Windows Authentication

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I was using a Sony Laptop which crashed with a Graphic Card failure. Then I bought a another used Toshiba Laptop from a friend and replaced the hard disk from the hard disk from Sony Laptop.

It worked fine without any modifications. All the software worked in the Toshiba Laptop.

Now, since past few days, I am get the message saying that, Windows did not pass the validation test.

I have the genuine Windows Vista OS and the Product key, but I am using the hard disk in another Laptop.

Please let me how I can resolve this issue.


The way activation works for major computer manufacturers (OEMs) is that they have one license key which works for all of their brand’s computers. There is a special file on the computer which checks the BIOS manufacturer and activation information in the BIOS. If the license matches the computer manufacturer, then it activates automatically. Because your new laptop is from a different manufacturer, it will not automatically activate. There are a few ways around this.

  1. If you still have the original hard drive from the new Toshiba laptop, and it is the same version of Windows (Windows Vista Home Premium), you can copy the OEM activation files from it over to the new laptop and activate it yourself. There are instructions online for how to do this for Windows 7; the process should be the same.

  2. Call Microsoft and reactive it manually. Because you transfered part of the hardware over, you may be able to convince them that it should still count as OEM license transfer with hardware.

  3. Find the product key on the bottom of the new laptop, again assuming it’s the same version of Windows, and change it in the OS to that. Go to My Computer, click System Properties, and choose Change Product Key under the Activation section.

You may find the recent Super User Community Blog post about Microsoft Licensing useful for reference.

The OEM volume image that came installed on the hard drive is valid only for Sony laptops and Sony motherboards, and is not licensed for use on that Toshiba hardware. There is no way to legally resolve this short of buying a new copy of Windows and reinstalling (or, alternately, installing a legally licensed Toshiba image on your old Sony hard drive in the Toshiba machine).

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