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 If I upgrade some of my PC components, do I have to purchase a new operating system?

ANSWER.  The answer depends on the components that are upgraded or changed in the PC. The operating system licenses must remain with the device that retains the motherboard, chipsets, and chassis that include the serial number of the device. The operating system may be installed on a new/replacement hard drive as long as the operating system is first removed from the old hard drive.  

Please refer to the section on “Modifications to hardware and how they affect the activation status of Windows XP” in the following link for a more detailed explanation regarding specific hardware changes. The same hardware component changes that can be made to a PC before requiring re-activation of Windows XP are the same changes that can be made before a PC is considered to be “new” - and when a new license for OEM software is required.



 Am I allowed to “downgrade” with my OEM operating system license?

ANSWER: OEM Operating system licenses (with the exception of Windows XP Professional) do not include downgrade rights.    

The Windows XP EULA grants you a “downgrade” right, that is the right to install and run a previous version of Microsoft Windows.  However, under the terms of the EULA, the Windows XP EULA remains applicable.  In order to downgrade, it is necessary for you to accept the terms of the Windows XP EULA by going through the initial start-up process and accepting the Windows XP license. Thereafter, you (or the OEM, on your behalf if authorized) may delete Windows XP from the computer and install a prior version of Microsoft Windows.  You user may not install a prior version unless your have deleted Windows XP from the computer system.  The EULA specifically provides that neither the OEM nor Microsoft will provide support for the downgraded version or supply the media from which you will copy the downgraded version.  You (or the OEM on your behalf) may use the media from any genuine Microsoft software for which it is legally licensed to install the downgrade software, for example: Select, Open, Retail (FPP) or system builder (E2E) media.  (Note that the installation of a prior version of Microsoft Windows using media supplied in connection with another legally licensed computer does not affect the license status of such other computer (i.e. You do not have to delete the earlier version from the other PCs) – Microsoft is simply authorizing you to use this media to accomplish the downgrade on the new computer system.)  You retain the right to reinstall Windows XP at any time, provided you also delete the prior version.

Windows XP Professional is the only MICROSOFT OEM software product which grants such a downgrade right.


Can I transfer my upgrade (VUP [Version Upgrade], CUP [Competitive Upgrade], PUP [Product Upgrade], UA [Upgrade Advantage], SA [Software Assurance]) operating system licenses from an old PC to a new one? 

Example.  A customer had an older machine that came pre-installed with MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 and the customer then acquired a Windows 98 upgrade license via the Academic Select Program.  If the customer decided to donate the machine to a charity, could he or she remove Windows 98 from that machine and then transfer the Windows 98 upgrade license to a different machine within their organization? 

ANSWER.  No.  Under Academic Select and Academic Open, operating system upgrade licenses are tied to the machines on which they are first installed.  If a customer acquires

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