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Can I use one copy of XP Pro to test multiple systems?

By patandchrisandpw ·
I'm about to need to test multiple different motherboards and benchmark them. I need to know how to set up a CD or HD so that with minimal set-up it can run the operating system on different configurations.
How do I get the activation problem fixed? Talk to Microsoft, if so who?
I know of the existence of the volume licence agreements but they require at least 5 copies, I only want one or two.

The information gained from the testing will then be available on a Not-for-Profit web site.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Can I use one copy of XP ...

The simple answer is that you can't do this easily and if you intend to run for longer than 30 days you can not do this at all.

Now if you have an OEM or Retail Copy of Windows you can install it to as many systems as you like for Testing Purposes and run them for up to 30 days without activation but you'll have to manually install the OS onto each platform as when you install Windows only the drivers for the available hardware are actually used and if you change that hardware you will not have the correct drivers available.

Even doing it this way breaks the Letter/Intent of the MS EULA though not necessarily the actual EULA as you are not running the systems for any length of time and are only testing.

The only difference between the OEM/Retail versions of XP Pro and the Volume License Version is that you do not need to activate the Volume License Software otherwise in every aspect they are the same and when you originally install you are even prompted to Activate the Volume License Product though if you attempt this you get a message that the product is already activated.

So to put it quite bluntly if you are going to be testing various different M'Boards you'll first need to group them into the same Chip set types and maybe then you can move the HDD between these but when you move to a different Chip set type you'll need to perform a reload of the OS.


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by TheChas In reply to Can I use one copy of XP ...

Hal has it right for XP.

The only thing I can add, is that after a few motherboard changes, XP may generate an activation event from all the hardware changes and you will be forced to start over again.

My question is why use XP?

Make your task easier, and use an OS that boots from a CD.

The Live CD version of Ubuntu Linux will allow you to test a system and then move on to the next with the least fuss and bother.

Another option would be the "Ultimate Boot CD".

There are both Windows:

and Linux versions:

Both have a number of test and benchmark utilities on them.


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by B_Pope In reply to Can I use one copy of XP ...

Just use Norton Ghost & make a image of the first install!

From there you can setup a couple different MB's before MS bothers you about activation. Once it does ghost back the original image & carry on again.

Using/creating ghost images opens the door beyond the bounds any EULA even covers at present, just use your imagination & you'll see all the possible use's.

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by Jacky Howe In reply to Can I use one copy of XP ...

The easiest and legal way to do this would be to sign up as a Microsoft Partner and purchase the Action Pack. I found it good value for the money.:)

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