Using one Windows XP key on two computers?

By compute1
Sep 3, 2010
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  1. Hi,

    can anyone help me i need to know if i can use a windows xp cd key on a new hard drive, it is in use on another one at the moment, or can i only use it once/on one at a time

    (the cd key was used on my 2nd hard drive)

    thanks.
  2. DjKraid

    DjKraid TechSpot Maniac Posts: 601   +14

    "...on my 2nd hard drive" - so you have installed a new hdd in your computer (the one with WinXP already installed on but you want to reinstall windows too?
  3. compute1

    compute1 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 36

    Hi,

    i have two hard drives in my current computer, both with xp, and a third hard drive ready for a new machine, so can i use the cd key from one of the 2 other hard drives

    thanks.
  4. DjKraid

    DjKraid TechSpot Maniac Posts: 601   +14

    Usually the license is for one computer only, if you have a sticker on the side of your computer you can only install windows using that cd key on that exact computer...but it all depends on what kind of license you have, in theory you can install windows using the same key on an unlimited number of computers but that wouldn't be that legal...
  5. compute1

    compute1 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 36

    Hi,

    thanks for helps, its OEM windows xp, i may have to bite the bullet and format it.

    Thanks.
  6. mike1959

    mike1959 TechSpot Addict Posts: 1,033   +15

    xp key to install on another drive.

    If you have Windows OEM version, it is for that machine only. If you scrap the PC you can't build a new one and install it again using the same key.
    Note that the XP OS disks are the same, it's the key you pay for.
    Let's say you have a hard drive fail, of course you lose Windows and everything on the HD. You can buy a new HD and install windows again, but when you try to activate the OS with MS, it may fail. (because the part nbr on HD is different). Then you can phone MS and explain what you have done, and they may accept what you say.
    You can't keep installing windows using the same key, and you will also find the updates and security patches won't work.
    If you buy Windows in a retail boxed version, it's more expensive, but you don't have these problems later on, because the key is not limited to one PC forever.


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