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Transferring Windows XP?


MS-DOS 2.0
Political User
I'm really curious, since I used to do this in the past. Let's say I build a new computer and harvest all of the drives out of my old computer; hence, my old computer is not useable and I do not intend to use it ever again.

Now I know you would have to reinstall it, and I would assume that the Windows XP Activation would probably flag it and not approve activation automatically (correct?). But if you call Microsoft to activate it manually, do they cooperate or do they presume you're lying and force you to buy a whole new copy of Windows XP?



(value not set)
Staff member
Political User
I have to call them when I format my desktop becuase I had changed a bunch of hardware. Its really fast and easy, they are very trusting when you call. At first its all automated, you put in the number the activation window gives you and if it doesnt activate then they will forward you to a person.

bush dogg

OSNN Senior Addict
Political User
Are you talking about OEM bought standalone with hardware or OEM purchased with the system from a computer manufacturer?

Retail full version?

How many times have you activated windows in the last year?


OSNN Advanced
Had to call them once after I changed my hardware... with the retail copy, they'll ask you whether you're running it on more than 1 system, then ask for the first 5 digits of the authentication number before giving you the full 25 or so digit activation code.

bush dogg

OSNN Senior Addict
Political User
Yes it will make some difference but it's still not to bad with Microsoft.

How many times have you activated windows on this system in the last year?

Are you going to use all the same hardware but just replace the Mobo?


MS-DOS 2.0
Political User
In this example, the motherboard, CPU, RAM, and video card would probably change (to be top-of-the-line), but the CD/DVD/floppy/hard drives would all be transferred over, along with a few PCI cards.

This is all hypothetical. What's probably going to happen is that whenever I build a new computer, I will migrate to a 64-bit Windows (probably Vista, considering my timeframe) and buy a standalone OEM from NewEgg.com.

As for the activation, assume that Windows XP was reinstalled (and, hence, reactivated) about once every six months on the earlier machine with no hardware changes.

This is mostly me being curious, that's all.



Bow Down to the King
Political User
I've had to call phone activation several times. They don't really give you a problem unless the person you get stuck talking to is in a bad mood.
The magic decoder ring of when you have to reactivate. Each hardware item has points. Too many points and phone activation is required. I got nailed because I was trying to troubleshoot a DVD Burner problem. Pain in the ass in the middle of troubleshooting but not really hard aside from the wasted time.


There is also a time limit after which hardware changes get nutralized. Reading the above I could have avoided my activation by saving my pre-troubleshooting activation file and restoring it when done.

bush dogg

OSNN Senior Addict
Political User
You should not have a problem with Microsoft in regards to the changes that you have in mind. Just make sure you do take the other system offline and not try to run that version on both systems at the same time.

When you upgrade your system the activation window will come up and give you
30 days or it could be only 3 days to activate. Either way if it’s been over 4 months from the last time it was activated even with a standalone OEM you should have no problems.

I assume your version is “XP or XP with SP1” if so order the SP2 update CD it’s free from here.

If by chance you get the “you have 3 days to activate windows” screen there is no need to panic “and don’t activate at that time” just continue with getting the system where you want it “all drivers updated and software installed”. Once the system is where you want it get on the internet and run around for awhile.

When you’re satisfied the system is working fine and have good internet then I think you will be able to activate by internet without calling Microsoft “so long as it’s been over 4 months from the last time you made changes or activated”.

If by chance you do have to call Microsoft on the standalone OEM to activate the product just remember “your motherboard went down RIGHT” that’s why this had to be done.

What you’re doing is building a new system then installing fresh so you won’t have the same problems as someone that changes hardware alot with the same install and would have to call Microsoft.

Back in June I changed my motherboard went from Via p4pb 400fl to the Asus p4p800-E Deluxe with DDR 400 memory on the same install and I didn’t have to call to activate I was able to do it over the internet “but I don’t change hardware very often” of course I was given 3 days to activate.

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