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If I add Software Assurance to my OEM Windows license, can I transfer the Windows license to a new PC?

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If I add Software Assurance to my OEM Windows license, can I transfer the Windows license to a new PC?

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Larry sent this question to me, asking what is actually a relatively common question and a good one to make sure that everyone knows the answer to. Because of this, I thought I would share it here on the Blog. In essence, what we are talking about here is how do Transfer Rights work, when do you have them, and how does adding Software Assurance impact that?

Let’s start with the Transfer Rights part. If you follow the Transfer Rights link here in this post, I have an entry that walks through what they are how they work, etc. in much more detail. The bottom line is, this is the right included in a license to move that license from on PC to another PC (the “right” to “transfer” it). One thing you will see is that OEM Windows licenses do NOT have transfer rights.

So the questions then become:

  • Can you add Software Assurance to the OEM Windows license?
  • If so, when can you add Software Assurance to the OEM Windows license?
  • If you can and do, what happens if you add Software Assurance to the OEM Windows license?

For these questions, I actually have a post from earlier that addresses, “When can I add Software Assurance and what happens to the license when Software Assurance is added and the machine retires?” If you go to that post, you will find a chart I created that shows when you can add Software Assurance to your Desktop Operating System licenses, your Server licenses, and your Desktop Application licenses depending on if you purchased them through OEM, Retail/FPP, or Volume Licensing. Since we’re talking about OEM Windows here, I’ll give you that answer and tell you that you can add Software Assurance to OEM Windows licenses within 90 days of the OEM Windows license purchase. For your Servers and Application licenses (such as Microsoft Office), a couple other posts you might be interested are:

Something else you will find in the chart mentioned above, I have specifically added a row called, “If SA added to OEM,” that then tells you what you can and cannot transfer from that machine because your added the Software Assurance to the OEM license. Again, I suggest you look at and download the chart yourself for all of the information, but I will give you the OEM Windows answer here to address Larry’s question. OEM Windows licenses never, never, never, have transfer rights. The OEM Windows license lives and dies with the original PC it was shipped with. The Software Assurance can be transferred; however, the OEM Windows license cannot. (It is different for the OEM Servers and qualifying OEM Office, so check out the chart…)

One thing to keep in mind about adding Software Assurance to your OEM Windows licenses is, the Home Editions do not qualify. You can see more about that in this post and where we have this information posted for you.

So I know the above is a long way of getting to the answer, but I wanted to make sure you knew where to find the information and why the answer is what it is, as well as provide you links to some additional information in case you want to learn more.

So, Larry, the answer to your question is: If the PC you purchased has a qualifying version of Windows on it and you acquired the PC within the past 90 days, then yes, you can add Software Assurance. If not, then no you can’t. Assuming you can, when you retire that PC, you will be able to transfer the Software Assurance to another PC (assuming it has a qualifying Windows Desktop Operating System license on it); however, you will not be able to transfer the OEM Windows license itself since OEM Windows Desktop Operating System licenses do not have any transfer rights at all.

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric Ligman
Global Partner Experience Lead
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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