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  1. #1


    Member Since
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    Unregistering Windows
    When Boot Camp was released, like many OS X users, I was curious to see if/how Windows ran on a Mac (rapidly, it turns out). So I navigated over to eBay to obtain a copy of XP SP2, created a partition and (after several hours) had Windows beating my beautiful MacBook Pro with the ugly stick. A few days later, the novelty factor had worn off and I haven't booted into XP since.

    Now I'd like to reclaim my hard drive: an extra 32Gb will free-up a lot of space. While I'm at it, I'll take the plunge and upgrade from Tiger to Leopard.

    In principle, as I understand it, one can simply use Disk Utility to erase the partition. However, I'm also trying to persuade my parents to switch to an iMac. They "need Windows" because they occasionally run PC-specific programs. I'm the family's tech support guy, so another Mac would mean less work for me!

    Anyway, I would like to recycle my unwanted (registered) copy of XP for installation on a different machine, but I'm weary of Microsoft's 'Windows Genuine Advantage' anti-piracy protection. My questions are...

    1. How do I unregister XP? Can I do this without contacting Microsoft directly?

    2. Does Microsoft consider Windows 'locked' to a machine after installation? If so, what's the best lie to tell them to allow unregistration (e.g. hard drive exploded, needs replacing)?

    3. Will I need to use Tiger's Disk Utility to reclaim the Windows partition before upgrading to Leopard, or will a clean install automatically give me the space back?


    I especially welcome replies from those who've gone through this process. Thanks in advance for your help!

  2. #2

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JVC View Post
    1. How do I unregister XP? Can I do this without contacting Microsoft directly?
    I don't think it's necessary to "unregister" it, you'll just need to activate it on the new machine.

    2. Does Microsoft consider Windows 'locked' to a machine after installation? If so, what's the best lie to tell them to allow unregistration (e.g. hard drive exploded, needs replacing)?
    Yes, OEM editions are intended to be sold with a PC and are licensed specifically for use on that machine (from a legal/EULA perspective). That doesn't mean that it won't technically install on another machine, it's just that the legality is questionable at best.

    3. Will I need to use Tiger's Disk Utility to reclaim the Windows partition before upgrading to Leopard, or will a clean install automatically give me the space back?
    Even better, you can just run the Boot Camp Assistant which will give you the option to revert the partition back to the way it was before Boot Camp was installed.

    I especially welcome replies from those who've gone through this process. Thanks in advance for your help!
    I also recommend doing a PRAM reset after doing the procedure, as the Boot Camp wizard doesn't tell the EFI that the number of partitions has decreased, thereby slowing boot times.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  3. #3


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
    I don't think it's necessary to "unregister" it, you'll just need to activate it on the new machine.

    Yes, OEM editions are intended to be sold with a PC and are licensed specifically for use on that machine (from a legal/EULA perspective).
    Thanks!

    Sorry, I meant non-OEM (it came with a token amount of RAM), it is not branded "DELL" or any manufacturer.

  4. #4

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    Like CWA said, if it's not an OEM copy you can use it on another machine. You install it and then when you activate it you will probably have to call a number and feed it 10 groups of 6 digits. It will refuse to activate and hand you over to a Microsoft person. You give them the code, they will ask you, tell them you reinstalling on a new machine and it's not OEM, they will ask if this is the only machine your XP is installed on, say Yes. Then they will read you a code of 10 Groups of 6 Digit numbers, and you enter them and it will activate. Just did it for a friend the other night.

  5. #5


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
    It will refuse to activate and hand you over to a Microsoft person. You give them the code, they will ask you, tell them you reinstalling on a new machine and it's not OEM, they will ask if this is the only machine your XP is installed on, say Yes. Then they will read you a code of 10 Groups of 6 Digit numbers, and you enter them and it will activate. Just did it for a friend the other night.
    Perfect, thanks!

  6. #6

    Eric559's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JVC View Post
    Sorry, I meant non-OEM (it came with a token amount of RAM), it is not branded "DELL" or any manufacturer.
    I have an OEM copy of XP Home and it doesn't have any manufacturer on it either.
    Member Of The Month for December '08.
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  7. #7

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric559 View Post
    I have an OEM copy of XP Home and it doesn't have any manufacturer on it either.
    That is one thing about the OP's copy I was wondering as it came with some RAM. It still could be an OEM.

  8. #8

    cwa107's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
    That is one thing about the OP's copy I was wondering as it came with some RAM. It still could be an OEM.
    If it doesn't come in a box with a small manual, it's OEM. The non-branded OEM discs generally come with a product key sticker (that's your hint that it's intended for small system builders). Although many vendors sell it with some piece of miscellaneous hardware, they are more or less following the letter of the EULA, rather than the spirit of it. The idea behind OEM software is to offer the software at a discounted price for vendors to bundle with systems. The license is linked to the hardware it was purchased with.

    Again, that doesn't mean that it can't technically be installed on another machine, but from Microsoft's perspective, you're using it in a manner other than what you agreed to when you accepted the terms of the EULA.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  9. #9

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
    If it doesn't come in a box with a small manual, it's OEM. The non-branded OEM discs generally come with a product key sticker (that's your hint that it's intended for small system builders). Although many vendors sell it with some piece of miscellaneous hardware, they are more or less following the letter of the EULA, rather than the spirit of it. The idea behind OEM software is to offer the software at a discounted price for vendors to bundle with systems. The license is linked to the hardware it was purchased with.

    Again, that doesn't mean that it can't technically be installed on another machine, but from Microsoft's perspective, you're using it in a manner other than what you agreed to when you accepted the terms of the EULA.

    Agreed.

    Sometime last year MS made it so OEM's could not be installed on anything but the original system. It was on Anandtech and a few other places and since then people who have changed just the motherboard had problems getting a new activation key.

    Best advice I can give it try it. All they can say is no. I had to change out a motherboard in a system and they at first said no but I was able to talk the phone person into it since the old motherboard and power supply literally blew up!

  10. #10


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
    If it doesn't come in a box with a small manual, it's OEM. The non-branded OEM discs generally come with a product key sticker (that's your hint that it's intended for small system builders). Although many vendors sell it with some piece of miscellaneous hardware, they are more or less following the letter of the EULA, rather than the spirit of it.
    True, my Windows XP disk didn't come in a box. It does, however, include both a manual and product key sticker, so perhaps it's a "non-branded OEM" copy.

    When Microsoft stop selling their operating system at a price comparable to a computer, I'll be happy to get into the "spirit" of buying a full retail version ;)

    Thanks for all the responses, guys.

  11. #11

    NPuter's Avatar
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    my non-oem (full price) xp disk came in a fairly big box with some "getting started guides"

    "The forums are not only a place to have questions answered, they are a place to be part of a community..."

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