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Did you know that in some cases, you can reuse your Windows license on another computer? Depending on the type of activation you have on your device, there is a possibility to transfer the code from one PC to another and continue using the operating system legally.
This guide provides all the information you need to know about reusing your Windows license on another computer. We will discuss the two types of activation available in the Microsoft operating system and the process you need to follow to transfer the license between two devices. Don’t miss out!
When it is possible to reuse the Windows 1 license on another PC
It makes sense to think that if you have purchased an activation key, you should have the right to use it on another device. Microsoft actually allows this procedure. However, it is not possible to transfer the key if it came included with the original PC.
There are two types of licenses available in the market:
- OEM license: It is an activation code sold to manufacturers or assemblers so that they can offer their customers a legitimate copy of Windows. This license is linked to the device and cannot be used on other devices. When you purchase a new laptop or desktop that includes Windows, the code it comes with is an OEM license.
- Retail license: Retail licenses are those that users purchase on their own from a distributor. In the past, they used to be included in the Windows box sold in specialized stores. Nowadays, they are usually sold in digital format.
In addition to these two models, there are volume licenses that are sold to companies after signing a contract with Microsoft. However, we will focus on the domestic sphere and leave this type of activation aside.
As mentioned earlier, OEM licenses cannot be transferred from one device to another. They are implemented on a PC and are bound to it for its lifetime. On the other hand, retail licenses can be reused because they are owned by the user. But how can you determine the type of license you have on your PC?
How to know the type of Windows license?
To determine if you can reuse your Windows license on another device, you need to first identify if your license is OEM or retail.
If you purchased a pre-built computer with Windows included, your license is likely to be OEM. This is because the manufacturer has an agreement with Microsoft to provide a legitimate copy of the system, which requires the use of an OEM license.
On the other hand, if you built your PC from scratch, you probably had to purchase Windows separately. In this case, you most likely have a retail license. However, if you opted for a very cheap license purchased online, it may be an OEM license.
The best way to confirm the type of license you have is to open the command prompt and run the following command:
A window will appear on the screen with the information you need about your license. In our case, we have an activation from the RETAIL channel, so we can reuse the Windows license on another device.
How to reuse your Windows 11 licence, step by step
If you have a license that can be reused, you might be interested in the following steps to transfer it to another device.
The first step is to make sure you have the activation number on hand. If you purchased it online, you should have received it via email. If you are unable to locate the key, ProductKey is a program that can help you. It allows you to view the complete activation key number.
Once you have a copy of the code, open the command prompt on your old device. Type CMD in the Windows search bar and click on Run as administrator.
In the CMD window that opens, enter the following command:
Next, you will receive a message indicating that the license has been uninstalled successfully.
Installing the activation key on a new PC
By now, you have completed two essential tasks. The first one was obtaining the Windows license number, and the second was uninstalling it from the old device.
Now it’s time to install the key on your new computer. There are two different ways to do it:
- During the Windows installation process: You will be prompted to validate the activation with your license key. Enter the numerical code obtained from your old PC.
- With Windows already installed: Remember, you can install Windows without a key and then activate it with the corresponding code. If you already have the operating system installed, follow the steps provided below.
To install an activation key with Windows already installed, open the command prompt with administrator privileges and enter the following command:
slmgr /ipk [Activation Number]
Press Enter, and if everything has gone well, you will receive a notice indicating that the product key has been installed.