How to transfer your Windows licence to a new PC

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Microsoft has been locking Windows down for years in an effort to prevent piracy, but of course none of it works as the pirates are still able to get around anything Microsoft throws at them, if a simple Google search is anything to go by.

That being said, Microsoft is surprisingly flexible when it comes to allowing legitimate end users (that’s you) to move their copies of Windows and Office to new PCs. Of course, this isn’t common knowledge, which is where we come in. This How To will walk you through the steps required to move your Windows and Office installations to another computer, 100% legally. 

Here we go!

On the PC that currently has the licence you want to transfer (this works for both Windows 7 and Windows 8):

Step 1

Press the Start button, type command. You’ll see the Command Prompt icon appear; right click on it and choose “Run as administrator”.

Step 2

At the command prompt window that appears, type slmgr.vbs -ipk and press enter.
Step 3: After a few seconds have passed you will see a message informing you that the license for the operating system has been revoked. That means the product key associated with your operating system is officially no longer in use, and you are free to use it on another PC.

On your new PC…

Step 1

Install Windows, and enter the product key from the other PC when prompted.

Step 2

Activate Windows. This should happen automatically when you connect to the internet. 

If you get a message saying that the product key you entered is still in use, you will need to activate Windows by phone.

To do that

  • Press Windows Key + R
  • Type slui.exe and press enter.
  • Choose Activate by Phone
  • Select your country, and call the toll-free number provided.
  • Follow the steps the recorded message system gives you to the letter, and Windows should be activated.

If the PC you’re transferring from is toast, activating Windows by phone is also your only option. If the automatic telephonic process doesn’t work, you’ll eventually end up speaking to a Microsoft representative; all you have to do is explain the situation to them (and swear you’re telling the truth) and they will help you transfer the license over the phone.

To transfer an Office licence, the process is a lot easier. All you need to do is uninstall it on its original PC while that PC is connected to the internet, and reinstall Office on the new one. That deregisters the product key automatically, and frees it up to be used somewhere else.

Deon du Plessis

Deon du Plessis

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.