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Windows 7: Can I use a Windows 8 OEM COA to activate a Windows 7 OEM hard drive?

22 Dec 2015   #1

Windows 7 home premium OA
Can I use a Windows 8 OEM COA to activate a Windows 7 OEM hard drive?

This is probably a dumb question but I'm going to ask it anyway.

If I put a hard drive with windows 7 into an almost identical laptop it'll know the keys don't match BUT the new laptop has a key on it that is matched to the BIOS, the trouble is that the key on the new laptop was for Windows 8.

What do you think the odds are that the key for Windows 8 that matches the new Laptops BIOS will be accepted by the Windows 7 hard drive and allow it to work?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2015   #2

Windows 10 Pro x64

No, definitely not, and would have been illegal even if it did.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2015   #3

W7 home premium 32bit/W7HP 64bit/w10 tp insider ring

Some, not all OEM's do have have the option to downgrade from 8 to 7.
Just look up your OEM.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

23 Dec 2015   #4

Windows 10 Pro x64

This I did not know torchwood, thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2015   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 10 Pro x64

It only applies to pro and enterprise versions of windows 8 though, and only OEM and volume license versions,

For a PC that has Windows 8 preinstalled by an OEM

OEM downgrade rights apply to only Windows 8 Pro and allow for downgrades for up to two earlier versions (to Windows 7 Professional and to Windows Vista Business).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jan 2016   #6

Windows 7 home premium OA

In the end the HD from the failed laptop would not boot in the new laptop, I couldn't get it to work because, I believe, I could not change the drivers without re-installing windows.

I bought a new MB on eBay and had it shipped and then I repaired the laptop and then used the old HD in it. It cost me as much as the new Laptop.

I can't say I was impressed with Win 7 or Win 8.1, the idea that I could have lost $6000+ worth of application software because Microsoft wanted to protect their $99 OS was enough to make me suggest my customer look into buying the Linux versions next time he renews at Allen Bradley.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jan 2016   #7
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

With $6000 worth of programs I would suggest lots of back ups so you don't loose the programs.
You could also make a clone on another hard drive and just swap hard drives if you have problems again.

It doesn't matter what operating system you use proper backup is a must in my opinion.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jan 2016   #8

Windows 7 home premium OA

This wasn't a hard drive problem, this situation was caused by a failed motherboard and would not have been prevented by any type of backup.

The hard drive was perfectly fine except that it will only work with one single model of motherboard because of Microsofts OS. I can take a linux hard drive and throw it into a different box with different MB, video, ethernet and sound cards and it'll complain but at least I'll get the opportunity to change the drivers and have it adapt to new hardware. With FreeBSD Unix all of my apps, data and personal stuff are within the /usr file system and that folder is portable between machines and between operating systems. I can pop a hot swap drive out of my FreeBSD 8, insert it into my FreeBSD 9 machine, reboot and my entire app catalogue, data and preferences is there for me.

I'm disappointed that there is no way to pay Microsoft and transfer a working hard drive to a new set of hardware. I would have gladly paid MS $100-$200 if I could have put the drive into a slightly newer laptop and got it running without having to wipe the drive and re-load the OS from scratch, plus they would have received the licensing fee for the OS that was on the laptop when I bought it even though I wasn't going to use it. Instead I had to find a replacement MB and they got paid for neither.

It's just frustrating!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2016   #9

Windows 10 Education 64 bit

While Windows 8/8.1 uses OEM embedded keys, Windows 7 doesn't. It has a SLIC table in the BIOS with an OEM identifier, but there is no product code in there. Windows 8 uses OEM-SLP version 3.0 and 7 uses version 2.1. The new motherboard would have to have the matching OEM SLIC table in the BIOS for activation to stay working on the transfer. Windows 7 won't ever read or use a Windows 8 OEM embedded key.

You may have been able to sysprep that drive and get it to boot. I'm not sure what that will do to installed programs though. You would still need a valid product code for that version to activate it though. Just for future reference.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2016   #10

Windows 7 home premium OA

Thanks Aplha, I'm not familiar with sysprep, I'll read up on it for next time.

I bought a retail box Win7 so I have a valid COA/key that could be used once the drive is moved and I was willing to completely abandon the Win8 OS if I could get the old drive to work on the new laptop. I didn't realize at first that the OEM embedded keys for 8.1 were so different from Win 7's method.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Can I use a Windows 8 OEM COA to activate a Windows 7 OEM hard drive?

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