My company ordered some laptops last year. They had Windows 7 preinstalled on them. The company here still uses XP, so they had the reseller "downgrade" them from Windows 7 to XP Pro. For some reason, the license stickers for Windows 7 were left on the bottom of the laptops. Now, I am assuming that they were never activated as Windows 7 machines, so those license keys would still be valid. If someone were to copy some of them and go home and load Windows 7 on to their home computers and use those keys, technically, they should work. Now, there is a possibility that my company may move up to Windows 7 in the near future. If they were to use those keys and someone had stolen them, they wouldn't work. Is it possible for MS to track them and harvest the registed user from the pirate machine? Is that possible, or even legal to do? It was foolish for those stickers to be left on them and I do suspect that some of them may have been copied.

5 Years
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Last Post by caperjack

all things are possible for sure ,its possible that the seller had them all setup and activated and ready to go for your company ,if not its just a wait and see ,and i don't think it possible for Microsoft to track the key ,if it is I've never heard of it


OEM licenses are linked to specific hardware, it's quite possible those keys will not work on any hardware except that specific type of laptop.
And as caperjack says, most likely the machines were delivered to your dealer with W7 installed, and they just took a few hours or days to reload them all with XP instead.

I know that's what our IT department does with new machines, whatever they come with is wiped and replaced with a preconfigured image, the license stickers on the bottom no longer relating to what's actually installed on them (but relating to what used to be installed on delivery from the factory).

It works that way with Vista at least. There's a license sticker on the bottom of my old Vaio, but I never have to enter the number when reloading it from the recovery discs (I would need it if I ever installed Vista on it from a Vista installation disc set), meaning it's pre-activated before delivery to the customer.

So no, those keys will not likely work for other machines for a variety of reasons.


Actually i have a collection of Windows 7 keys for various versions

don't save them to log ,because with age they become useless

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