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Limit to number of times I can reinstall XP?


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#1
Fidelio

Fidelio

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Hi all,
I have a PC which I use for audio production, just as a hobby, which I have owned for about 3 years. I have been using it for the web and games and stuff too, and it gets a bit slow as it gets cluttered with stuff, so I reinstall once in a while. Usually I just activate online but, last time, which was a few months ago, I had to call up and speak to an automated voice, which told me I had reached the limit of times I could activate the product. They validated it anyway, much to my relief.
Recently I've got into linux, and I want to do another clean install. Basically, I want to have a totally clean xp partition which runs my music production software and nothing else, but have a dual boot into linux for all my internet/ofiice/photos/multimedia stuff. But someone on a linux forum said that MS had refused to activate their copy of xp after he'd installed a lot of times, and I'm sort of worried that if I try and do it again it won't let me. Also, my PC is getting a bit old now, and at some stage within the next year or two, I'll probably put in a new mobo+cpu, and need to do it again.

So I was just wondering, am I going to run into any problems if I need to reinstall once or twice more? I thought I was OK to reinstall as often as I like, and also (although I haven't done this) swap XP around onto different machines as often as I like as long as I only run one copy at a time. I know it's not exactly a 'geek' question, but I thought someone here would know.
Thanks
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#2
SuperSam

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I think you can install 3 times, and after that you have to ring microsoft...
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#3
Neil Jones

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So I was just wondering, am I going to run into any problems if I need to reinstall once or twice more? I thought I was OK to reinstall as often as I like, and also (although I haven't done this) swap XP around onto different machines as often as I like as long as I only run one copy at a time. I know it's not exactly a 'geek' question, but I thought someone here would know.


You can install and activate the product until the cows come home subject to the licence and if its on the same computer each time. Bear in mind that OEM licences are tied to the machine they came with and die with them. Retail licences can be transferred from one machine to another if its removed from the first machine before going on the second.

You can activate online endlessly (usually with gaps of 120 days though on occasion it goes through anyway regardless) and you can activate via phone endlessly. There is no limit to the number of times you can activate Windows XP.
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#4
Fidelio

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Thanks. That's OK for now then. It is an OEM disk that came with the PC when I bought it. I was just wondering what 'tied to the machine' means. Does that mean tied to the motherboard? Is it possible to upgrade a mb with an OEM disk? It's just that by the time I get round to doing that there will be very little of the original machine left. The box, the PSU, one HD and the sound card. I've already added a second HD and a new video card. At what point does it become a new machine?
Thanks again!
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#5
Neil Jones

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The OEM licence is tied to the original hardware that the machine came with. While you are free to change the hardware as you wish, the computer will require activation, usually if you change the mainboard, at which point the sticker on the side of the case comes into use. The key that Windows has is known as a volume licence key, this is only valid for the original hardware and will not activate online or via telephone, you will be asked to change it to the one stuck on the case and press appropriate buttons to indicate why you're doing what you doing before you get a new key.

The licence, according to Microsoft, dies with the machine. So if the original motherboard dies, the VLK licence is null and void and you get asked to reactivate. In theory there's nothing to stop you reusing the case and the licence stuck on top/side/bottom/front of it forever and eternity, but branded computers are often put together in ways that make it hard to put other boards inside the case. The idea is basically to get you to go and buy a new PC instead of upgrading the current one. It is possible to change the full guts of a computer and still have it activate on the OEM licence, though in Microsoft's eyes said licence became invalid as soon as the mainboard was changed.
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