Questions

New OS With New Motherboard?

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New OS With New Motherboard?

mraftice
Am I correct that if you replace the motherboard on a machine that has a legally licensed copy of Windows XP that you have to buy another license because Microsoft considers it a "New Machine?"
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MidnightStorm
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Actually Microsoft licenses are that if you bought XP and have it installed on Machine A and then you go and by a Machine B and install on that one then its illegal. However if you are just replacing hardware in Machine A and then it is fine as you will just be reinstalling the OS. Its not deemed as "a new machine".

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If you have replaced the motherboard then all you have to do is boot into "safe mode" and delete any software relating to your "old" motherboard and then reboot, load on your new motherboard drivers and if asked about re-activation of Microsoft just follow the on board questions. And No you do not have to buy another license. (Unless you are selling your computer with the Os.).

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Langlier
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Is the motherboard the same as the previous or an upgrade? Was this a manufactured machine or custom built? What version of Windows XP is it (More looking for Upgrade, Retail, or OEM)?

Most cases you can transfer the lic over to the new motherboard but certain OEM versions licensed to a manufacturer are nontransferable to non-replacement hardware.

Hope that helps.

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RobPatten
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If you have a Retail copy of Windows XP then I *think* you can move this between computers, so long as it is only installed on any one computer at a time. Certainly it should be fine from a licensing point of view on the same machine no matter what parts are replaced. Of course, you may be prompted to re-activate, and in the case of a motherboard change sometimes you need to re-install Windows XP completely.

If it is an OEM copy of Windows XP, which typically would be bundled with a new computer, or sold with specific items of computer hardware, the licensing is less flexible. The license cannot be transferred to another computer. Specifically relating to a motherboard replacement, there are two different scenarios. If you are changing the motherboard because the original one failed, Microsoft accept this is a repair and therefore a legitimate hardware change and your license is still valid (re-activation will be required of course). If however the motherboard change is because you are performing an upgrade, Microsoft take the view that you are deliberately changing the machine and consider the license non-transferrable to the new hardware.

If the computer cannot be repaired an OEM license effectively dies with the machine.

Being realistic, I cannot see how anybody could prove that you changed your motherboard out of choice rather than necessity. It would be your word against theirs, and I'm sure many people play the system a bit and 'bend' the rules.

You could compare it to drinking four pints and then driving home. Just because you didn't wrap your car round a tree or kill anyone, and didn't see any police on the road, doesn't mean what you did was legal... but nobody found out and you got away with it. A bit of an extreme comparison I know but you get the idea!

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groenem
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This is one of the main reasons way I am leaving Microsoft Windows and converting to Linux. You can get Linux for free and don't have to worry about licensing issues when changing motherboards, etc.

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ldtaylor
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When my WIN98SE motherboard failed a new motherboard and processor were the only fixes. Both were so far removed from the old MB that I had to buy new memory as well. That ws the only option for repair, a repair/replacement covered by my credit card extended warranty. Reinstalling WIN98SE was no sweat-no activation needed.

I am still fearful of MS if my present MB (heading on 4 yrs) should go. The MB is no longer available. Any replacement would be a very obvious upgrade including memory and CPU.

Has any one tested MS on this? I have XP PRO, an OS that MS would like to dump. Might the scenerio I suggest be a good way for MS to sell more VISTA?

L D Taylor

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RobPatten
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If you replaced it with the same make and model of motherboard there would be no issue as Windows would just carry on working as the hardware is the same.

However as you rightly point out, if a motherboard dies 4 years on (not wishing it on you!) it is very unlikely that same model will be available. In fact chances are you would struggle to get *any* motherboard that was compatible with your CPU and memory.

So then you go through the process of changing the guts of the machine. The difference is here you are forced to upgrade because your motherboard has failed. You have not chosen to upgrade because you fancied a new motherboard with new features.

Nobody would reasonably expect you to scour eBay for weeks looking for a motherboard of the same era as your original. Sure, you may have to re-install Windows XP when you get that new board, CPU, memory, etc in, and chances are the hardware will be so different that it will not automatically re-activate and you will have to phone up for an activation code. One of the questions this automated process asks is 'Have you changed your motherboard?' and if you say yes, you then get a choice of 'Was this to replace a faulty motherboard, or for another reason?' - I wouldn't lose any sleep.

Another option of course is that after four years the chances are there is a newer version of Windows out. If you're the kind of person who likes to upgrade then purchasing a new motherboard would give you the ideal excuse to legitimately purchase a shiny new OEM copy of Windows Vista.

I'm not saying you *should* upgrade to Vista if you get a new motherboard, don't get me wrong. I'm just saying that some people would. I have no interest in starting a 'I don't like Vista' or 'MS are rubbish, get Linux' debate!

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cywelchjr
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If your copy of XP is retail, then you can certainly reactivate that copy on the replacement motherboard, just as you could if you wiped the old computer and built a new one to replace it. If it's OEM, as I understand it, only a direct replacement motherboard can be re-activated, as it actually is the same computer.

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Jacdeb6009
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I don't see the difference. Whether you bought XP out of the box or as an OEM copy together with a machines, you paid for it either way, fair and square. If you trash the machine then it should be legit to re-install XP on a new machine / rebuilt machine either way.

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TheChas
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I have not read over the Microsoft OEM EULA for a while.

However, the last time I did, for the OEM version you are limited to installing the OS "ONLY" on the original computer.

Yes, repairs are allowed. However, an entire new system is NOT a repair.

Remember, by the terms of the EULA, Microsoft only allows you to use the software. They retain FULL ownership of the software. As such, you cannot do what you please with it.

If you want an operating system that you can install on multiple machines with no issues, then go open source.

Chas