I purchased a HP Laptop with preinstalled Windows XP. The laptop has not worked for a few years now.

I have recently purchased a desktop and can I use the same license key to get Windows XP installed on my desktop.

Note I have misplaced my original windows install CD but have the Laptop and the Windows XP product code is available to me.

The HP Laptop came with a OEM license with sticker on the back.

  • Tried pointing out the legality, even provided links to copies of the EULA for multiple different versions of Windows. You guys want to disagree with the people at Microsoft? You go right ahead.
    – Bon Gart
    Sep 19, 2013 at 16:12
  • No, I'd rather line myself up with what they've published themselves, what the entirety of the internet community holds to be true, and what the certification training I have in Windows Licensing says is true.
    – user201262
    Sep 19, 2013 at 16:22
  • 1
    @BonGart The EULA you linked to in your deleted answer is the Retail EULA, I don't know why it was on your CD. The EULA for your installed copy is located at %WINDIR%\System32\eula.txt Sep 19, 2013 at 17:39
  • @ScottChamberlain I linked to two OEM EULAs and one Retail EULA. The one that came off the machine and sent to slideshare, came off the machine. No need to assume incorrectly I pulled it off an installation DVD. The one you decided to nit-pick over was specific in its wording about sharing/transferring/using concurrently on MULTIPLE computers. The language was specific in the use of the PLURAL. The language was also very specific in when it referred to a single computer, and the EULA did not address whether the license could be transferred to a single computer.
    – Bon Gart
    Sep 19, 2013 at 23:19
  • @BonGart I guess so. I'll give them a call. XD
    – user201262
    Sep 20, 2013 at 1:01

3 Answers 3


If the laptop that you purchased came installed with an OEM license key, then no, you cannot use that license on another computer.

OEM license keys are tied to the computer that they are installed on, and cannot be reused legally (unless you are reinstalling on the same computer). OEM keys are on a label sticker on the chassis of the system they are tied to.

However, if the license you have is a retail copy of Windows, you may use that license on your desktop. Retail license keys can be moved, but the previous Windows installation must be removed before installing the new one.

Retail license keys are bought in a box with a Windows installation disc separate from a computer. If your computer came installed with Windows from a store, then this is not what you have. It is an OEM key.

Be aware that none of the advice on Superuser should be taken as 100% accurate legal advice. Always read the EULA for your particular version of Windows for the country in which you reside for detailed information on what you are permitted to do with the license.

  • Just out of curiosity, how does any of this affect the OEM installations you can purchase at retail outlets like Newegg.com?
    – Bon Gart
    Sep 19, 2013 at 8:00
  • @bongart It's true you can get OEM system builder licenses, but they are still tied to the computer you install it on.
    – user201262
    Sep 19, 2013 at 13:12
  • @BonGart Section 1.2 of the EULA for an OEM copy of Windows XP states that "This license may not be shared, transferred to or used concurrently on different computers." Your statement is inaccurate. OEM licenses may not be transferred except in Germany.
    – user201262
    Sep 19, 2013 at 15:42

No. Your HP laptop came with an OEM license for XP. OEM licenses are sold with a specific pc, and cannot be transfered to another computer. the Key will only work with HP install media (or a generic OEM sku), on a PC who's BIOS identifies it as an HP (I'm guessing your desktop is not an HP).

if you have a Retail license for XP, you can transfer it up to 3 times.

As for the disk, you can try to find one online, but never get a disk image from an untrustworthy source.


If the license you have on your laptop is an OEM license of Windows XP then you would not be able to legally move it from the computer that it came preinstalled on to another machine. However, if the license is a Retail version, you would be able to transfer it to another machine as long as it was completely removed from the original computer.


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