter?

    2. Does it matter if it which edition, retail, or OEM?

    3. Are there a limited numbers of doing these hardware changes and reactivations?

    Thank you in advance. :)


    Ant @ Ant's Quality Foraged Links (http://aqfl.net) and The Ant Farm (http://antfarm.ma.cx).
     
    1) Win 7 is considerably less restrictive than XP – about the only thing that it WILL object to is a change in motherboard, The rest is pretty much up for grabs Note that occasionally updating the chipset drivers will also cause a request for re-activation.
    2) OEM Licenses (as they always have been) are limited to activation on the first motherboard on which they are activated – unless it’s a replacement under warranty conditions. Retail licenses can be moved freely-  but expect to have to make a phone call to MS every time you move the license to a new M/B, and expect the old license to be invalidated when you  do.
     
    3) I have no idea what you mean :)
     
     

    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    • Marked as answer by Darin Smith MS Tuesday, November 15, 2011 11:01 PM
    Sunday, November 13, 2011 4:22 PM
    Moderator
  • Yes, there is a system in place that will cause reactivation once a number of changes are made.  They are flags rather than counters.  Changing the video card, for example, will set that flag.  After that you can change the video card as often as you want but since the flag is already set it makes no difference.  Once enough hardware items have been changed to trigger reactivation all flags are reset.  In sum, it is not how many changes you make as much as it is how many different items you change.

    The hardware items that affect reactivation are weighted, so changing some have more of an effect than others.  Items that matter include the system hard drive, NIC, CPU, first optical drive, memory, etc.  Items that don't matter are additional hard drives, second video card, second NIC, usb devices, firewire devices, keyboard, mouse, monitors, other external devices, case, power supply, etc.

    The motherboard is sufficient by itself to trigger reactivation and always will.  A new motherboard is defined by Microsoft as constituting a new computer for licensing purposes. 

    I don't recall seeing the weighting system published anywhere so I can't tell you what combinations trigger reactivation.  I know I have never triggered reactivation with any combination of changes that did not involve a mobo.


    Colin Barnhorst Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on DIY with 6GB ram.

    Sunday, November 13, 2011 9:56 PM
    Answerer
  • I don't think Win7 uses the same system as XP at all - for details of the early XP Activation methodology, look here.....

    http://aumha.org/win5/a/wpa.htm

    As far as I know, the rigidity of that scheme of things was abandoned with the advent of OEM_SLP type activation - and I think that it's only the motherboard and its drivers that are monitored nowadays (which includes the onboard NIC and graphics, if applicable).  Unfortunately, the writer of that article died before Vista went into Beta, as I'm sure he'd have loved to do a similar one for Vista/Win7.

     

     

     


    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    Sunday, November 13, 2011 10:26 PM
    Moderator
  • What I find funny is that Microsoft sees hardware changes as software agreement violations. Thats like my auto insurance refusing to pay because I changed the engine in my car. They are independant of each other and to say otherwise is just one more way to get more money.

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011 6:52 PM
  • It's very easy to change the 'appearance' of hardware using software - if you've not noticed that, tehn you have a visual problem :)

    MS has to make pre=emptive decisions on what is, and is not, allowed. Every now and then tehy will get it wrong. and that is why they have the option for Telephone Activation - so that a human element comes in and can override the purely techincal evaluation that is all that software can do.

     


    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    Wednesday, November 16, 2011 7:00 PM
    Moderator
  • The issue only affects those with OEM licenses of Windows since retail licenses are transferrable anyway.  The official explantation is at the OEM website at

    http://www.microsoft.com/OEM/en/licensing/sblicensing/Pages/licensing_faq.aspx

    Q. Can a PC with an OEM Windows operating system have its motherboard upgraded and keep the same license? What if it was replaced because it was defective?

    A. Generally, an end user can upgrade or replace all of the hardware components on a computer—except the motherboard—and still retain the license for the original Microsoft OEM operating system software. If the motherboard is upgraded or replaced for reasons other than a defect, then a new computer has been created. Microsoft OEM operating system software cannot be transferred to the new computer, and the license of new operating system software is required. If the motherboard is replaced because it is defective, you do not need to acquire a new operating system license for the PC as long as the replacement motherboard is the same make/model or the same manufacturer's replacement/equivalent, as defined by the manufacturer's warranty.

    The reason for this licensing rule primarily relates to the End User Software License Terms and the support of the software covered by that End User Software License Terms. The End User Software License Terms is a set of usage rights granted to the end user by the PC manufacturer and relates only to rights for that software as installed on that particular PC. The system builder is required to support the software on the original PC. Understanding that end users, over time, upgrade their PCs with different components, Microsoft needed to have one base component "left standing" that would still define the original PC. Since the motherboard contains the CPU and is the "heart and soul" of the PC, when the motherboard is replaced (for reasons other than defect) a new PC is essentially created. The original system builder did not manufacture this new PC, and therefore cannot be expected to support it. 

    Of course the real reason is probably that a person pays only a fraction for OEM Windows compared to what he would have paid at retail so it is reasonable that Microsoft restricts OEM licenses in this way.


    Colin Barnhorst Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on DIY with 6GB ram.
    Wednesday, November 16, 2011 7:18 PM
    Answerer