New Motherboard = New Windows License

Microsoft recently made a change to the licence agreement saying that a new motherboard is equal to a new computer, hence you need to purchase a new Windows licence.

Here is what Microsoft has to say:

“An upgrade of the motherboard is considered to result in a “new personal computer” to which Microsoft® OEM operating system software cannot be transferred from another computer. If the motherboard is upgraded or replaced for reasons other than a defect, then a new computer has been created and the license of new operating system software is required.”

The reason Microsoft gave for this term is that “Microsoft needed to have one base component “left standing” that would still define that original PC. Since the motherboard contains the CPU and is the “heart and soul” of the PC, when the motherboard is replaced (for reasons other than defect) a new PC is essentially created.”

Microsoft sent a memo to its OEM partners asking them to enforce this new policy, every time they upgrade a computer for a client.

Basically if you change your motherbaord you need to buy a new licence for windows, wonder how they will handle reinstalling the operating system


Distinguished Member
Thats outrageous!!

Mind you, when i removed 1 x 36gb SCSI HDD from my machine, it said i have to "re-activate" my Windows!


Active Member
The point is pretty moot, there's zero chance of M$ pursuing any user who breaches this asinnine clause .. note it's the OEM license, I'm sure it's there to act as some sort on control over OEMs .. remember this is the same license that said it can only be sold with a 'new PC' and then allowed a 'new PC' to be a single hard-disk for example.

Yes, it's outrageously greedy .. but then what else does one expect from these crooks .. but it's also completley ignoreable.

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
hehe - KraGorn hit the nail on the head :thumbsup:

If this actually changes your computing life I will buy you a beer!:D


Distinguished Member
You may need to ring up MS tech support and explain the situation - they have the authority to allow a particular Windows licence to be reused under circumstances like that. It's not that big a deal.
NicolasB said:
You may need to ring up MS tech support and explain the situation - they have the authority to allow a particular Windows licence to be reused under circumstances like that. It's not that big a deal.

This is diferent from reinstalling the OS, the actual OS is locked toa chip on the motherbaord...


Distinguished Member
I just replaced a old computer with a complete new machine. Only the DVD writer is from the old computer. I used the same Windows disc I had and activation went smoothly as it should.


Distinguished Member
I've just replaced a motherboard on a four year old eMachines PC and had to re activate windows over the phone.......worked with no probs at all......and without having to talk to a M$ rep either :eek:



Active Member
meansizzler said:
THis is for Windows Vista I XP...

The report I read somewhere else (/. or El Reg probably) didn't make that comment .. even so, my previous point stands. :)


Active Member
No, not Vista (that license will probably be worse ;)) this is Windows XP. The article was indeed posted on the Register earlier this week - I posted a link to it on another thread. Apparently the clause has always been in the license but it just happens to have come to the attention of the news this week.

To back up what others have said, I've used my OEM copies of XP Pro and XP Home to reinstall new computers as and when I've upgraded them and never had a problem.


Active Member
The 'BIOS lock' someone mentioned only affects the 'recovery CD' method M$ used to prevent users getting their hands on a 'real' installation CD for OEM systems, these are indeed locked to a specific motherboard in most cases unalterably.


Distinguished Member
The difference between OEM licenses and Full licenses are that OEM licenses cannot be transfered - hence they are cheaper. As anyone can build a PC nowadays OEM licenses are now being sold like full licenses.

So, someone has asked.... "If you upgrade your PC at which point does it become a new PC". MS answer is exactly this statement.

Don't complain about it! They've (MS) have even put a get out clause for everybody with the "unless it's faulty" statement! :thumbsup:

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