Sunday, January 6, 2008

WinXp License Question: Reinstalling Windows XP on a new PC or Hardware

I have a Genuine Windows XP Home Edition which I had got last year. You can read my earlier post (in wordpress blog) on this topic.

Now, I am planning to get a laptop for my wife, which has FreeDOS installed on it. So, I have been thinking of uninstalling Windows XP from my desktop (I will have linux alone on my desktop) and install Windows XP on the new laptop that I intend to buy. Basically, my wife cannot live without Windows and I can live happily with Linux (I occasionally use Windows.. I love it too.).

Now, I read it somewhere that Windows forms a complex key (called a Installation ID) using 10 different hardware components on the installed PC and then activates Windows using the same. The idea is to ensure that we do not install Windows on multiple PC (this is for a single license windows). So, I install the same Windows on a second PC, Microsoft can talk to second instance of Windows on the new PC and will come to know that its a different hardware.

So, I started wondering if uninstalling WinXP from my desktop and installing it again on Laptop would make Microsoft think that my Windows XP is a pirated version. I was worried if they would blacklist my genuine windows thinking it is actually a pirated one.

I started searching the net to find out if I can go ahead and transfer my Windows XP to a new hardware (laptop in my case) without any licensing issues.

Searching Google did not get me any relevant results. So, I thought let me chat with Microsoft Customer Support to get this answered.

This is what I asked Customer Support.
I have a doubt on windows xp license. Can I uninstall winxp from my old hardware and install it on a new PC. Will the license still be valid ?
And this is what the Customer Rep had to say.
Please note that, the End User License Agreement (EULA) for Windows XP stipulates that this software or product can be only installed on a single computer. If you wish to install it on a second computer, please purchase an additional license for Windows XP. However, you can uninstall it from the old Hard Drive and you can install it on new Harddrive without purchasing additional license.
The Rep also told me that.
I recommend that you contact Microsoft Product Activation Team at the following toll free number: (888) 571-2048. They are available 24 hours per day.
You see the entire chat conversation by clicking on the below image.

I also checked the Windows XP Product Activation page and this is what they have to say (refer the red colored font quoted below).

Product Activation Overview

Microsoft Product Activation is an anti-piracy technology designed to verify that software products have been legitimately licensed. This aims to reduce a form of piracy known as casual copying. Activation also helps protect against hard drive cloning. Activation is quick, simple, and unobtrusive, and it protects your privacy.

Product Activation works by verifying that a software program's product key has not been used on more personal computers than intended by the software's license. You must use the product key in order to install the software and then it is transformed into an installation ID number. You use an activation wizard to provide the installation ID number to Microsoft either through a secure transfer over the Internet, or by telephone. A confirmation ID is sent back to your machine to activate your product.

The installation ID number includes an encrypted form of the product ID and a hardware hash, or checksum. None of the information collected during product activation will be used to personally identify you. The confirmation ID is simply an unlocking code for the Windows XP installation on that particular PC.

If you overhaul your computer by replacing a substantial number of hardware components, it may appear to be a different PC. You may have to reactivate Windows XP. If this should occur, you can call the telephone number displayed on the activation screen to reactivate the software.

So basically, this answers my question.

You can reinstall WinXP on a new hardware (harddrive) after uninstalling the same from the old hardware (harddrive). I would be asked to reactivate Windows XP and I may be required to call Microsoft.

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