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Vista Activation and hardware changes - What's allowed? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am a PC enthusiast and gamer. I frequently change out hardware components in search of higher frame rates on my favorite games. I purchased a bundle from Intel that included a motherboard, processor, and Windows Vista Ultimate. I recently swapped out the board and processor and tried to reinstall Vista. This triggered a call to India. I was able to reactivate on the phone but I was told that every time I reinstall I will need to call to reactivate.

     

    So here is my question. Under the license agreement do I have the right to upgrade components, including the CPU and motherboard, as long as Vista is running ONLY on one (constantly tinkered with) computer OR is my copy of Vista tied to the original mainboard and/or CPU? XP was a lot less forgiving about upgrades. I am concerned that at some point I will need to buy a new copy of Vista because I went one upgrade too far. Any clarification available?

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007 2:14 PM

Answers

  • From the Microsoft OEM web site: http://oem.microsoft.com/script/contentPage.aspx?pageid=552862

     

    An upgrade of the motherboard is considered to result in a "new personal computer" to which Microsoft OEM operating system software cannot be transferred from another computer. If the motherboard is upgraded or replaced, for reasons other than a defect, then a new computer has been created 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. The replacement motherboard must be the same make/model or the same manufacturer’s replacement/equivalent, as defined by that manufacturer’s warranty.

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007 5:52 PM
    Moderator
  •  Carey Frisch wrote:

     

    If the motherboard is replaced because it is defective, you do not need to acquire a new operating system license for the PC. The replacement motherboard must be the same make/model or the same manufacturer’s replacement/equivalent, as defined by that manufacturer’s warranty.

     

    Just a side note to Carey's post:  If you (the end user) built the computer, yourself, then you are the "Manufacturer". Therefore, if you (the Manufacturer) change out the motherboard, you are still able to use the same Vista license.

     

    Thank you,

    Darin Smith

    WGA Forum Manager

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007 9:19 PM

All replies

  • Wednesday, November 28, 2007 2:40 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for the link to the FAQ. I am still confused about what constitues an OEM versus retail copy of Vista. I built my own machine and the OS came as part of a bundle with a motherboard and processor. So, is the copy of VISTA I have irrevocably linked to the original motherboard?

    The question really becomes whether or not the copy of Vista in the Intel bundle I purchased counts as "retail." If so, then I can transfer it to other hardware. Yet, on the phone the nice lady told me that whenever I re-install, even if I don't make any further hardware changes, that I would have to call the activation line. This is a relatively minor inconvenience but those of you who like to tinker will recognize that having to call every time you re-install the system is still a bit of a bother. Happily the phone activation system is available 24 hours per day. Still this policy does not seem to "gamer friendly" in my opinion.
    Wednesday, November 28, 2007 4:54 PM
  • From the Microsoft OEM web site: http://oem.microsoft.com/script/contentPage.aspx?pageid=552862

     

    An upgrade of the motherboard is considered to result in a "new personal computer" to which Microsoft OEM operating system software cannot be transferred from another computer. If the motherboard is upgraded or replaced, for reasons other than a defect, then a new computer has been created 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. The replacement motherboard must be the same make/model or the same manufacturer’s replacement/equivalent, as defined by that manufacturer’s warranty.

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007 5:52 PM
    Moderator
  •  Carey Frisch wrote:

     

    If the motherboard is replaced because it is defective, you do not need to acquire a new operating system license for the PC. The replacement motherboard must be the same make/model or the same manufacturer’s replacement/equivalent, as defined by that manufacturer’s warranty.

     

    Just a side note to Carey's post:  If you (the end user) built the computer, yourself, then you are the "Manufacturer". Therefore, if you (the Manufacturer) change out the motherboard, you are still able to use the same Vista license.

     

    Thank you,

    Darin Smith

    WGA Forum Manager

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007 9:19 PM
  •  

    Well, I find myself in a similar place. I'm building myself a new computer. I decided not to bring my retail Windows to the new computer, and, instead, buy a new copy. With this in mind, the requirement of not being able to transfer the OEM version to a new computer didn't seem unreasonable to me.

     

    Now, though, with everything at hand, I discover my CPU of choice got backordered. I'm wondering if I can safely put in a cheap processor just to get the system running while I wait for my order to arrive, and then replace it.

     

    If I had the retail version of Windows, I'd do it without a second thought. I'd expect a reactivation later, but I'd be confident it would be allowed. With the OEM version... I'm just not sure. And this is not the sole upgrade I'm planning for it. The motherboard itself will be unchanged, but I'm adding a second video board later on (maybe sooner than later), I'll replace the memory as soon as the price falls for the faster dual channel ones (until then I'll use cheap memory), and I'll add more disks in a year or so.

     

    So, that's my question. Does the license -- and, generally speaking, Microsoft -- allows me to put in a cheap dual core CPU and later (about a month) replace it with an expensive quad core without much more fussle than an reactivation, or not?

    Monday, May 19, 2008 7:52 PM
  • Dan

    If you read Carey's and Darin's responses above again, you'll see that what you propose is well within your rights in OEM as the system builder.

    It's only when the motherboard is replaced that the situation gets complicated - but as 'System Builder' you have the full rights to mod the whole system if you want.

     

    HTH


    Noel Paton | CrashFixPC | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi | www.crashfixpc.co.uk
    Thursday, May 20, 2010 6:55 AM
    Moderator