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Windows 7: Can I use old Vista/7 install discs on another PC?

02 Oct 2012   #1

New York
Can I use old Vista/7 install discs on another PC?

My Dell PC came with Vista installed on it and physical discs to re-install. I then got Windows 7 for free due to the timing of when I bought the PC. I presume the discs were the upgrade variety, but I don't have them in front of me. I know when I totally reformatted my harddrive recently for a problem, I had to install Vista first and then 7... leading me to believe now that the Windows 7 install discs were the upgrade and not full.

I just got the "full" version of Windows 8 Pro from Microsoft DreamSpark and plan on dualbooting to a separate partition alongside Windows 7... to give it a test run.

Eventually, I will probably wipe the Windows 7 partition and extend it so that I have my Windows 8 partition and a 2nd partition for files and whatnot. My question is this... can I take the Vista install disc and then the Windows 7 disc and install them on another PC? I am pretty sure I am doing a full install of Windows 8 (with its own key) and therefore wouldn't be using the Vista key or the Windows 7 key that is tied to the Vista key, right?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2012   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

If the original Vista installation is OEM, it is "legally" tied to the computer. Meaning it is not transferable to another computer. However, a Windows 7 upgrade can be installed without the original operating system installed. There is a technique described in the tutorials section.

If you do this and then do not use the old Windows Vista operating system, you should be OK. The Windows 7 upgrade has its own license number, so it does not re-use the one from Vista. I can't recall, but you may have to enter in the Vista license number during the installation. If so, then definitely do not use the Vista installation discs for another computer. Legally, it is supposed to be the same computer, but Microsoft does not enforce it. As long as you purchased the Windows 7 installation, Microsoft gets their money and it shouldn't be their concern as to which computer it is on. The only caveat is not using the older Vista operating system, since it has technically been upgraded. If the Vista license number was required during Windows 7 installation, then your Vista copy may be logged with Microsoft as a deactivated operating system and would fail authentication.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2012   #3

New York

So, I got the Windows 7 installation discs from Dell during that period where you can get a free upgrade to Windows 7 because you had bought your Dell Vista PC during a period a few months prior. I had bought the PC like almost 2 years ago, right before Windows 7 was coming out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Oct 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

^ Technically, based on what you've said, those installation discs are meant for that Dell computer and no other. However, you could try it out on the other PC and see if you can validate/authenticate it with Microsoft. That's the sure way to know if it's viable to use. But again... your call.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Nov 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

BTW, I since learned that the only license number you enter is what is provided with the software. You don't need the license number of the operating system you are upgrading... which is kind of odd really, because if Microsoft really wanted to button everything down they'd require this for any upgrade installation. I'll bet there's a scenario where it would foul things up and Microsoft decided that the extra work to handle it wasn't worthwhile.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Can I use old Vista/7 install discs on another PC?

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