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Can I migrate my windows 7 (upgrade) license/key to a new computer?

    Question

  • I purchased Windows 7 home premium. My current computer runs XP, so I was planning on upgrading it to Windows 7. However, in a few months I plan to building a new computer.
    When I get the new computer can I de-activate windows 7 off my current machine and move it to my new machine? If so, what are the steps I should follow?
    Sunday, October 25, 2009 5:44 AM

All replies

  • Yes, you can do it.

    Just install Windows XP on the new computer and install the Windows 7 upgarde on the new computer.

    Then, please format/delete Windows 7 on the old computer.

    Hope it helps.
    Monday, October 26, 2009 5:45 AM
  • My current computer runs XP....
    Is that XP license a retail (and thus migratable) license?  If so then you can legitimately/legally migrate the upgrade license to a new PC later on.  When you perform a license upgrade, the resultant installation 'inherits' the legal obligations pertaining to the qualifying license used to qualify your upgrade.

    If the XP license you have is an OEM preinstalled or an OEM System Builder license, then it and the Windows 7 upgrade is 'tied' to the machine it was first installed and activated on.  (Robinson Zhang, methinks you'd best go consult with your company's legal department befoire making such blanket claims in future! :))



    Coorsleftfield, there is no 'practical' mechanism to prevent you from using the upgrade on anew machine in the future, if you have upgraded from an OEM license.  You would be able to, in a practical sense, install and use a fully operational Windows 7 installation.  But the technalities of the legal agreements involved would render it (technically) an installation which was not legitimately licensed.



    I would not believe, though, that in such a circumstance it would ever be likely that the 'copyright police' would ever come knocking on your door! 
    • Proposed as answer by Techwrighter Monday, October 26, 2009 5:54 AM
    Monday, October 26, 2009 5:54 AM
  • Do you need to deactivate the license or something?  If I just re-use the same upgrade key that was installed previously wont that make it so I can't validate the new install?
    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 2:31 AM
  • Do you need to deactivate the license or something?
    Deactivation of the previous install is NOT required.  You only encounter an obligation to discontinue using and remove the previous install.  It is an "on your honour" obligation.  There is no practical mechanism to check and enforce compliance.  Such a thing would be cumbersome and would potentially create problems for many legitimate users.  It is impractical to include such a thing.


    If an inadequate amount of time has elapsed since the most recent installation/activation using that particular install key code then, in your new intall, automatic activation is likely to fail.  In such a circumstance you would need only use the telephone manual activation provisions.  Choose telephone activation.  Wait until you are presented with handset keypress options following the failure of automatic telephone activation.  choose the option to speak with an activation centre staff person.  Then you get stepped through the procedure for manually entering the activation code you will be provided with.



    It is pertinent to understand that the various mechanisms used by Microsoft are not, and cannot possibly be, 100% foolproof licensing enforcement mechanisms.  Instead they are deterrents to casual piracy. 
    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 3:02 AM
  • I believe the upgrade keys are always migratable, even if the machine it's used on had an OEM license. The new machine simply has to have a license for Windows as well.

    Thus, if you had machine A with OEM license 1, and machine B with Retail license 2; you could migrate the upgrade license from A to B or vice-versa.

    I've not read anything that says using an upgrade key on an OEM license adds OEM restrictions to the upgrade license.
    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 4:07 AM
  • Techwrighter, would you say what Seth Henry wrote is correct? It kind of relates to my question below.

    I have two retail versions of windows; one Vista, one XP. I have ordered an upgrade version of windows 7 but I can't decide which retail license I want to install it against.

    So, is the upgrade license tied to the what you first use it with or can you later upgrade another windows license and free up the first one to be as if it were never upgraded?
    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 2:31 PM
  • "Techwrighter, would you say what Seth Henry wrote is correct? It kind of relates to my question below."


    Bean83, I believe Seth Henry is partially correct in that, if you have initially used the license upgrade pack to 'upgrade' an OEM Windows license, there's nothing in the user agreement to prevent you from later reusing it on a different machine to again upgrade a different Windows license.  If you have 'upgraded' an OEM Windows license initially, you obviously cannot legitimately transfer the combination of the original OEM (qualifying) license and the new retail (upgrade) license to a new machine.  That original OEM license was tied to the original machine, so it cannot legitimately be again used to 'qualify' the upgrade install on a different machine.

    But the upgrade pack will 'work' just fine if you later discontinue using it on the original machine, and reuse it to install/upgrade a new machine.  Is that legitimate usage?  Microsoft's legal people would have to provide the answer to that question methinks.  We are here very much getting into 'grey areas', and the answers given in forums like this are far too often simply regurgitations of the 'official party line' ____ rubbish which assumess that anyone and everyone is ever and always going to follow Microsoft's 'recommended' procedures and pathways.


    Remember, please, that the confusions here stem from the concept of 'legitimacy'.  If the question is simply a practical one of "will it work?" then the answer is "yes".    Goodness me, if the qualifying OEM license hasn't been installed/activated recently it'd almost certainly install/activate/validate on a new machine again, in contravention of the licensing agreement.  But it wouldn't have the legitimacy/legality status of licensing, in a sense which would stand up to challenge in a court of law.

    Those 'grey areas' of licensing present more questions than answers, I'm afraid.  And much of it has not been tested in courts of law so we can't really have definitive answers.

    The two pertinent  'questions' remaining unresolved, as I see it, are:

    * Can the license upgrade be legitimately reused to upgrade a different qualifying license later on?
    * After using the upgrade pack to upgrade an existing license, can that installation be legitimately transferred to a different machine later on, irrespective of what license was used to qualify the upgrade?


    "I have two retail versions of windows; one Vista, one XP. I have ordered an upgrade version of windows 7 but I can't decide which retail license I want to install it against.

    So, is the upgrade license tied to the what you first use it with or can you later upgrade another windows license and free up the first one to be as if it were never upgraded?
    "

    Difficult question.  I don't believe, for a second, that there is a permanent record kept of what you have used and what you have used it with, but the EULA is quite clear that the license originally used to qualify the upgrade is (legally) rendered void in the process.  So it becomes a scenario of "Yes, it will work, but no, you're not allowed to anyway."


    In your circumstance I would suggest adopting the following approach:

    * Use your upgrade pack to install cleanly to your machine, using one of the 'clean install workarounds' mentioned here:

    http://www.winsupersite.com/win7/clean_install_upgrade_media.asp

    * Use that install exclusively for a while, to assess it and determine which of your previous licenses you wish to retain.  (Remember, you have the capacity to install without even entering a product key, or install with your product key but not activate for 30 days.  Use up as much of your 30 day grace period as you need to do your testing and make your decision, then assign the install key to your new install and/or activate it, and then shelve the product you've decided to deem the 'qualifying' one and retain it as physical proof of entitlement.

    By doing things that way you'd have met both your practical and legal requirements/obligations.  You'd also have successfully bypassed the 'grey areas' of legitimacy mentioned above, because you wouldn't actually be using the upgrade with two different and consecutive qualifying licenses.

    It is perfectly proper to adopt this approach, by the way.  It is not actually 'necessary' to install with a previous qualifying install present on the machine.  That's a suggested procedure, not a mandatory legality.  Clean install with an upgrade is very often performed in the corporate world, where volume licensing is ever and always 'upgrade' licensing.  More often than not corporate machines get imaged with a 'clean install' image, despite the volume licensing being 'upgrade' licensing.  The legitimacy of the end-result is determined by the ownership and discontinuation of use of the qualifying product, not the deployment method used to install!




    Sorry that all so wordy and convoluted.  As said, it's all somewhat 'grey area'.  In a nutshell, my suggestion is:

    * It's possible to copmpletely 'clean install' with the upgrade pack, so do so.
    * Refrain from using either potential 'qualifying license' until you've made your decision which to use.
    * When you've decided which previous version to use as qualifying license, deem it the qualifying one and remove it from any machine it may still be installed on.


    cheers
    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 10:16 PM
  • Yes, you can do it.

    Just install Windows XP on the new computer and install the Windows 7 upgarde on the new computer.

    Then, please format/delete Windows 7 on the old computer.

    Hope it helps.

    Hi,
    I am not sure if this is true so I did an experiment.
    I bought an upgrade of W7 Home Premium upgrade during the preorder period and installed on one of my computers using the Product Key come with it.  I was pretty happy about Windows 7 so I bought another upgrade family pack (for three computers).  Using the disk of the single pack upgrade, I installed it on a second computer I have.  Installation went fine.  However, when I try to activate it using the old Product Key, I got a reply saying it had been used for activation so I cannot activate the second computer.  Then I entered the Product Key from the family pack.  It was activated successfully.  Now the question is that if I want move my license from one computer to another, it looks like that I will need to deactivate the previous installation.  Can you tell me is there a way do that?  (There were some suggestions using deactivation keys but I don't see that officially from Microsoft.)  Thanks
    Sunday, November 22, 2009 5:57 AM
  • My experience showed that one do need to deactivate the previous installation as I described in my previous post.  Did I misses something?  Hope someone can let me know.
    Sunday, November 22, 2009 6:01 AM
  • My experience showed that one do need to deactivate the previous installation as I described in my previous post.  Did I misses something?  Hope someone can let me know.
    you're right. those ppl above just threw out anything as an answer. 

    if you actually try activating another pc with a key that is already used for activation (win 7), it will not work.

    my friend had to migrate his key. the activation info is tied to the hardware config of your pc. he swapped only some parts in the pc and that's what msft replied.

    why not call them and ask how you can migrate the act. key?
    Thursday, February 11, 2010 3:09 AM
  • You do not deactivate nor do you migrate anything.

    IF you have a retail copy of windows and you install it on one PC, and you change PC's
     and install the retail copy on a second PC you only need to call the number provided and go thru the process.

    Once you go thru the process of getting a new key the old key is then retired by microsoft.

    SOMETIMES you get a new without talking to a rep. sometimes you must talk to the rep.

    now if the windows is OEM the software can not be legally use on any PC but the one it came on, swapping motherboards is NOT allowed under OEM
    replacing under warranty is allowed.
    Thursday, February 11, 2010 9:45 AM
  • I recently bought a netbook with Windows 7 Starter. I have purchased a student version of Windows 7 Professional online through "The Ultimate Steal" programme.tm

    I'm considering upgrading Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Professional using Windows Anytime Upgrade, which is apparently as simple as entering the new key.

    However once I perform this upgrade, If I later upgrade to a new netbook again with Windows 7 Starter, can I remove Windows 7 Professional from my current netbook and upgrade the new netbook to Windows 7 Professional again? 

    As far as I know, Windows 7 is licensed to one computer, which remains the case, but I will be effectively activating it twice, on two different computers. Is this allowed through the Windows 7 activation mechanisms?

    I ask because I bought my current netbook as a temporary computer. It was cheap, but there are too many restrictions on the starter edition of W7.
    Friday, March 12, 2010 11:12 PM
  • This is only if you have the you have the windows 7 upgrade disk:

    If you know how to take out a hard drive, do that and install windows 7 on the new computer. But if you don't do this:

    Hit you computer with a hammer until it doesn't boot.(ONLY IF YOUR ABSOLUTLY DIEING TO GET WINDOWS 7)

    >:P

    Put your Windows 7 Upgrade Disk into your new computer.

    Saturday, April 16, 2011 7:04 PM
  • Hi,

     

    I have a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Retail, which I installed onto my old computer back in 2009. Unfortunately that old computer gave up working yesterday, and it won't boot at all. Now I am buying a new computer, which comes without an operating system pre-installed. From what I can tell from searching around on Google, installing my copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Retail onto this new computer won't be a problem - worst case scenario would be having to call up Microsoft and explain my situation, am I right?

     

    I just wanted to double check before I buy the computer so I don't have to waste extra money getting another license.

     

    Thanks,

     -Phil

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 7:35 AM
  • My experience showed that one do need to deactivate the previous installation as I described in my previous post.  Did I misses something?  Hope someone can let me know.
    you're right. those ppl above just threw out anything as an answer. 
    if you actually try activating another pc with a key that is already used for activation (win 7), it will not work.
    my friend had to migrate his key. the activation info is tied to the hardware config of your pc. he swapped only some parts in the pc and that's what msft replied.
    why not call them and ask how you can migrate the act. key?

    I was reading this whole thread because it actually applies to me; my laptop died within the last year, and I used a windows 7 pro license on it. It even says on the disc "pre-existing os license required". I think its an upgrade disc because it says 32-bit x86 upgrade: pre-existing os license required. anyway.

     

    as for calling microsoft, I went through their automated online support and just wanted to say, it sucks. they charge $50 just to email support? puh-lease.

    anyway. Does anyone have a solution how to 'swap' a windows 7 key off a dead computer? (something is wrong with the mobo and it wont turn on or charge or anything...) I want to put it on my desktop, which currently has windows 7 home edition service pack 3.

    just let me add, these are all legal copies. i have the original packaging and cd keys on all of them. Can't get in touch with support so I guess I'm on my own here..
    • Edited by brinestus Friday, October 28, 2011 3:41 AM
    Friday, October 28, 2011 3:39 AM