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Windows 7 OEM and Hard Drive failures

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My Hard Drive recently crashed and I lost my Windows Vista 64-bit on it. I bought a new HD, and it seems to working fine, but I'm still out an Operating System. I was looking into the Windows 7 OEM Version, but I'm hesitant to shell out a hundred bucks for it. My main concern is in the event that my new HD crashes, will I be able to reinstall it on a new HD? Will I be able able to reinstall it period? (on the same computer of course). Also, it appears there are two different versions of Windows 7, 32-bit, and 64-bit. My Windows Vista was a 64-bit, so does this mean I should buy the 64-bit Windows 7? Thanks to anyone who clarifies this for me.
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    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

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You can reinstall the OEM version as many times as you want - onto the SAME computer. And as far as Microsoft is concerned (most software companies, for that matter, not just MS), it is the motherboard that determines the computer, not the hard drive or CPU, or case or anything else - just the motherboard.

So if your new hard drive fails, you can install this OEM license again, and again - as long as it is tied to the "original" motherboard.

Now what may happen, regardless if OEM or full Retail, is after so many times, the on-line "activation" may fail. But this is no big deal. You will be prompted to call MS and all you have to do is tell them the truth - your HD failed so you are installing Windows on a new drive in the same old computer. They will give you HUGE hexadecimal number to type in that will reset your activation counter and you will be good to go.

If you think in the relatively near future you will be building a new computer and tossing this one in the recycle bin, then you might want to consider a full Retail license. For then, you will be perfectly legal in transferring the license to the new computer, as long as it is removed (the HD reformatted or wiped) from the old.

As far as 32-bit or 64-bit, that does not matter since you are talking about a different OS. However, it really makes not sense to install 32-bit as that is old technology and being phased out. 64-bit is here to stay, at least until supplanted by 128-bit several years down the road. Since your current system is 64-bit Vista, you should have no problems finding 64-bit Windows 7 drivers.

And if you have more, or plan to get more than 4Gb of RAM, you need 64-bit anyway.
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