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Windows 7: Which network adapter does Windows Product Activation record?

03 Jan 2013   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 
Which network adapter does Windows Product Activation record?

When I do a clean installation of Windows 7 Home Premium OEM on a system with a network adapter on the motherboard and a PCI wireless adapter, which one's MAC address is recorded by Windows Product Activation (WPA)?

I'm going to install Windows 7 on a system that has been running XP Pro for a few years, so the hardware isn't the latest and greatest. My Linksys Wireless-G adapter is fine for now but I may want to replace it at some time in the future. My concern is that I'll lose three WPA points if WPA records the MAC address of the PCI card rather than the on-board adapter.

Of course, another concern would be that if the on-board adapter is the one recorded and I disable it after installing windows, will WPA be able to read its MAC address?

Thanks for your help. I've been searching the Internet for the answer to this question to no avail.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 Jan 2013   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 x64 Home Premium (and x86 VirtualBox VM)
 
 

Windows Activation records ALL hardware installed at the time of Activation - in the form of a hash.
It's good practice to only have minimal necessary hardware attached at that time, as changing from a external NIC to an internal one can trigger a re-activation request.
In your circumstances, I would recommend connecting to your network using the built-in Ethernet adaptor until after activation.
Do NOT use any BIOS option to disable the connector - if you need for some strange reason to disable the Ethernet connection, use the Windows options, as this preserves the activation status.
So long as you use Windows options to disable the adaptor, then there should be no problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2013   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 
Thanks!

Thanks, Noel. That was a very concise and helpful answer to my question.

Your answer leads me to believe that if I have integrated video, I should follow the same procedure. Is that correct? I don't have integrated video now but I may buy a newer MB and mount all my hardware on it before I make the change to Windows 7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Jan 2013   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 x64 Home Premium (and x86 VirtualBox VM)
 
 

Video is a slightly different matter - it only gets one 'vote' in Activation (the initial NIC/MAC gets three), so is not likely on its own to trigger an activation request.
With graphics, it depends on how well your adapters play together - and some boards will automatically disable the onboard adapter as soon as you plug in a card.
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 Which network adapter does Windows Product Activation record?




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