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When Can You Move a Windows License to a New PC

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When Can You Move a Windows License

Transferring a Windows license is not something most people worry about since you get a new pre-installed Windows license whenever you buy a new PC. Here we need to understand that transferring a Windows license is a lot different from moving a Windows installation to a new PC. Also, it’s a bit difficult to achieve and one can always get a new Windows license for a new computer. But if you already own a valid license and come across a problem with your installation there is no need to buy a new one. You can always transfer it to your new PC. In most cases, you will need to transfer your Windows license if

  1. You want to build a computer from scratch
  2. Your motherboard is not working and you need to replace it
  3. You have installed Windows in Boot Camp on Mac and you want to move Windows to another Mac
  4. Your computer died and you want to upgrade Windows on a computer running on a previous version.

A License Can Only Be Installed on One PC at a Time

Microsoft has the policy to ensure that one license is only installed on one computer at a time. This means that whatever license you have you can only install it on one computer at a time. If you want to move your license to a new computer you are required to remove it from the first computer. The easiest way to do that is to wipe you PC’s hard drive or you can simply uninstall the key from your operating Windows.

Compensation is given to large organizations so that they can acquire volume licenses to activate multiple computers with the same license key.

Replacing a Motherboard Because It’s Broken

Windows allows you to upgrade hardware components without any issues, including the graphics card, RAM, and hard drive. But if you have to replace your computer’s motherboard Windows will give you a hard time. Windows considers your new motherboard as a new computer and will deactivate itself. The solution to this problem is to move your Windows installation to the new computer with the new motherboard.

Moving a Preinstalled License to a New PC

When you get a new computer it comes with a pre-installed license and that particular license will stick to it forever. There’s no exception to this, aside from the exception of replacing the computer’s motherboard if it failed. So you can’t ever move a pre-installed license to a new PC unless you first uninstall it.

Moving “OEM” or “System Builder” License to a New PC

In case you are building your own computer and you buy a “system builder” or “OEM” license of windows that OEM license will be tied to the first computer it will be installed on. This is because the license becomes associated with that motherboard. The license agreement prohibits you from installing the system builder license on a new computer. But this is not always the case. While your System Builder license will likely fail to activate when you enter the product key on a second computer, there may be a way around this.

If the product key fails you can always employ other methods to activate your Windows license. For example, you can use Microsoft’s automated phone system to activate your copy of Windows. 

Author: Ayesha Siddique is a mechanical engineering student currently in her junior year. She has an obsession for automobiles and makeup.
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