Questions

New OS With New Motherboard?

+
0 Votes
Locked

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?"
  • +
    0 Votes
    MidnightStorm

    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".

    +
    0 Votes

    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.).

    +
    0 Votes
    Langlier

    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.

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    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!

    +
    0 Votes
    groenem

    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.

    +
    0 Votes
    ldtaylor

    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

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    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!

    +
    0 Votes
    cywelchjr

    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.

    +
    0 Votes
    Jacdeb6009

    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.

    +
    0 Votes
    TheChas

    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

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    I am so glad that somebody has finally made this point.

    Buying software is not like buying a tin of beans. Once you get your beans you can put them on toast, eat them all yourself, share them with the family, or even fill a bath with them (as was once popular for various charity events).

    Heinz won't come round because two people are sharing one tin of beans.

    The difference is you are buying a product. You can then (so long as you act within the law of course) do what you like with it.

    With software you never own the product. You are just granted a license to use it. That license forms a contract and if breached will become void.

    +
    0 Votes
    rick

    The OEM version costs about half the price of the full retail version. That is supposedly the reason for the extra restrictions on the OEM versions.

    Rick

    +
    0 Votes
    btljooz

    n/t

    +
    0 Votes
    byu1980

    My parents' 1999-vintage ASUS motherboard (PIII, 450 MHz CPU) failed while I was visiting. The required upgrade was a new Intel motherboard (very basic), CPU (P4, 3.2 GHz), memory & power supply. The technician couldn't get his Windows XP Home disks to install using our product key, but succeeded with our original XP Home disk. He downloaded all updates without having to reactivate the license. Subsequent updates have only required us to go through the genuine validation routine.

    +
    0 Votes
    rtroy56

    I have an HP that came with preactivated (OEM) XP Pro. I bought a bios upgrade. Boot up, log in, and Windows says I'm not activated. It looks for something in the bios that the purchased upgrade bios does not have. I either back out the new bios, or I do a full install with a new copy of XP Pro? That makes absolutely no sense to me.

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    Most motherboard manufacturers provide BIOS updates free of charge on the support section of their web sites, I have never encountered a situation where you have had to pay for a BIOS update.

    I sure hope it was worth the money, did it fix the issues you were experiencing that made you go out and buy this update?

    Just because you cannot see any difference in the menu structure of the BIOS does not mean that nothing has changed.

    Have you actually tried to re-activate Windows when you were prompted to? Now that it has de-activated itself even if you restored the previous BIOS (assuming you kept a backup of the original flash image before upgrading) Windows will remain in an unactivated state, so either way you will need to re-activate. May as well keep the new BIOS you paid for...

    +
    0 Votes
    rtroy56

    HP never issued upgrades for this bios, neither did Phoenix. The bios makers license a 3rd party to do upgrades. I bought one, which fixes power management problems, allows hyperthread to work, etc. Very nice bios, many xp and vista enhancements. Booted, logged in, got the wizard. Called MS with the number given, they told me to call HP (waste of time). Backed out the upgrade (yes, it comes with software to backup the original), rebooted and logged in, and Windows was fine. As I understand it, Windows compares what it reads from the bios to something hidden on the hd. If they match, you are fine. If not, you get the wizard. Putting back the old bios made them match again.

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    You must be unlucky, I have downloaded BIOS updates for HP & Compaq machines numerous times and never once have I had to buy one from a third party. Presumably if the update contains XP and Vista enhancements your computer is not all that old?

    If the BIOS update was released by a third party though, this would explain why you were prompted to re-activate. The BIOS string in your original BIOS would have shown HP as the manufacturer, and probably had the model number of the machine embedded into it.

    Your third party update will probably have the actual manufacturer of the board, or maybe the third party's name in the manufacturer field rather than HP, so that would have triggered Windows to think it was a different motherboard.

    You clearly feel sure you would benefit from the BIOS update, or you would not have parted with any money for it I'm sure, so I would be inclined to re-update and then get back onto Microsoft. Be insistent that it is the same board, and if they try telling you to call HP again tell them you tried that already and got nowhere. Don't be rude but make it clear that you believe they should re-activate your software if need be. It may have just been that last time you got hold of somebody who didn't understand the situation.

    As far as I was aware, once Windows de-activated itself, it would not automatically remove the need for re-activation if the original 'hardware' (or in your case the BIOS firmware) was put back. But I have to say I could be wrong on this one as it is not something I have ever needed to do so far as I can remember.

    I hope this helps, don't despair and be persistent with Microsoft. Make sure they understand you have not changed ANY hardware.

    +
    0 Votes
    rtroy56

    I'd say you got most of it exactly right. And yes, the bios upgrade (2002 box, original bios did not support hyperthread, etc.) is a huge improvement for me over what HP provided (last updated before I bought the PC from HP).

    And as wierd as it sounds, XP does not seem to remember that I had the new bios temporarily.

    Is there any way I could talk to MS before going for the bios upgrade again to prearrange the re-activation?

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    Unfortunately there isn't really a way to pre-prepare for re-activation, for example there is no way to "de-activate" Windows to effectively free up the license, Windows just detects hardware change and uses that as the trigger.

    You could leave it as is, which you don't really want to do having got this far.

    The alternative, and what I would do, would be to re-flash the updated BIOS, try to re-activate when prompted, call the activation centre and when they ask if you have changed any hardware just tell them that your motherboard died and you have replaced it with a new one.

    This is the only compromise I can see. If their call centre staff are not even savvy enough to understand that a BIOS update is not a big deal, and Windows is assuming that your motherboard has changed, play along with the game their way.

    While it is a little white lie, I think it is a case of "needs must" in order to get the activation code. Remember you are not really doing anything wrong, you are not violating your license agreement because you have not physically changed the hardware.

    It is more a case of a communication barrier between you and the activation centre staff, and this way you are effectively ticking a box that they understand and can deal with.

    You may even find that if you call back and speak to somebody different, they will understand better and get you re-activated without a problem.

    Your choice, let us know how you get on.

    +
    0 Votes
    mraftice

    I appreciate all of the information. Ultimately, I purchased a refurbished dual core Gateway with a 1GB of RAM from Tiger direct.com and that cured my need to buy a new overpriced motherboard for my old gateway machine. I was just curious as I was under the influence that I would also have to purchase a new copy of XP. It did figure into my decision but the cost of the motherboard $199-$327 for the correct replacement board, and the cost fo the new machine $350 were the deciding factors.
    This might be helpful to others however.
    I carefully selected the new machine in so that I was able to utilize the RAM from the old machine. I also bought an external case for the SATA Drive from the old machine and connected it to my new one. Thus, Instead of repairing the old machine for $200 I have a new machine with 2GB or RAM and two hard drives -200GB and 250GB. The total cost was $439 with shipping. Not too bad.

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    I assume then that the refurbished machine come with a new copy of Windows XP?

    If you had repaired the old computer you could have kept the old Windows license, even if it was an OEM license, as you are repairing the computer.

    If you had just wanted to upgrade, as I'm sure you have gathered from all the posts here, you would technically have had to buy a new license. Yes you may be able to work round it and get it activated, but of course that is not the question you asked!

    Glad to hear you are all sorted, sounds like you made the sensible choice and got yourself a nicer machine than you ever would have done by repairing your old one.

    +
    0 Votes
    nentech

    I have had the same thing happen with a Dell

    The owner lost her dell supplied windows disk

    I had install windows from another disk
    I used the OEM code on the PC

    Then contacted Microsoft told them what had happened

    The result
    The helped me activate Windows

    You did nothing wrong
    The bios update was to fix your computer
    It?s the same thing as a faulty Motherboard

    As for HP they sold you the computer
    Hp can only refuse to cover the warranty

    Microsoft supplied the licence
    Anyway just ask MS if you don?t know what to do
    All they can say is no

    +
    0 Votes
    rtroy56

    I did ask MS. They told me to talk to HP. But MS could have chosen to help.

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    This is Microsoft's issue, not HP's.

    Get back onto Microsoft as I advised in a previous post.

    HP cannot issue you a new activation code, only Microsoft can do this.

    If as you say your BIOS update came from a third party it is unlikely that HP will be able to do much anyway.

    +
    0 Votes
    TheChas

    At least in the US, Microsoft provides NO support for any issue with an OEM version of Windows. Period! Unless, you opt to pay the per incident fee.

    Of course, HP is not going to provide a user with an activation code for a modified system either.

    If you want to modify a system with an OEM license for Windows, and the system no longer accepts the license key, your only option is to buy a retail license. Or, switch to Linux.

    Chas

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    OEM versions are supported by the PC manufacturer in the UK too and assume this is a global policy.

    However, obtaining an activation code is NOT product support.

    I feel the same ground is being covered over and over on this thread, so I will resist any temptation to repeat myself and the valid comments of others who have tried to clarify the situation.

    In supporting and repairing Windows XP since its release I have never had any issue in obtaining a new activation code from the activation centre, and I would say in excess of 90% of my experience has been with OEM copies originally supplied with a machine.

    Obtaining technical support from Microsoft is completely separate from requesting and obtaining a new activation code.

    If you try to try to turn an activation request into a support request then you will be referred to the manufacturer. That is why when speaking to the activation centre you need to stick to the facts and deal with the matter in hand, and not get distracted by making your request seem technical.

    Switch to Linux... I'm sure that advice will be of real help to the people with Windows licensing queries.

    I'm not knocking Linux and it certainly has its place, but that needs to be an informed choice made by the end user and not a kneejerk response from Microsoft bashers.

    +
    0 Votes
    rtroy56

    Up until about 2 years ago, as I understand it, one could have readily reactivated XP after just a bios change without even talking to a rep, but MS made a change to XP around March 2005 to prevent that. Beyond that, if MS wanted to charge a small nuisance fee to cover the cost of the call, I'd have no objection. Keep in mind the OS is still on the original PC, and all I changed this time around is the bios. It is absurd, IMHO, that I'd have to pay for a new license.

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    I am not aware of any such change in 2005.

    I have regularly had to re-activate clients' copies of Windows XP (usually OEM) after repairs, often motherboard changes, and was doing this on an almost daily basis until I changed jobs at the start of this year.

    Even recently I did a repair for a friend less than a month ago with a motherboard swap-out and had to re-activate their OEM copy of Windows XP. I had to call the activation centre but their automated telephone system asked me some questions and gave me an activation code without even having to speak to a human.

    I think you are getting too preoccupied in what you think is Microsoft's policy, and enjoy complaining about the way you have been treated, without actually taking the advice of anyone on this thread.

    Please, for the sake of our collective sanity here, GET YOUR SOFTWARE RE-ACTIVATED!

    IT CAN BE DONE!

    +
    0 Votes
    nentech

    The people who suppled you with the bios

    Ask them to add the string to the bios they suppled to you

    Or ask them to fix the bios that came with your motherboard

    The bios you got from them doesn?t work in your situation

    +
    0 Votes
    rtroy56

    I did ask the bios maker if they could figure out what XP was looking for in the bios and do it themselves. They indicated that there were issues with copyrights, etc. along with possible technical problems were they to try to do that.

    What would be nice would be, since they are a big source of bios updates, if they would work out something with MS to make this easier.

    +
    0 Votes
    nentech

    Update your bios

    Then contact Microsoft again

    Tell them you need to activate windows

    If they ask why

    Tell them the computer had to be repaired

    If they ask you why

    Just say something didn?t work properly and it had to be fixed

    Do not say any more than you have to

    That?s why you changed the bios
    It was because it didn?t do what it was suppose to do

    +
    0 Votes
    nidge700

    I recently had to replace my motherboard and the
    main problem with Windows OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) editions is that you have to reinstall it from scratch. I did read on the net that some official from Microsoft told a reporter that you have to buy another edition of Windows if your operating system is an OEM version. Well I'd already reinstalled my Windows
    Pro. from the original CD that came with my computer. It was accepted as genuine at Microsoft when I updated it direct from Microsoft Downloads. So that Microsoft bloke was talking a load of twoddle.

    +
    0 Votes
    eshelton

    I recently had to have the Motherboard on my three year old Dell Optiplex GX280 (small form factor machine)running XP Pro, replaced. Fortunately, my machine was still covered by Dell's on-site service. The Technician replaced the motherboard and had the machine up and working all in under an hour. He never had to re-install the OS. It was a relatively painless and fast process.

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    Chances are the Dell technician would have replaced the motherboard like for like with the same model.

    If he didn't even have to install new drivers this would almost certainly be the case.

    A different matter when a home user comes to change his or her motherboard and cannot source the same model. Sometimes if the chipset on the board is similar to the old board it will work with no re-install required. I have known a deceased Intel board to be replaced with a new VIA board and Windows booted, went through the new hardware wizards and was fine. But you can't rely on it always being the case and I personally would always be happier to do a clean install if the new board was vastly different to the old one.

    +
    0 Votes
    tony.cacciola

    Recently I replaced the mother board in my kids PC. After deleting all the previous motherboard drivers, as I did a year ago with my own PC, and installing the new ones, I was not able to run XP properly. I spent about two hours with Microsoft dealing with the issue. It was finally corrected by Microsoft providing me with a new code key. I would say it depends how your PC and XP get along. I had no difficulty with one and had with the other.

    +
    0 Votes
    AMVX86

    Microsoft states that "Only one copy can be utilized between machines." I had called up, being the smarta!@$ that i am, and asked what if i buy 1 copy of microsoft windows XP / Vista and purchase two hard drives and install it on the single machine, just two times (as it being single license only) Their reply to this was to give me a dial tone. I think they need to refine how they word things. lol

    +
    0 Votes
    Eternal

    If it's a direct replacement for a failed motherboard with an OEM or retail license, no need to buy a new license.

    If you bough say an IBM desktop with an OEM copy and are upgrading the motherboard/cpu/ram then technically.. yes need to.

    +
    0 Votes
    seacarl

    I've redone my system several times and even built a new compter. At least 3 times, when I installed XP, it wouldn't let me activate it. There is a toll-free number you can call. They will ask you if this is the only computer you have this copy of XP on. If you anser YES, they will give you a number to allow you to activate it. The magic word here is that you have it installed on only ONE computer.

    +
    0 Votes
    fixit

    I have done this a bunch of times. I have a gaming machine I upgrade every 6 to 8 months and have to reinstall. Microsoft just wants to make sure that it is only on one machine at a time. I have the XPpro retail version though.

    +
    0 Votes
    djeske2

    I just had the motherboard on my Dell Inspiron 5160 replaced (overheating problem). Win/XP Pro SP2 restarted without any clue that anything had been done (i.e. did not even ask for re-activation), as expected, since CPU, Disk, etc. had not changed.

    +
    0 Votes
    nentech

    This is a link a document about Activation
    http://download.microsoft.com/download/2/1/6/21654b16-6c81-4d96-9390-5203cd43d07d/WPA_SP1_Market_Bulletin.doc

    This one is Q&A about software licences

    http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/e/3/4e3eace0-4c6d-4123-9d0c-c80436181742/OSLicQA.doc

    Hope this helps you

    Edited to remove all but the links

    Duh I should read them
    I was tired

    +
    0 Votes
    pjboyles

    If the system is an OEM (ie Dell, HP, etc) and you replaced it with a different motherboard, you will need to purchase a copy of Windows. These are licensed to the hardware and you must replace broken motherboards with a replacement of the same board.

    If this was a box copy you installed (full, oem, upgrade) and you replaced your motherboard on the system, you should be able to reactivate Windows XP from Microsoft. I usually do so over the Internet. Sometimes I had to call.

    Full copies can be moved to new machines.

    +
    0 Votes
    paulankin

    Statement from Microsoft Education Operating System Licensing Q&A

    http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/e/3/4e3eace0-4c6d-4123-9d0c-c80436181742/OSLicQA.doc

    Q. Rather than purchase completely new PCs, my organization performs in-place upgrades to the hardware on many of our computers. We often times only replace the motherboard, processor, and memory. Since the COA is still on the case and the OS is still installed on the hard drive, this computer is still licensed, right?

    ANSWER. Generally, you may upgrade or replace all of the hardware components on your computer and maintain the license for the original Microsoft OEM operating system software, with the exception of an upgrade or replacement of the motherboard. An upgrade of the motherboard is considered to result in a "new personal computer." Microsoft OEM operating system software cannot be transferred from one computer to another. Therefore, if the motherboard is upgraded or replaced for reasons other than a defect then a new computer has been created, the original license expires, and a new full operating system license (not upgrade) is required. This is true even if the computer is covered under Software Assurance or other Volume License programs

  • +
    0 Votes
    MidnightStorm

    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".

    +
    0 Votes

    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.).

    +
    0 Votes
    Langlier

    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.

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    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!

    +
    0 Votes
    groenem

    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.

    +
    0 Votes
    ldtaylor

    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

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    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!

    +
    0 Votes
    cywelchjr

    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.

    +
    0 Votes
    Jacdeb6009

    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.

    +
    0 Votes
    TheChas

    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

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    I am so glad that somebody has finally made this point.

    Buying software is not like buying a tin of beans. Once you get your beans you can put them on toast, eat them all yourself, share them with the family, or even fill a bath with them (as was once popular for various charity events).

    Heinz won't come round because two people are sharing one tin of beans.

    The difference is you are buying a product. You can then (so long as you act within the law of course) do what you like with it.

    With software you never own the product. You are just granted a license to use it. That license forms a contract and if breached will become void.

    +
    0 Votes
    rick

    The OEM version costs about half the price of the full retail version. That is supposedly the reason for the extra restrictions on the OEM versions.

    Rick

    +
    0 Votes
    btljooz

    n/t

    +
    0 Votes
    byu1980

    My parents' 1999-vintage ASUS motherboard (PIII, 450 MHz CPU) failed while I was visiting. The required upgrade was a new Intel motherboard (very basic), CPU (P4, 3.2 GHz), memory & power supply. The technician couldn't get his Windows XP Home disks to install using our product key, but succeeded with our original XP Home disk. He downloaded all updates without having to reactivate the license. Subsequent updates have only required us to go through the genuine validation routine.

    +
    0 Votes
    rtroy56

    I have an HP that came with preactivated (OEM) XP Pro. I bought a bios upgrade. Boot up, log in, and Windows says I'm not activated. It looks for something in the bios that the purchased upgrade bios does not have. I either back out the new bios, or I do a full install with a new copy of XP Pro? That makes absolutely no sense to me.

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    Most motherboard manufacturers provide BIOS updates free of charge on the support section of their web sites, I have never encountered a situation where you have had to pay for a BIOS update.

    I sure hope it was worth the money, did it fix the issues you were experiencing that made you go out and buy this update?

    Just because you cannot see any difference in the menu structure of the BIOS does not mean that nothing has changed.

    Have you actually tried to re-activate Windows when you were prompted to? Now that it has de-activated itself even if you restored the previous BIOS (assuming you kept a backup of the original flash image before upgrading) Windows will remain in an unactivated state, so either way you will need to re-activate. May as well keep the new BIOS you paid for...

    +
    0 Votes
    rtroy56

    HP never issued upgrades for this bios, neither did Phoenix. The bios makers license a 3rd party to do upgrades. I bought one, which fixes power management problems, allows hyperthread to work, etc. Very nice bios, many xp and vista enhancements. Booted, logged in, got the wizard. Called MS with the number given, they told me to call HP (waste of time). Backed out the upgrade (yes, it comes with software to backup the original), rebooted and logged in, and Windows was fine. As I understand it, Windows compares what it reads from the bios to something hidden on the hd. If they match, you are fine. If not, you get the wizard. Putting back the old bios made them match again.

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    You must be unlucky, I have downloaded BIOS updates for HP & Compaq machines numerous times and never once have I had to buy one from a third party. Presumably if the update contains XP and Vista enhancements your computer is not all that old?

    If the BIOS update was released by a third party though, this would explain why you were prompted to re-activate. The BIOS string in your original BIOS would have shown HP as the manufacturer, and probably had the model number of the machine embedded into it.

    Your third party update will probably have the actual manufacturer of the board, or maybe the third party's name in the manufacturer field rather than HP, so that would have triggered Windows to think it was a different motherboard.

    You clearly feel sure you would benefit from the BIOS update, or you would not have parted with any money for it I'm sure, so I would be inclined to re-update and then get back onto Microsoft. Be insistent that it is the same board, and if they try telling you to call HP again tell them you tried that already and got nowhere. Don't be rude but make it clear that you believe they should re-activate your software if need be. It may have just been that last time you got hold of somebody who didn't understand the situation.

    As far as I was aware, once Windows de-activated itself, it would not automatically remove the need for re-activation if the original 'hardware' (or in your case the BIOS firmware) was put back. But I have to say I could be wrong on this one as it is not something I have ever needed to do so far as I can remember.

    I hope this helps, don't despair and be persistent with Microsoft. Make sure they understand you have not changed ANY hardware.

    +
    0 Votes
    rtroy56

    I'd say you got most of it exactly right. And yes, the bios upgrade (2002 box, original bios did not support hyperthread, etc.) is a huge improvement for me over what HP provided (last updated before I bought the PC from HP).

    And as wierd as it sounds, XP does not seem to remember that I had the new bios temporarily.

    Is there any way I could talk to MS before going for the bios upgrade again to prearrange the re-activation?

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    Unfortunately there isn't really a way to pre-prepare for re-activation, for example there is no way to "de-activate" Windows to effectively free up the license, Windows just detects hardware change and uses that as the trigger.

    You could leave it as is, which you don't really want to do having got this far.

    The alternative, and what I would do, would be to re-flash the updated BIOS, try to re-activate when prompted, call the activation centre and when they ask if you have changed any hardware just tell them that your motherboard died and you have replaced it with a new one.

    This is the only compromise I can see. If their call centre staff are not even savvy enough to understand that a BIOS update is not a big deal, and Windows is assuming that your motherboard has changed, play along with the game their way.

    While it is a little white lie, I think it is a case of "needs must" in order to get the activation code. Remember you are not really doing anything wrong, you are not violating your license agreement because you have not physically changed the hardware.

    It is more a case of a communication barrier between you and the activation centre staff, and this way you are effectively ticking a box that they understand and can deal with.

    You may even find that if you call back and speak to somebody different, they will understand better and get you re-activated without a problem.

    Your choice, let us know how you get on.

    +
    0 Votes
    mraftice

    I appreciate all of the information. Ultimately, I purchased a refurbished dual core Gateway with a 1GB of RAM from Tiger direct.com and that cured my need to buy a new overpriced motherboard for my old gateway machine. I was just curious as I was under the influence that I would also have to purchase a new copy of XP. It did figure into my decision but the cost of the motherboard $199-$327 for the correct replacement board, and the cost fo the new machine $350 were the deciding factors.
    This might be helpful to others however.
    I carefully selected the new machine in so that I was able to utilize the RAM from the old machine. I also bought an external case for the SATA Drive from the old machine and connected it to my new one. Thus, Instead of repairing the old machine for $200 I have a new machine with 2GB or RAM and two hard drives -200GB and 250GB. The total cost was $439 with shipping. Not too bad.

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    I assume then that the refurbished machine come with a new copy of Windows XP?

    If you had repaired the old computer you could have kept the old Windows license, even if it was an OEM license, as you are repairing the computer.

    If you had just wanted to upgrade, as I'm sure you have gathered from all the posts here, you would technically have had to buy a new license. Yes you may be able to work round it and get it activated, but of course that is not the question you asked!

    Glad to hear you are all sorted, sounds like you made the sensible choice and got yourself a nicer machine than you ever would have done by repairing your old one.

    +
    0 Votes
    nentech

    I have had the same thing happen with a Dell

    The owner lost her dell supplied windows disk

    I had install windows from another disk
    I used the OEM code on the PC

    Then contacted Microsoft told them what had happened

    The result
    The helped me activate Windows

    You did nothing wrong
    The bios update was to fix your computer
    It?s the same thing as a faulty Motherboard

    As for HP they sold you the computer
    Hp can only refuse to cover the warranty

    Microsoft supplied the licence
    Anyway just ask MS if you don?t know what to do
    All they can say is no

    +
    0 Votes
    rtroy56

    I did ask MS. They told me to talk to HP. But MS could have chosen to help.

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    This is Microsoft's issue, not HP's.

    Get back onto Microsoft as I advised in a previous post.

    HP cannot issue you a new activation code, only Microsoft can do this.

    If as you say your BIOS update came from a third party it is unlikely that HP will be able to do much anyway.

    +
    0 Votes
    TheChas

    At least in the US, Microsoft provides NO support for any issue with an OEM version of Windows. Period! Unless, you opt to pay the per incident fee.

    Of course, HP is not going to provide a user with an activation code for a modified system either.

    If you want to modify a system with an OEM license for Windows, and the system no longer accepts the license key, your only option is to buy a retail license. Or, switch to Linux.

    Chas

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    OEM versions are supported by the PC manufacturer in the UK too and assume this is a global policy.

    However, obtaining an activation code is NOT product support.

    I feel the same ground is being covered over and over on this thread, so I will resist any temptation to repeat myself and the valid comments of others who have tried to clarify the situation.

    In supporting and repairing Windows XP since its release I have never had any issue in obtaining a new activation code from the activation centre, and I would say in excess of 90% of my experience has been with OEM copies originally supplied with a machine.

    Obtaining technical support from Microsoft is completely separate from requesting and obtaining a new activation code.

    If you try to try to turn an activation request into a support request then you will be referred to the manufacturer. That is why when speaking to the activation centre you need to stick to the facts and deal with the matter in hand, and not get distracted by making your request seem technical.

    Switch to Linux... I'm sure that advice will be of real help to the people with Windows licensing queries.

    I'm not knocking Linux and it certainly has its place, but that needs to be an informed choice made by the end user and not a kneejerk response from Microsoft bashers.

    +
    0 Votes
    rtroy56

    Up until about 2 years ago, as I understand it, one could have readily reactivated XP after just a bios change without even talking to a rep, but MS made a change to XP around March 2005 to prevent that. Beyond that, if MS wanted to charge a small nuisance fee to cover the cost of the call, I'd have no objection. Keep in mind the OS is still on the original PC, and all I changed this time around is the bios. It is absurd, IMHO, that I'd have to pay for a new license.

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    I am not aware of any such change in 2005.

    I have regularly had to re-activate clients' copies of Windows XP (usually OEM) after repairs, often motherboard changes, and was doing this on an almost daily basis until I changed jobs at the start of this year.

    Even recently I did a repair for a friend less than a month ago with a motherboard swap-out and had to re-activate their OEM copy of Windows XP. I had to call the activation centre but their automated telephone system asked me some questions and gave me an activation code without even having to speak to a human.

    I think you are getting too preoccupied in what you think is Microsoft's policy, and enjoy complaining about the way you have been treated, without actually taking the advice of anyone on this thread.

    Please, for the sake of our collective sanity here, GET YOUR SOFTWARE RE-ACTIVATED!

    IT CAN BE DONE!

    +
    0 Votes
    nentech

    The people who suppled you with the bios

    Ask them to add the string to the bios they suppled to you

    Or ask them to fix the bios that came with your motherboard

    The bios you got from them doesn?t work in your situation

    +
    0 Votes
    rtroy56

    I did ask the bios maker if they could figure out what XP was looking for in the bios and do it themselves. They indicated that there were issues with copyrights, etc. along with possible technical problems were they to try to do that.

    What would be nice would be, since they are a big source of bios updates, if they would work out something with MS to make this easier.

    +
    0 Votes
    nentech

    Update your bios

    Then contact Microsoft again

    Tell them you need to activate windows

    If they ask why

    Tell them the computer had to be repaired

    If they ask you why

    Just say something didn?t work properly and it had to be fixed

    Do not say any more than you have to

    That?s why you changed the bios
    It was because it didn?t do what it was suppose to do

    +
    0 Votes
    nidge700

    I recently had to replace my motherboard and the
    main problem with Windows OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) editions is that you have to reinstall it from scratch. I did read on the net that some official from Microsoft told a reporter that you have to buy another edition of Windows if your operating system is an OEM version. Well I'd already reinstalled my Windows
    Pro. from the original CD that came with my computer. It was accepted as genuine at Microsoft when I updated it direct from Microsoft Downloads. So that Microsoft bloke was talking a load of twoddle.

    +
    0 Votes
    eshelton

    I recently had to have the Motherboard on my three year old Dell Optiplex GX280 (small form factor machine)running XP Pro, replaced. Fortunately, my machine was still covered by Dell's on-site service. The Technician replaced the motherboard and had the machine up and working all in under an hour. He never had to re-install the OS. It was a relatively painless and fast process.

    +
    0 Votes
    RobPatten

    Chances are the Dell technician would have replaced the motherboard like for like with the same model.

    If he didn't even have to install new drivers this would almost certainly be the case.

    A different matter when a home user comes to change his or her motherboard and cannot source the same model. Sometimes if the chipset on the board is similar to the old board it will work with no re-install required. I have known a deceased Intel board to be replaced with a new VIA board and Windows booted, went through the new hardware wizards and was fine. But you can't rely on it always being the case and I personally would always be happier to do a clean install if the new board was vastly different to the old one.

    +
    0 Votes
    tony.cacciola

    Recently I replaced the mother board in my kids PC. After deleting all the previous motherboard drivers, as I did a year ago with my own PC, and installing the new ones, I was not able to run XP properly. I spent about two hours with Microsoft dealing with the issue. It was finally corrected by Microsoft providing me with a new code key. I would say it depends how your PC and XP get along. I had no difficulty with one and had with the other.

    +
    0 Votes
    AMVX86

    Microsoft states that "Only one copy can be utilized between machines." I had called up, being the smarta!@$ that i am, and asked what if i buy 1 copy of microsoft windows XP / Vista and purchase two hard drives and install it on the single machine, just two times (as it being single license only) Their reply to this was to give me a dial tone. I think they need to refine how they word things. lol

    +
    0 Votes
    Eternal

    If it's a direct replacement for a failed motherboard with an OEM or retail license, no need to buy a new license.

    If you bough say an IBM desktop with an OEM copy and are upgrading the motherboard/cpu/ram then technically.. yes need to.

    +
    0 Votes
    seacarl

    I've redone my system several times and even built a new compter. At least 3 times, when I installed XP, it wouldn't let me activate it. There is a toll-free number you can call. They will ask you if this is the only computer you have this copy of XP on. If you anser YES, they will give you a number to allow you to activate it. The magic word here is that you have it installed on only ONE computer.

    +
    0 Votes
    fixit

    I have done this a bunch of times. I have a gaming machine I upgrade every 6 to 8 months and have to reinstall. Microsoft just wants to make sure that it is only on one machine at a time. I have the XPpro retail version though.

    +
    0 Votes
    djeske2

    I just had the motherboard on my Dell Inspiron 5160 replaced (overheating problem). Win/XP Pro SP2 restarted without any clue that anything had been done (i.e. did not even ask for re-activation), as expected, since CPU, Disk, etc. had not changed.

    +
    0 Votes
    nentech

    This is a link a document about Activation
    http://download.microsoft.com/download/2/1/6/21654b16-6c81-4d96-9390-5203cd43d07d/WPA_SP1_Market_Bulletin.doc

    This one is Q&A about software licences

    http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/e/3/4e3eace0-4c6d-4123-9d0c-c80436181742/OSLicQA.doc

    Hope this helps you

    Edited to remove all but the links

    Duh I should read them
    I was tired

    +
    0 Votes
    pjboyles

    If the system is an OEM (ie Dell, HP, etc) and you replaced it with a different motherboard, you will need to purchase a copy of Windows. These are licensed to the hardware and you must replace broken motherboards with a replacement of the same board.

    If this was a box copy you installed (full, oem, upgrade) and you replaced your motherboard on the system, you should be able to reactivate Windows XP from Microsoft. I usually do so over the Internet. Sometimes I had to call.

    Full copies can be moved to new machines.

    +
    0 Votes
    paulankin

    Statement from Microsoft Education Operating System Licensing Q&A

    http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/e/3/4e3eace0-4c6d-4123-9d0c-c80436181742/OSLicQA.doc

    Q. Rather than purchase completely new PCs, my organization performs in-place upgrades to the hardware on many of our computers. We often times only replace the motherboard, processor, and memory. Since the COA is still on the case and the OS is still installed on the hard drive, this computer is still licensed, right?

    ANSWER. Generally, you may upgrade or replace all of the hardware components on your computer and maintain the license for the original Microsoft OEM operating system software, with the exception of an upgrade or replacement of the motherboard. An upgrade of the motherboard is considered to result in a "new personal computer." Microsoft OEM operating system software cannot be transferred from one computer to another. Therefore, if the motherboard is upgraded or replaced for reasons other than a defect then a new computer has been created, the original license expires, and a new full operating system license (not upgrade) is required. This is true even if the computer is covered under Software Assurance or other Volume License programs