locked
Activating XP on a second computer? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello all. I spoke to a Microsoft Office Customer Representative a couple of days ago about installing XP on a second computer. While he told me I could not use the same product key that my first computer had, he also said that if I were to disable XP on my first computer, that product key would become usable on my second computer. My question is if I were to install Vista on my first computer, would the old XP product key become usable on my second computer?
    Friday, August 1, 2008 6:40 PM

Answers

  • Hello Fire,

    Thank you for visiting the Microsoft Genuine Advantage Forum.  The purpose of this forum is the support of Windows Genuine Advantage (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 full packaged product), and OEM (original equipment manufacturer).  The best option is always read the End User Licensing Agreement or EULA. This will provide all the deatils pertaining to the version of Windows you currently own. 

    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, the case of a defective motherboard.  If a motherboard becomes defective, you are of course permitted to change it and reinstall your OEM XP license to it.  For reasons stated below, if at all possible, you should replace it with an identical board or the manufacturer's designated replacement.

    The details become sticky when the license was obtained thru a major manufacturer that uses SLP technology, which sets 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 MS XP CDROM, which does not have the SLP technology.  However, 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. (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 CDs.

    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, be sure to back up any valuable email, pix, docs, music, etc that you cannot afford to lose.


    Take care,

    Stephen Holm, MS


    Stephen Holm
    • Marked as answer by Stephen Holm Friday, August 1, 2008 7:09 PM
    Friday, August 1, 2008 7:05 PM

All replies

  • Hello Fire,

    Thank you for visiting the Microsoft Genuine Advantage Forum.  The purpose of this forum is the support of Windows Genuine Advantage (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 full packaged product), and OEM (original equipment manufacturer).  The best option is always read the End User Licensing Agreement or EULA. This will provide all the deatils pertaining to the version of Windows you currently own. 

    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, the case of a defective motherboard.  If a motherboard becomes defective, you are of course permitted to change it and reinstall your OEM XP license to it.  For reasons stated below, if at all possible, you should replace it with an identical board or the manufacturer's designated replacement.

    The details become sticky when the license was obtained thru a major manufacturer that uses SLP technology, which sets 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 MS XP CDROM, which does not have the SLP technology.  However, 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. (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 CDs.

    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, be sure to back up any valuable email, pix, docs, music, etc that you cannot afford to lose.


    Take care,

    Stephen Holm, MS


    Stephen Holm
    • Marked as answer by Stephen Holm Friday, August 1, 2008 7:09 PM
    Friday, August 1, 2008 7:05 PM
  • Fire!,

    If the license for XP is a full retail license, you would indeed be able to move the license from where it is now (the first computer) to the second computer.

    If the license for XP is an OEM license, you would NOT be able to move it to the second computer, since it is permanently "married" to the computer onto which it is first installed.

    But!!!!   If the Vista license you have acquired (or will acquire) is an upgrade license, you will need both the original XP license AND the new Vista Upgrade license to legitimately run Vista on the first computer.  In such as case, you would NOT be able to move the XP license to a new computer (even if it is a full retail license) because it has to remain with the first computer to be the thing that is upgraded by the Vista upgrade.
    For great advice on all topics XP, visit http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/winxp
    Friday, August 1, 2008 7:35 PM