I have a laptop with windowsw XP on it. Does my license for windows XP extend to other computers? I want to build a PC with windows on it, but if possible I dont want to have to buy another copy of windows. Is it possible to use the same installation disk from my laptop for my PC? And is it legal? If not, how about if I uninstall windows xp from the laptop as thats pretty old. I am not sure whether in purchasing a windows xp cd with my laptop I now own a license to install xp onto all my pcs.

Any advice would be much appreciated.


I can imagine that a lot of readers of your question would steer a mile away from copyright issues!

First piece of advice to you is to read your licence. You'll find it somewhere in the Dell stuff.

In case you don't read it, I can tell you what it says (in my own words). You DON'T have a general licence to use XP on all your computers.

Microsoft are able to monitor your multiple installs because you have to activate the software on each install.

I hope that's a clear enough answer.

Here is your answer:

if you have a retail (expensive, store baught) copy of XP you can install it on a new PC if you remove it from the one it was on before

if your copy of XP is OEM (came with the pc) it is ilegal to install it on a different computer.

Your dell copy is OEM.

Cheers guys although I don't have a dell computer so I'm not sure why that keeps coming up. Yes the license will be OEM so I see that legally I cannot use the laptop disk on my new PC. But here's another question: What does microsoft define as a "computer"? Is it just the hard drive? If so, can I take someone else's hard drive with XP on it and put it into my computer? My guess is that this is legal.
But then it seems to me to be a problem if a person wanted to upgrade their hard drive. They would need to reinstall windows, and as it has been explained, microsft can track this via the product key.

What I want to do is just get someone's old copy of xp when theyre upgrading to vista. Surely if I can have their old hard drive with it on I should just be able to have their cd and install it onto my own hard drive?

the term in the licence is "system critical component" which MS generally infers means the motherboard

no, you just go out and buy a new XP OEM or retail.

all XP's are "not for resale" by non-vendors, and the only way to resell an OEM is to sell the whole unit it came with

This is whwre it gets interesting.

If you take a legally installed copy and put it onto another computer, the other legally installed copy either isn't running or somewhere down the chain, one copy of Windows has been displaced. So, to my mind, that's legal.

On the question of re-installing Windows, Microsoft are not so bloody minded as to disallow more than one install. But when you come to activate a re-install, the count (is it 3, I don't remember) trips and prevents you from activation and you have to call them per telephone to explain your situation if you wish to move forward with that copy of Windows.

So, if you get your friend's old copy of XP, that's the sort of hurdle you'll come up against. Maybe he hasn't re-installed XP and you'll be lucky with the activation. But, strictly speaking, that would be a copyright violation if your friend bought the upgrade version of Vista - even if you have, in effect, his laptop/PC by way of his hard disk.

Do read the Microsoft licence - I think they've got it well stitched up for those who care about such matters.


thats been a lot of help. Can you tell me where i can read the microsoft license agrement for xp?Is there a way of doing it online?


go into "Help And Support" inb the start menu and do a search for "EULA"