Q: my laptop is broken, can i use the windows 7 serial in another computer i plan to build as a replacement? This thread is locked from future replies

i have a hp laptop that died on me recently which is no longer on warranty.

i also have all the parts expect a hard drive to make a desktop pc.
is it ok if i use the serial key in a new hard drive now that that laptop is no longer functional?
(as in it would be cheaper to buy a new laptop no longer working)



If the key is attached to the broken computer it is an OEM preinstalled version that can not be moved.

If you bought retail Windows you can move it.

Can You Move Windows 7 To A New Computer 

If it's a retail Full or Upgrade license - yes. You can move it to a different computer as long as it's only installed on one computer at a time (and if it's a Windows 7 Upgrade version the new computer must have it's own qualifying XP/Vista/7 license). The previous Windows 7 installation on the old computer must be formatted/deleted. You might have to call Microsoft and explain what happened to complete the activation. Activating it on the second computer will automatically in effect "deactivate" the license for the first computer. The key will work with both 32 and 64 bit, but only one can be installed at a time.

If it's an OEM license - no. OEM licenses, including Windows preinstalled on a computer before purchase and Windows bought separately, are tied to the first computer they are installed on and can not be transferred to a different computer. To install Windows on a different computer you will need to buy another copy.

Activate Windows 7 on this computer

If online activation fails:

Call Microsoft Using Manual Phone Activation

Note: If it’s an Upgrade - if you are still installing Windows and at the Enter Your Product Key page, do not enter your key and uncheck "Automatically Activate When Online" then click OK/Next to finish the installation.

If you have trouble activating Windows 7 you can call Microsoft to activate by following the steps below.

1. With Windows running click Start, then in the Search box type: slui.exe 4

2. Press Enter on your Keyboard

3. Select your Country.

4. Select the Phone Activation option, call the number given and hold for a person to pick up.

For more details:

Installing And Reinstalling Windows 7:

Have Questions About Installing Windows 7?
FAQ - Common Windows 7 Installation Questions & Answers
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Did the Windows 7 license you have installed on it now come preinstalled with it? If so, the answer is no, you cannot transfer it, this is because it is an OEM license.

OEM versions of Windows 7 are identical to Full License Retail versions except for the following:

- OEM versions do not offer any free Microsoft direct support from Microsoft support personnel

- OEM licenses are tied to the very first computer you install and activate it on

- OEM versions allow all hardware upgrades except for an upgrade to a different model motherboard

- OEM versions cannot be used to directly upgrade from an older Windows operating system


What is OEM software?:

Licensing FAQs:


If you want to install Windows 7 on the other computer you plan to build, you should purchase a retail license:

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MVP-Windows and Devices for IT

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Views: 9,923 Last updated: April 19, 2018 Applies to: