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EULA and is sold in retail stores in individual boxes.  The End User License Agreements (commonly referred to as “EULAs”) for OEM and FPP products are slightly different.  One main difference is that an OEM operating system license (such as the license for Windows) cannot be transferred from its original PC to another PC.   However, the FPP version of Windows may be transferred to another PC as long as the EULA, manual and media (such as the backup CD) accompany the transfer to the other PC.  Also, when a customer purchases an OEM product, the OEM license requires the OEM to provide support for the product.   


How do I know whether I have a genuine OEM license for my operating system?  

ANSWER.  Microsoft has a website that helps customers determine if they have acquired genuine Microsoft products at http://www.microsoft.com/howtotell.  After reviewing the site, if you believe that your Microsoft product may be suspect or counterfeit, you should report this suspected piracy in the tool provided on the website.  Alternatively, you may call 1-800-RULEGIT or e-mail piracy@microsoft.com to report any suspected counterfeit or pirated software.


What do I do if I realize that I do not have a full license for Windows, or if I received a donated PC that did not come with an operating system license?

ANSWER.  If you do not have a genuine operating system license, you can acquire a Full-Packaged Product (FPP) version of the product from your local retail store.  Or you may purchase an OEM version of an operating system from a Microsoft System Builder, subject to the requirement that you purchase hardware with that OEM version of the product.  At that time, you should receive a genuine EULA, Certificate of Authenticity (COA), and manual.  Visit the Microsoft How to Tell website to determine whether you have genuine software and licensing; http://www.microsoft.com/piracy/howtotell.


Can I transfer my operating system license from an old PC to a new one?

ANSWER. Not unless it was purchased as a Full-Packaged Product from a retail store (i.e., Windows in a box). Current OEM licenses for all Microsoft operating system products are not transferable from one machine to another. The End User License Agreement (EULA) governs the terms for transfer of licenses.  Some EULAs for copies of certain older OEM operating system products (i.e., MS-DOS®, Windows® 3.1, and Windows for Workgroups 3.1) distributed in 1995 or earlier may permit transfer of the OEM operating system software license under limited circumstances.  (See Software Product Transfer section of your End User License Agreement.) 


 If I “retire” a PC with an OEM license on it, can I use that software on a new PC?

ANSWER. No. To put it simply, OEM product is “married” to the original PC on which it was installed. Current OEM licenses are not transferable from one machine to another. The software cannot be moved from PC to PC, even if the original PC it was installed on is no longer in use. This is true for all OEM software – operating systems and applications.


Rather than purchase completely new PCs, my organization performs in-place upgrades to the hardware on many of our computers. We often times only replace the motherboard, processor, and memory. Since the COA is still on the case and the OS is still installed on the hard drive, this computer is still licensed, right?

ANSWER.  Generally, you may upgrade or replace all of the hardware components on your computer and maintain the license for the original Microsoft OEM operating system software, with the exception of an upgrade or replacement of the motherboard. An upgrade of the motherboard is considered to result in a "new personal computer." Microsoft OEM operating system software cannot be transferred from one computer to another. Therefore, if the motherboard is upgraded or replaced for reasons other than a defect then a new computer has been created, the original license expires, and a new full operating system license (not upgrade) is required. This is true even if the computer is covered under Software Assurance or other Volume License programs.

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