Question from Leonard M.: I have an HP laptop that recently got ruined when my basement bedroom flooded. I was told that it can’t be fixed.
I’m planning to build a new desktop PC from a bare bones kit and I’m hoping I can install the Windows 7 that came with the dead laptop on it because I really don’t want to switch to Windows 10.
Will I be able to install my old Windows 7 on the new computer? I have a set of restore DVDs that I made from the laptop when I first got it.
Rick’s answer: Leonard, I wish I could tell you yes, but I’m afraid the answer is no. When you buy a new computer with Microsoft Windows pre-installed, you receive what’s known as an OEM version.
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, and as such your laptop’s Windows license is forever tied to that particular “original” PC.
The reason OEM versions of Windows cannot be transferred to other computers is because their licenses are purchased in bulk from Microsoft by the computer manufacturer at prices that are vastly lower than what you would pay for a retail version in a store.
In return for this massive discount the PC manufacturer agrees that the O.S. will never be used on a different PC than the one they install it on and ship to a customer (i.e. you).
And here’s the kicker: Even though you apparently aren’t aware of it, you agreed to those terms too when you were forced to accept the license agreement before being allowed to register your copy of Windows 7 with Microsoft. It’s in the “fine print” of the terms and conditions that everyone agrees to, but few actually read.
So, in short, your Windows 7 license effectively got washed away in the flood right along with your laptop. I know it doesn’t seem fair, but I’m afraid that’s the way it is.
However, all of the above being said, you do have an excellent alternative to Windows that’s free for the taking. It’s called Linux, and you can read about it in this post that I wrote a while back about replacing Windows with Linux.
I hope this helps, Leonard. Good luck!
Bonus tip #1: Since you’re planning to build a new computer I strongly recommend that you install a solid state drive (SSD) in it instead of a traditional spinning hard drive. Read this post to find out why.
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