Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.

Windows 7: Old computer broke, can I decommission the product key?

17 Nov 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
Old computer broke, can I decommission the product key?

So I had a computer with Windows 7 installed on it. Unfortunately, it broke beyond repair, and I was forced to "decommission" the computer to my garage where it sits now. Now I have a new computer, but I realized that I only have one product key for Windows 7. That key is used on the broken computer, while I can't activate Windows 7 on my new computer because the product key is already in use.

Is it possible to somehow free up the product key again? I know that you can somehow uninstall the OS on an old computer to free the key up, but I have no way of uninstalling it when the computer itself won't start up. Is there another way to free the product key up, or am I now forced to either fix the computer or buy another copy of Windows 7?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP


A migrated retail Product Key is freed up after reinstall during the required activation robocall, when you answer the question "How many computers is this copy of Windows 7 installed upon" with the only acceptable answer "One".

This authorizes MS to overwrite in their Activation servers the hardware ID associated with a retail Product Key with a new one represented by the number string traded during the call.

If for any reason the old PC is started up again, or its HD is used elsewhere, be sure to wipe the HD or delete the partition since the old OS will lose activation if connected to the web anyway.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2012   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 x64 Home Premium (and x86 VirtualBox VM)/Win10

NOTE: - if the original machine came with Windows pre-nstalled, then the license is an OEM one, and CANNOT be moved to a new machine under any circumstances.
My System SpecsSystem Spec


Thread Tools

Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
Product key cannot be used to activate windows on this computer
Hi, i had bought windows 7 from MSFT offices in Seattle. It was working fine on my older machine. i recently built a new machine and scrapped the old one (it ceases to exist). I installed the windows 7 on the new machine but i am getting the "The product key you typed cannot be used to...
Windows Updates & Activation
Use Win7 product key for new computer
Allow me to elaborate. I plan to upgrade from Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 8 Pro. After doing so, can I reuse the Windows 7 product key on another computer? Thanks!
Installation & Setup
Product key on the side of computer case
I have noticed that a computer that comes factory installed with Windows 7 doesn't use they product key on the side of the computer. Does that mean I could use that key on another computer? These factory installed copies of windows come with a volume activation key, they do not use the key on the...
Windows Updates & Activation
5/11/2011 Update broke my computer
Was shutting my computer off before bed last night when it told me to get updates. So I got them. Shut it off and went to bed. Today I can't do anything. Windows boots fine and everything, I noticed the first loading screen took quite a bit longer then usual. It boots but I can't load anything....
Windows Updates & Activation
Computer Broke - Windows 7 license on other computer?..
Hello! I bought and installed windows 7 on my laptop and it was activated.. The laptop broke when I dropped it (hardware failure) and I'm wondering if I can use the same windows 7 license on my other laptop?
Windows Updates & Activation

Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

© Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:41.
Twitter Facebook