New Licensing for Windows 8 Product Keys

March 9, 2013 - administrator - Windows

As you are probably aware, your Microsoft Windows software has a product key which is usually found on a sticker located on your Windows based PC or Laptop. This product key validates your license to use the software on the PC or Laptop which it was purchased.


New Windows 8 products will now have the product key hardcoded into the BIOS of a PC or Laptop, a move that has many pros and cons and may prove to be unpopular

How does this affect the user?

In the past, if you needed to reinstall or repair your Windows installation you would have to hunt for the product key sticker usually found on the side or elsewhere of your PC or Laptop. With Windows 8, the product key is hardcoded into the BIOS of the PC or Laptop. When resintalling Windows this product key is automatically retrieved from the BIOS and Windows is activated. This new method of activation does benefit Microsoft and ensures that a Windows license cannot be duplicated and can only be used on the PC or Laptop that was purchased.

However, here is the problem for the user. If you have Windows 8 installed on your PC and your PC dies, this may require a motherboard change and if so you will lose the Windows product key as a replacement motherboard BIOS will have no product key associated with it. It is not possible to retieve the product key from the old BIOS as the key is encrypted, and third party software like Belarc or Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder wont work, so what do you do?

Microsofts official answer:

The OEM license is actually non-transferable to another PC. When you buy a PC preinstalled with Windows, that version of Windows is only licensed for that PC and cannot be transferred to a new PC. The transfer of the license must accompany the PC it was licensed for. If the customer were able to get that machine fixed, they would simply need to call customer support to re-activate if there were changed big enough to merit PC reset or system recovery unusable.

A Microsoft rep also explains   “So if your PC was really put out to pasture, under the terms of the license agreement, you could not use backup discs to reinstall that license on another PC”.


So it looks like that we may  have to purchase a new copy of Windows 8 in the event of a failure of our PC’s and Laptops, and this will impact Home and Business customers who are used to transfering a license between old and new machines.





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