OEM versions of Windows XP


Thread Starter

Bob Peterson

I meant to ask the XP experts out there. Not all that long ago, I received an email from someone contending that OEM versions of MS XP cannot be
transferred to a third party once it has been activated.

1. Does anyone know if this is true?

2. Is there some workaround if it is true?

Bob Peterson

Chris Elston

This is TRUE. Once you build a computer and install an OEM version, you have 30 DAYS to activate this OEM copy. XP hard codes your hardware configuration into the activation.

You are allow to change certain hardware components in your computer, but if you change TOO much, like the motherboard. XP will DISABLE and display an 800 number for you to call to get another activation. MIcrosoft says they will TOLERATE a certain amount of call on the same
serial number because they understand people upgrade their machines.

Like wise if you transfer the OEM copy to another computer. I suppose if you did not do this more than a few times, Microsoft would never know, but it's your butt not mine.

Work around? Are you in college or know a college KID? Ask him to go to the book store and pick up a copy of Windows XP Professional Educational Version. It should be $15.00, (this was the price at Purdue Univ last week) for the Educational copy last I knew it does not require activation.

However, this copy should be used ONLY if you are in college or taking a class somewhere studying your undergraduate degree.

Good Luck,
Chris Elston
http://www.elstonsystems.com <--computer skills
http://www.mrplc.com <--automation skills

You're correct.

Not only can't an OEM version be transferred to a third party, no copy of XP can be transferred to a third party.

Remember, XP is "Activated" to a box, not an individual. If the copy of XP has been activated once, MS considers it as belonging to that box, not the individual that purchased it.

HOWEVER,,,, there is an 800 number you can call to argue your position.

From experience, if you believe you have a valid argument over a purchased copy of XP, they'll more than likely issue you a new PA number.

However, OEM versions definitely belong to the platform it came on.

Mark Hill

Alex Pavloff

I think you're talking about retail copies.

OEM copies generally refer to the copies that Dell, Compaq, Gateway, etc ship. These are installed at the factory. For these copies, the OEM is allowed to change the activation process, and I believe that many of them make the activation process look at the system BIOS.

I think what we have here are two separate questions that people are confusing.

Q #1: Can installations of Windows XP, because of product activation, be moved from machine to machine?

A #1: Maybe. There's a nice article at
"http://www.extremetech.com/article/0,3396,s%3D1027%26a%3D11079,00.asp":http://www.extremetech.com/article/0,3396,s%3D1027%26a%3D11079,00.asp about the technical aspects of WPA.

Q #2: Do I, having received an OEM license Windows XP pre-installed on my machine, have the rights to move Windows XP to another machine.

A #2: I don't think so. I don't have a Windows XP OEM license in front of me (give me a few days and I can read the fine print and tell you.)

So, what's technically possible may put you in violation of your license agreement. What may be perfectly legal under your license agreement may be technically risky.

Alex Pavloff
Software Engineer
Eason Technology

Michael Griffin

I'm not an expert, but I guess the answer depends upon what you mean by "transferred". If the whole computer is "transferred" (i.e., sold) then the copy of XP goes with it. XP doesn't know who owns the computer, it only knows which computer it is installed in.
The "Direct OEM" version normally comes pre-activated, and locked to the original computer's BIOS (I don't know the details of this). This supposedly is a substitute for normal activation, but somewhat less forgiving of
hardware changes.
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: SOFT: OEM versions of Windows XP

$15.00 for Windows XP Professional Educational version? What are its limitations?

Of course, the first thing a student will do upon graduation is go out and spend $199 for a regular XP Professional! For the privilege of a version
that requires WPA?


Chris Elston

No...not retail copies.

I own a computer business, we are a white box builder and we purchase OEM copies. They REQUIRE Activation, and can not be transferred. If
you change too much hardware or the motherboard, XP will DEACTIVATE.