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Windows 7: Activation after hardware changes.


14 Jul 2012   #1

Windows 7 - X64
 
 
Activation after hardware changes.

Hi

I recently stopped using a wireless card and changed to the onboard LAN. On removing the wireless card widows informs me that Windows is no longer activated and i can't seem to activate it using the methods give. I can solve this by replacing the card, but i still use the LAN. I have not tried the option to call MS yet.

1. Is there anyway to solve this without calling MS, I really want to remove the card?


2. If I change the main hard drive will i get the same issues over again?

Windows 7 64Bit

Thanks

VooDoo

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

14 Jul 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64
 
 

Hi,

You should still be able to activate as long as you don't change the motherboard (I'm assuming you use an OEM licence).

To properly analyse and solve problems with Activation and Validation, we need to see a full copy of the report produced by the MGADiag tool:

Windows Genuine and Activation Issue Posting Instructions


Regards,
Golden
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jul 2012   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Hi Voodoo,

1. If you are using the OEM-System Builder version of Windows 7, as long as you have not changed the motherboard, you can confidently call MS and get your Windows activated, if so required.

2. If you are using the Retail version there is no such requirement and again you can confidently call MS and get it activated, if so required.

Now to answer your query,the MAC (Media Access Control) address is definitely one of the parameters involved in Windows Product Activation.

You can always change the MAC Address of your NIC (Network Interface Card). irrespective of your NIC manufacturer.

If you have any difficulties in calling MS for activation,( I quite understand that many people living in less developed countries have difficulties in making a phone call. People living in developed countries may not appreciate this because they had never faced any problems on this count. )then you can change the MAC Address of your LAN to that of the Wireless Card you are removing. That way Windows will see the same MAC Address and remain activated.

You may use Technitium MAC Address changer Technitium MAC Address Changer v6 (FREEWARE) to accomplish this.

Please note down carefully the original MAC Address of your LAN and Wireless card.( Save it so that you can restore the original Address anytime)

Remove the Wireless card and change the MAC Address of your LAN to that of the Wireless Card.

Reboot for the change to take effect.

In a similar fashion, you can also change the Serial number of your new/reformatted hard drive to that of your old drive you are removing.
Hard Disk Serial Number Changer Hard Disk Serial Number Changer

(I have not used the MAC Address Changer anytime but whenever I reformat my system drive,I change the Serial number of the drive to what existed when I first activated Windows. However I use the Paragon Hard Disk Manager to change the serial number.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


14 Jul 2012   #4

Windows 7 - X64
 
 

Hi Golden

Thanks for the response. I will download and post shortly. It's not OEM.


Thanks


Voodoo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jul 2012   #5

Windows 7 - X64
 
 

Hello [ Again ]

Thank you both very much for your replies.

I have gone with jumanji's MAC Address changer and it worked a treat.

Thanks again for the responses, appreciated.

Voodoo - Activated
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jul 2012   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Glad it helped and you are excited about it.

Back in the days of Windows XP, it was said that the NIC gives three "yes" votes out of the seven required to keep the activation intact. It was being recommended to add a cheap NIC even if one had one integrated, before activating. That will make up six "yes" votes and give a lot of leeway in changing other hardware at will without the need for reactivating.( I even had a program that showed which are all the parameters giving an "yes" vote.)

It is not known why MS gave a three vote power to NIC while all others had only one power and whether the same algorithm continues for Windows 7 with modifications. In fact there is no authoritative information on Windows 7 product activation as was available for Windows XP, through independent research.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jul 2012   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 x64 Home Premium (and x86 VirtualBox VM)
 
 

As far as I am aware, a MAC address has absolutely nothing to do with activation - do you have any authroitative cite for that, Jumanji?

Voodoo, please post your MGADiag report anyhow - it may give us a clue as to what happened, although I suspec that it was simply a temporary race condition.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jul 2012   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by NoelDP View Post
As far as I am aware, a MAC address has absolutely nothing to do with activation - do you have any authroitative cite for that, Jumanji?

Voodoo, please post your MGADiag report anyhow - it may give us a clue as to what happened, although I suspec that it was simply a temporary race condition.
Hi NoelDP,

1.As stated in my post no.6, my suggestion to the OP to change the MAC address of the LAN to that of the wireless card he removed was based on two articles that I had read in the XP days on what components take part in the WPA. MAC address is one. ( I do not have an XP machine now but I have searched the net and am providing references to those two articles at the end of this post.)

2. In the first article Alex Nichole, MS-MVP - who is no more - has stated that MAC address provides three votes to WPA.

3. The second article, by an independent entity, which Alex Nichole implicitly or explicitly refers, also states which are all the components that take part in the WPA and how each of these contribute to the 50 digit Installation ID which one normally reads out to MS during a phone activation.

4.As to Windows 7 Product Activation, I had already stated that not much information is available, but it is generally presumed that the basic algorithm is the same with MS only modifying it a bit here and there with succesive iterations of the OS service packs and OS itself taking into consideration the technological necessities and piracy concerns.( With Windows 8, it may be altogether different or so I hear.)

OK, in any case the suggestion worked. The proof of tha cake is eating. The OP can go back to the original MAC address for the LAN and Windows will ask to be activated. Change it again to that of the wireless card and Voodooo ... He can repeat this any number of times with the same results. Proof enough.(EDIT: If OP intends to do this repeatedly, he is advised that he disconnect from the internet, for this activation check is usually internal with Windows checking for any changes during every boot.In any experiment of this sort one has to be extra careful and not give any room for MS to get suspicious that the OP is indulging in some sort of illegal activity.)

That said, I have absolutely no objections to the OP providing you with two MGAD for the activated and unactivated conditions if he so pleases for your expert analysis. As I had repeatedly stated in many posts, with no authoritative information from MS we only have the user experiences to count upon.

Now, if you say that MAC address has absolutely nothing to do with activation, do you have any authoritatve cite for that? I suppose that should also indicate which components take part.

Windows Product Activation (WPA)

http://www.licenturion.com/xp/fully-licensed-wpa.txt

(Incidentally, going through the above two articles after so many years, I realise now why phone activation is turned down in some cases even though the caller does not have the OS activated in any system - the fact that many systems with different components can produce the same Installation ID.

In the case that was reported in this very forum, the caller was told that he had it already activated in three systems and was refused activation.You advised him to call them again. The man at the other end this time activated.

So what happened? - an analysis.

The first man did find three systems activated having the same Installation ID. Refused activation.

The second man also found so (my presumption) but he was knowledgeable. He knew that there can be more than one system with the same Installation ID. He was a good samaritan. He gave the benefit of doubt to the caller and activated it.( I do remember you having said that in Phone activation where you are required to talk to a person the caller's ability to convince the man at the other end is crucial.))

Finally this is the screenshot of WinXP info that I ran on my Windows 7 Retail machine. Obviously it does not work but shows which are all the components that contribute to the Windows Activation.

Name:  2XPinfo.jpg
Views: 48
Size:  58.9 KB


My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jul 2012   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 x64 Home Premium (and x86 VirtualBox VM)
 
 

I knew Alex Nichol (not well, but we met and coresponded) his article is here - Windows Product Activation (WPA) - the MAC address as I understand it accounted for one of the three votes in XP , but none in either Vista or Windows 7.

There is no such voting system in Vista or Windows 7 so far as I know - they rely purely on the motherboard ID as discovered from the BIOS and its various tables. This means that the most common cause of re-activation requests (for hardware) is BIOS updates, or Chipset driver updates.

Since this forum is about Win 7 (and peripherally Win Vista) talking about details of XP activation is irrelevant anyhow.

The EULA/SLT for Vista and above has changed significantly from that in Win XP - and the following advice is given in the OEM System Builder FAQs in respect of these OS's....
<quote>
Q. If I upgrade or replace a motherboard do I need a new operating system license for the computer?
A. An upgrade or a replacement of the motherboard is considered to create a new personal computer. Therefore, 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 is created, and a new operating system license is required.
If the motherboard is replaced because of a defect, you do not need to acquire a new operating system license for the computer. The motherboard replacement must be the same make and model, or the same manufacturer’s replacement or equivalent, as defined by that manufacturer’s warranty.
The reason for this licensing rule primarily relates to the end-user license agreement (EULA) and the support of the software covered by that EULA. The EULA is a set of usage rights granted to the end-user by the computer manufacturer. The EULA relates only to rights for that software as installed on that particular computer. The System Builder is required to support the software on that individual computer.
Understanding that end-users, over time, upgrade their computers with different components, Microsoft views the CPU as the one remaining base component that still defines that original computer. Because the motherboard contains the CPU, when the motherboard is replaced for reasons other than defect, a new computer is essentially created. Therefore, the original OEM cannot be expected to support this new computer that they did not manufacture.
The licensing rules do not apply to non-OEM Microsoft operating systems.

</quote>
Licensing FAQ

These guidelines stem from the activation requirements (or vice-versa) - MS has as far as I know, never published the details of what could trigger re-activation requests.


Having said that, there are a number of things outside hardware changes which will trigger re-activation requests, with either OEM or Retail installations.
These include.
1) BIOS changes
2) WGA/MGA failures caused by real changes to the OS and system files (either from data corruption or DLL hell or similar causes)
3) Driver changes
4) Race Conditions - usually such re-activation requests will disappear on a reboot, or later in the day asa the system re-tests.
4) Switching off/on motherboard components in the BIOS may also trigger requests

All re-activation requests will, if left for long enough without action, result in a non-genuine status.

I suspect that the cause of the 'cure' in this case was simply a reboot, and allowing the system to settle for a period - I would be prepared to wager that returning the MAC address to the original one would not cause a repeat of the problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jul 2012   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

........There is no such voting system in Vista or Windows 7 so far as I know - they rely purely on the motherboard ID as discovered from the BIOS and its various tables.

Any authoritative cite for that? Without even an iota to backup, I will consider it as a sweeping statement.

Since this forum is about Win 7 (and peripherally Win Vista) talking about details of XP activation is irrelevant anyhow.

I will agree provided I know any authoritative cite as queried above and that states that things have changed for Windows 7 as you profess.

The EULA/SLT for Vista and above has changed significantly from that in Win XP - and the following advice is given in the OEM System Builder FAQs in respect of these OS's....
<quote>
Q. If I upgrade or replace a motherboard do I need a new operating system license for the computer?
A. An upgrade or a replacement of the motherboard is considered to create a new personal computer. Therefore, 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 is created, and a new operating system license is required.
If the motherboard is replaced because of a defect, you do not need to acquire a new operating system license for the computer. The motherboard replacement must be the same make and model, or the same manufacturer’s replacement or equivalent, as defined by that manufacturer’s warranty.
The reason for this licensing rule primarily relates to the end-user license agreement (EULA) and the support of the software covered by that EULA. The EULA is a set of usage rights granted to the end-user by the computer manufacturer. The EULA relates only to rights for that software as installed on that particular computer. The System Builder is required to support the software on that individual computer.
Understanding that end-users, over time, upgrade their computers with different components, Microsoft views the CPU as the one remaining base component that still defines that original computer. Because the motherboard contains the CPU, when the motherboard is replaced for reasons other than defect, a new computer is essentially created. Therefore, the original OEM cannot be expected to support this new computer that they did not manufacture.
The licensing rules do not apply to non-OEM Microsoft operating systems.

</quote>
Licensing FAQ

Yes, the licensing rules do not apply to Non-OEM OS.We are talking about non-OEM. A different motherboard change wil require a reactivation of OEM variety. OEM Product Keys are tagged seperately and when MS finds that it has lost almost all votes - save perhaps to that pertaining to the hard drive and it is an OEM tagged one, activation will be refused or granted as a special case. It was so in XP days and continues to be so in Windows 7 age too. No change. If for non-OEM it has changed again authoritative cite.

These guidelines stem from the activation requirements (or vice-versa) - MS has as far as I know, never published the details of what could trigger re-activation requests.

That is the crux of the problem. We only talk as "as far as I know" " I think" " "to the best of my knowledge" "as I understand"

"As far as I know" there is no authoritative information that MS has changed the WPA algorithm.

Having said that, there are a number of things outside hardware changes which will trigger re-activation requests, with either OEM or Retail installations.
These include.
1) BIOS changes
2) WGA/MGA failures caused by real changes to the OS and system files (either from data corruption or DLL hell or similar causes)
3) Driver changes
4) Race Conditions - usually such re-activation requests will disappear on a reboot, or later in the day asa the system re-tests.
4) Switching off/on motherboard components in the BIOS may also trigger requests

All re-activation requests will, if left for long enough without action, result in a non-genuine status.

No contest.

I suspect that the cause of the 'cure' in this case was simply a reboot, and allowing the system to settle for a period - I would be prepared to wager that returning the MAC address to the original one would not cause a repeat of the problem.

Only OP can help us settle this if he pleases. I wish he does. I have already suggested it. Though normally no information is sent to MS unless an activation request is made, I do not want him to take any chance and so have advised him to disconnect the internet when doing this experiment.

Why a wager? It is not a question of one up or one down.No personal ego comes here.We only want to know what is correct - in the absence of any authoritative information..
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Activation after hardware changes.




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