Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations - Eric Ligman

Eric Ligman, Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations Blog

No, OEM Microsoft Windows licenses cannot be transferred to another PC

Earlier today I put up the , “Regardless of what any hack says, a Windows 7 Upgrade is an Upgrade. What you need to know,” post here on my Blog and shortly afterwards I received the following question offline:

“If I have an old PC with an OEM Windows license on it, can I just take that Windows license from that PC and us it to qualify for the Windows 7 upgrade?”

Transfer rights and OEM software are two topic that have been discussed here on the Blog quite a bit over the years, so I thought I would put this post together to directly address this question on OEM Windows licenses and transferability.  Bottom line is, no, OEM Microsoft Windows licenses do not have any transfer rights and live and die on the original computer they are shipped with and installed on, period.  Here’s a visual representation for you:

image  (Click for full size)


As you can see, the OEM Windows license is “locked” to the original PC it comes with and cannot be transferred to any other PC.  So in this instance, the new PC would require a full Windows license, not an upgrade license in order to be licensed to run Microsoft Windows.

Here are some other posts I have put up in the past that may be helpful for you in terms of understanding transfer rights and OEM software:

** UPDATE: One of the readers of my Blog posted a comment to this post and reminded me of something that I had forgotten to include in the original write-up.  Yes, in Germany specifically, OEM licenses can be transferred.  This does apply to Germany specifically though, so everywhere else it holds true that OEM licenses cannot be transferred to a different computer.  Thank you for pointing this out and reminding me.  I appreciate that.

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric LigmanFollow me on TWITTER clip_image001and RSS clip_image002
Global Partner Experience Lead
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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