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Windows 7: reinstalling

21 Apr 2010   #1


i upgraded my system (CPU + mobo) about two months ago and had to call up to get my code validated coz it thought i was trying to use a new PC, i now want to format because im having a few problems i cant seem to fix, my question is, when formatting will i need to call up again when i resinstall OS (no new hardware changes since i last called them), or will my original key be valid again?

Also, in a month or so im buying a bigger hard drive, ill just be adding it to my current setup coz i need a bit more space, my OS will remain on my current HD. Is this going to make me need to call up again? (seriously i hate to call up, youre on hold for way too long then someone i can barely understand answers my call)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2010   #2
not so gray matter

W7 Ult. x64 | OS X

If you have an OEM software key, that is a key that locks to hardware, you won't have to call unless you switch your motherboard or cpu. Reformatting is fine, so is replacing the hard drive. The only time that you'll run into trouble is when upgrading a cpu/mobo.

OEM keys are "supposed" to be used by system builders. That means that companies like Dell, HP, etc should use them as well as anyone else who builds systems for customers. The thinking is that the customers won't likely be switching hardware. Microsoft sells these keys at the discount because they lock them to their first set of hardware and don't give support/refunds due to the fact that the system builder will be responsible for support/refunds. For actual system builders, those who build their own PCs, OEM Keys are problematic because if you switch your motherboard or cpu, you'll need to beg Microsoft to allow you to keep your current key.

Why don't people just buy Upgrade or Retail keys?

Because they're more expensive. OEM Keys are the cheapest of the lot, anywhere from $10 - 80 cheaper depending on the price and version.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2010   #3


perhaps i was not clear.

i replaced my mobo and CPU a while ago, i then called up and got them to fix the issue that caused with my key. (its not oem btw)

i now want to know.. if i format NOW will i need to call up again. (a second time) i dont know how to explain what i mean any better... im asking if now that i have changed my stuff and got them to make my code OK with it, will i have to get them to fix it again when i format even though im not changing anything THIS time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

21 Apr 2010   #4

Windows 8.1 Pro RTM x64

Since you have not changed anything this time, you should be OK. :)

I have, in the past, upgraded the hardware in some of my previous systems stopping short of changing the motherboard (admittedly, not in one go), and have had no problems with automatic activation. It's only where a change of motherboard is involved, or where a large number of hardware components is changed simultaneously, that problems can occur. Even then, a quick call to MS on the activation number (and speaking to an activation operator) resolves matters.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2010   #5


so the code is not tied to my original hardware setup after activation or anything?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I think what the others were saying is that it is tied to you hardware... But you already successfully reactivated after your motherboard / cpu install a while back. Reformatting now should not require you to make another call.

Reformatting or replacing the hard drive should not require another call... Replace your motherboard and cpu again and that might require a call.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2010   #7
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

The key is tied to the mobo. You can change/add any other piece of hardware (even the CPU) without impacting the key validity. Only when you change the mobo you have go thru the hoops.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2010   #8
Microsoft MVP


As to your OP question, with retail Win7 it normally only requires a robocall during activation if the hardware signature needs to be refreshed because of a change - this is what transpires with the exchange of numbers.

For a simple reinstall without hardware change, then there shouldn't need to be the robocall unless MS computers are unsure of an element of the hardware signature or need to sort the Product Key further from factory OEM sticker.

With retail Win7 you can always get it activated regardless of whether the call is required or not. In the worst case scenario where elevation to a MS activation agent does not succeed, Customer Service will open a tech support case that will get it activated after checking to see how the install proceeded.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2010   #9


ok thanks guys
My System SpecsSystem Spec


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