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SBS 2003 Licensing Questions

Posted on 2011-09-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hi Experts,

We had a server running SBS 2003 Premium OEM, the mainboard died which means the license also dies? am i correct in saying this?
What i then did is i took the hard drive of the above server and placed it into a new server machine. As far as i know this is illegal as OEM has no transfer rights?
On the new server we allready have an SBS 2003 Standard OEM key stuck on the back, can i just go ahead and change the first OEM key(died key) to the new OEM key(key on new server) and have everything legal?

Please note when we originally loaded our first SBS 2003 Premium OEM we used SBS 2003 Standard Discs to do the install

I tried talking to Microsoft without much help

Thx
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Question by:ReinerWentzel
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 36548398
OEM as you are aware is tied to the hardware. You cannot change more than 3 major components of the system as I understand it. Retaining only the hard drive would be a violation of the licensing, will require re-activation, and will fail. If you can substitute the key with the key from the 'new' hardware and activate, that should be fine, but installs from different OEM versions are slightly different and it may not work. For example key #1 may be looking for HP hardware, and #2 for Dell.  OEM is cheap but very restrictive when you have problems.
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by:ReinerWentzel
ID: 36548461
so what you are saying is i can try and change the key to the valid OEM key and if it works i am sorted? i dont want to redo the whole sbs install
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 36548501
Correct.
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by:ReinerWentzel
ID: 36559345
Thx, what is the best way to change the product key?
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 36559982
Philip has nicely outlined that here:
http://blog.mpecsinc.ca/2008/08/sbs-2k3-change-that-product-key.html

Keep in mind, as mentioned, it may not accept the key and it may not activate. Philip is referring to volume licenses for which the keys are 'portable'.

In my opinion if it is not asking to activate I would be tempted to leave it as is so long as you have the COA/OEM/CD key sticker and documentation for that hardware.
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Author Comment

by:ReinerWentzel
ID: 36560941
i have followed the article but still says windows is activated. must i delete the key rather?
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 36561385
OEM keys often do not require activation. If they recognize the hardware they just get tagged as activated. The issue is when you put OEM on another box it may not recognize the hardware, then require activation, and fail.
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by:ReinerWentzel
ID: 36561512
well the sbs install is activated on the server. so you think i should just leave it then?
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Accepted Solution

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Rob Williams earned 500 total points
ID: 36561544
I would leave it if it works and is not asking to activate.

As discussed you are not allowed to move an OEM license to different hardware, but if you have a legitimate OEM licenses for the "new" server and could  do a clean install the software on that box and start over, I don't think anyone would give you a hard time over having restored your old image to it to save time, especially on an 8 year old O/S.
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