How To Remove Windows Activation So You Can Install It On A Different Computer

Matt Smith 15-02-2011

windows activation removeWith piracy a constant concern for computer software companies, methods of registering and validating software are now the norm. Operating systems are no different. Microsoft Windows has long used a product key that validates the operating system.


The complexity of the validation used, however, has increased over time. Today, Microsoft has online activation servers that must validate your installation key, and your installation key is often tied to your computer. Installing a copy of Windows with the same key on a different computer can cause issues, but it’s possible to get around them.

Understanding Different Versions of Windows

windows activation remove

The conditions under which you might need to hassle with Windows activation vary depending on the version of Windows Windows 7 Editions Explained In Simple Terms Read More that you own. Microsoft sells its operating systems with different licenses attached, and those licenses impact how validation works when you try to remove Windows activation from one computer and install it on another.

If you go to the store and buy a copy of Microsoft Windows you’re likely buying a standard retail license. A retail license lets you install Windows on one computer. If you try to install it twice, Windows activation can tell (so long the computers have a connection to the Internet) and will call foul.


how to remove windows activation

However, it’s likely you instead have an OEM copy of Windows. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, and this label is slapped onto software that comes pre-installed or packaged with a computer. OEM copies of Windows come with a license that only allows Windows to be installed on the machine the manufacturer shipped. You can’t take the OEM copy and install it on any other computer – if you try, Windows activation will notice.

Finally, you may end up with a volume license which makes it possible to install Windows on multiple machines at once. The Windows 7 family pack is a good example of this; the activation keys that come with the family pack can be used on three computers simultaneously.

Removing Windows Activation

Unfortunately, there is no Microsoft tool that lets you remove your Windows activation from a computer once you have installed the operating system. This is not surprising when you think about it; if you could simply remove your activation, there would be no point to the OEM license. There are cracks, of course, but these are not difficult for Microsoft to counter over time by releasing new updates. If you want your copy of Windows 7 to work reliably you need to legitimately install Windows with an activation key.


So What Do I Do?

how to remove windows activation

Pick up the phone!

Oddly, Microsoft is not strict about making sure you obey the terms of their software license How to Create Your Own Software License Agreement Read More . They are often happy to help you activate a copy of Windows on a new or upgraded computer even if you have an OEM license. They just want to talk to you about it in person.

The process is simple. Install Windows on a computer and insert the activation key as normal. When Windows starts and you connect to the Internet you will receive an error message letting you know that your copy of Windows is not genuine. Click on the text link that lets you solve the problem online and try to activate the key again. When it fails once more, you are given the chance to call into Microsoft support.


windows activation remove

Do this. You will end up speaking to a representative who will ask you the circumstances of your installation. While these representatives are likely to let you activate even if you’re blatantly moving an OEM license, a simple white lie can help smooth the gears. Just let them know that you’ve upgraded your computer, causing the activation to flag. They’ll press a few buttons on their end and presto! You’ve just activated your Windows key on a different computer, and since it’s 100% legit, you don’t need to worry about a new Windows update messing with your PC.


This is effectively a method of removing your Windows activation from the computer that your copy of Windows was originally installed on, because the key will no longer work on the original PC. If you do boot up the original PC and allow it to connect to the Internet you will soon be hit with an error message letting you know your copy of Windows is no longer genuine. Which is correct, because your activation has been transferred.

To be absolutely clear; this DOES NOT duplicate your Windows activation.


Also, be warned that Microsoft does keep track of how your activation key is used. They will take notice if you’re calling into their hotline once a week to transfer an activation key. Microsoft could be more strict about this process than they currently are. Don’t give Redmond a reason to change its policy.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. joker
    November 20, 2016 at 8:39 am

    with all the explaination forget about using windows 7 or 10 try to use Ubuntu 16 which i think is more reiable and stable, i see win 7 got so many update almost every weeks.

  2. YouknowImright
    April 8, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    Never ever buy an HP Desktop, the product is no longer supported by the time you walk out of the store with your new box.

  3. Anonymous
    October 28, 2015 at 1:59 am

    I have a PC laptop running on Windows, which it came installed with when I bought it. I would like to deactivate it and transfer it to my Macbook pro. Can I do this? If so, how?

  4. Blackmagic
    March 4, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Over time Microsoft drops older validated licences from its database, making it possible to install the same key on several machines simultaneously. For instance, if you have a copy of Windows XP 2002 OEM, you can install it on as many computers as you like and the machines will validate automatically.

  5. Kabriel
    February 16, 2011 at 3:10 am

    Love the website but you might wanna change this post up a little.... It is in fact possible to remove the windows activation issue.. its a program called wat 2.25. IT worked great for me just close all open programs run it and restart your computer it will reboot with a "activated" windows os :]

    • James Bruce
      February 16, 2011 at 7:58 am

      I agree. I was a little disappointed to see the solution to windows activation was to phone microsoft, which isnt really removing windows activation at all - just playing into the restrictive system.

      Run a proper activation removal, and never bother with it again, in my opinion. Why do the pirates have it so easy? So long as you are buying the correct amount of licenses, you shouldnt have to deal with crappy activation just because you chose to go the legit route. It seems to be punishing normal users and actively encouraging piracy. Way to go microsoft.

  6. Greigner
    February 15, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    No need for a "white lie". Just tell them your circumstance, and as long as the license is only on one computer, you're in like Flynn.

  7. Djangelic
    February 15, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Ive done this several times, with my copies of windows. I purchased windows for each of my machines, then when I upgraded to a new computer, I would take my version of windows along for the ride. Its a pain to get on the phone with them but as long as you tell them that you only have it installed on one computer (which is the case for me) they will allow you to do it.

  8. Dhs13
    February 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    How this apply to Office 2010?


    • M.S. Smith
      February 15, 2011 at 5:56 pm

      I have not tried this with Office 2010, so I don't know if steps similar to the above would work.

    • Blackmagic
      March 4, 2011 at 10:48 pm

      My comment below about Windows XP 2002 also applies to Office 2003. Microsoft can't keep track of hundreds of millions of licences, so over time it drops the older ones from its database, allowing you to reinstall older versions on as many machines as you like.

      • Aibek
        March 5, 2011 at 7:39 am

        thanks for the tip


        Blackmagic (unregistered) wrote, in response to Dhs13 (unregistered):

        My comment below about Windows XP 2002 also applies to Office 2003. Microsoft can't keep track of hundreds of millions of licences, so over time it drops the older ones from its database, allowing you to reinstall older versions on as many machines as you like.

        IP address:
        Article with the comment: //