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Can I reinstall Windows 7 using a Corporate License even if user has left company?

Posted on 2014-09-24
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Last Modified: 2014-09-24
The user left the company. As part of his package, they gave him his laptop to keep, which had Windows 7 on it with a corporate license.

Windows 7 needs to be reinstalled as part of a repair. He wants to know if there could be any trouble if he uses the same license that was on the computer that was given to him.

As I see it, the license was legitimately installed. Once it was installed, the company could do whatever they wanted to do with the computer - even give it away.

Can I get a confirmation of this?


Thanks.
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Question by:computerlarry
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by:Trenton Knew
Trenton Knew earned 72 total points
ID: 40342256
Most of this would have to do in the largest part to the type of license used.  If it was an OEM or system builder license, then the license now belongs to the physical machine anyway.  If it is instead, part of a volume licensing program, then the license technically belongs to the company that installed it.  (this would likely be enterprise).  If it's a retail, then it wouldn't matter because the license can only be on one machine at a time legally anyway.  

The main concern with scenario #2 (the enterprise edition) is the computer MAY need to be attached to the corporate network in order for the license to activate.  Otherwise, it's likely not going to make a difference to use the same key again.
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by:aadih
aadih earned 72 total points
ID: 40342278
Yes. Unethical, but yes.
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by:davorin
davorin earned 71 total points
ID: 40342435
I'm not Ms licensing specialist, (Well, even most of Ms employees are not ) but I see it in different way.
Mostly I agree with Trenton, but lets focus on Ms volume licensing.
A license is tied to a company and it is not transferable. So the owner of the license is still a company and here comes another thing. In license agreement it is written that you are not allowed to rent, lease or lend the software. So in short - the software must be removed from computer when it leaves the company.

There are a couple of exceptions (actually they have nothing to do with your case):
- If company A buys licenses, then company B can use them if company A owns 51% or more of company B.
- The license owned by company A could be used by person, who is not employed by company A only to do work for company A.

And another thing. In volume licensing you have only version upgrade operating system licenses. So anyway you will need a valid license prior upgrading to/installing VL OS. Upgrade qualifying operating systems are Windows 7 Pro, Enterprise or ultimate, Vista Pro, business or ultimate, Windows xp pro or tablet,...

With acquiring the license you don't own the software. You have just the right to use it under terms specified in user agreement.
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by:rindi
rindi earned 71 total points
ID: 40342451
I agree with davorin. The OS must be removed from that PC. If you don't remove it, you can get into big trouble. For example that user could give the PC away, and soon no one knows who is using that license or distributing it further. So m$ could block the key and then all of your company's licenses would not be valid anymore.
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by:it_saige
it_saige earned 71 total points
ID: 40342504
Davorin hit the nail on the head with this one statement:

With acquiring the license you don't own the software. You have just the right to use it under terms specified in user agreement.

It all really boils down to the license used:

As stated by Trenton: If it is an OEM or System Builder, then the license is bound to the computer.

If the license is retail, then the license can be removed and reinstalled on a different computer.  However, the license must be in possession of the person/organization that owns the computer if it is installed on the computer.

If the license is a Volume License, then so long as the computer has an OEM sticker on the side, you are allowed to reimage a computer with your volume license.  However, once the computer is no longer used by your company, you would have to wipe it and restore it to it's factory defaults:

[Excerpt from Microsoft VLA]

b. Right to re-image. In certain cases, re-imaging is permitted using the Product media. If the Microsoft Product(s) is licensed (1) from an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), (2) as full packaged Product through a retail source, or (3) under another Microsoft program, then media provided under this agreement may be used to create images for use in place of copies provided through that separate source. This right is conditional upon the following:

(i) Separate Licenses must be owned from the source for each Product that is re-imaged;

(ii) The Product, language, version, and components of the copies must be identical to the Product, language, version, and all components of the copies they replace and the number of copies or instances of the re-imaged Product permitted remains the same.

(iii) Except for copies of an operating system and copies of Products licensed under another Microsoft program, the Product type (e.g., upgrade or full License) must be identical to the Product type from the separate source.

(iv) Re-images made under this subsection remain subject to the terms and use rights provided with the License from the separate source.

This subsection does not create or extend any warranty or support obligation.

HTH,

-saige-
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
David Johnson, CD, MVP earned 71 total points
ID: 40342764
If you wish to keep corporate licenses on machines not owned by the company you need an additional license (Software Publishers Licensing Agreement), VL licenses are only valid for the company that owns the Volume License.
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nattygreg earned 72 total points
ID: 40343192
It was given to you, n they know very well, that if windows needs to reinstall youd have to use the key provided with the laptop. Companies donate laptop all the time with the key attached to these machines.

Go ahead and use it. Only one issue remains, if it needs domain access then you'd have to purchase a key
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