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Windows 7: 2 Computers Exact Hardware - Can windows be authorized on both?

21 Nov 2010   #1

Windows 7 Home Ultimate 64
2 Computers Exact Hardware - Can windows be authorized on both?

I am building two identical htpc machines. Same motherboard, same processor, same ram. Maybe even same hard drives.

Could I get a single copy of Windows 7 to authenticate on both machines? I bought a family pack so I have an extra license, just hate to waste to licenses on seldom used htpcs. What I would prefer to do is just close the drive in stick it in the new computer so I don't have to reinstall and config all the htpc software (time consuming to say the least).

My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Nov 2010   #2

Windows Xp with Windows 7 theme = Win

If you have a family pack then yes you could install it on both PCS. One single couple of windows 7 will do install windows 7 on one PC.

You'll need to purchase the family pack if you haven't already.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Nov 2010   #3
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Hello shaxs.

Something like Paragon could be used to create a clone that could be installed to the second PC but it will have to have its own activation key added after you have it running.

Just don't add a key for the install to the first PC, then after you make the image for the second PC add a separate key to both PCs after you have them as you want them.

Even though the HW may be "the same" they have unique ID numbers that differentiate them from others that can be detected by MS servers.

Paragon Adaptive Restore Technology
My System SpecsSystem Spec

21 Nov 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit

Yep, even though the two computers may be identical, the WPA mechanism will see it as different. How? :) Read on.

Here is a clip from an article on Windows XP product activation but still will throw some light on the basics of it in general.

"The WPA system checks ten categories of hardware:
  1. Display Adapter
  2. SCSI Adapter
  3. IDE Adapter (effectively the motherboard)
  4. Network Adapter (NIC) and its MAC Address
  5. RAM Amount Range (i.e., 0-64mb, 64-128mb, etc.)
  6. Processor Type
  7. Processor Serial Number
  8. Hard Drive Device
  9. Hard Drive Volume Serial Number (VSN)
  10. CD-ROM / CD-RW / DVD-ROM "
Now you know how it can be different even with identical, same brand components. Just an example: your NIC in the second PC (even the integrated one) will have a different MAC Address.

So there you are. :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Nov 2010   #5

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86

Irrespective of the results, ONE license is required PER computer. You cannot legally install a single license copy of Windows on multiple computers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Nov 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit

Ya, that's the legal aspect imposed by EULA. The practical aspect is that even if you try to, thinking that both are identical, you will not succeed. This is the technical aspect of it.:)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Nov 2010   #7
Microsoft MVP


You can install Win7 to one HD, set it up as you want without activating, then save a Win7 backup image externally: Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

Next boot the Win7 DVD Repair console on the second computer, select Recover Using An Image to apply the stored image to it: System Image Recovery

If the Win7 backup imaging fails then use the excellent Acronis free cloning programs available if you have a Seagate or WD HD on either end. Paragon 10 Backup Imaging and Macrium Reflect are other good free programs for imaging.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Nov 2010   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit

The question raised by the thread starter is whether he can activate two identical machines with the same one key he has got.

The answer is, it is legally not permissible as pointed by Bill2.

Even if he tries, activation on the second identical machine will fail, since the parameters taken for activation like serial numbers, MAC address etc., will be different inspite of the two machines being identical.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Nov 2010   #9
Microsoft MVP


Agree the issue about same Key to activate both installations on identical hardware is settled. That was easy: There is no exception to one installation per license.

I wanted to leave him some options to actually work with, since he has two keys.

We try to help users here even when they don't get the answer they want.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Nov 2010   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit

My fault. I missed out the family pack mention. A short memory fault:).( I was seriously focussed on some WMP 12 corrupt library issue and was peeping in here now and then.) You are right as far as a repeat install on the other identical machine is concerned.

He will have 30 days time to groom one machine fully and then clone it to the other and then activate the two machines with two different keys. Amen.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 2 Computers Exact Hardware - Can windows be authorized on both?

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