Microsofts activation rules are mostly a secret but...         

  Retail MS Window installs only , not coverage on any OEM disks loaded OS of any kind , in this topic below.

This page below is not about reloading the OS on the same hardware no, this is about the wrong new hardware.
The most radial is a motherboard (MOBO)swap.

Microsofts Activation rules and processes. (on a new OEM PCs the activation finds your license stored in the UEFI BIOS ROM and knows what you own )
This only matters to you if you changed hardware radially and then lost your activated status (now false)
The trick is to learn to change one  thing at a time not all things at once.
This is the topic of how does, MS , discover gross changes in hardware that shut down your license. (the below hinted details are not fully known outside MS, the below is a general statement of the rules, crude.!!!)
The rules for Hardware changes, partially known.
This is not rocket science , many things in your PC have SERIAL NUMBERS hidden deep in the PCI logic chips. (and your IP address and MAC)
4 to 8 major parts are not in any way a secret,but the weighting of them is a secret.  (I am pretty sure mobo swaps are #1 , activation killer)
Replace a part,  any part, and then boot and see if activation status is false?.
The rules changed in time. This is  from old MS pages.

The following changes are examples of hardware changes that will not impact the activation status:

  • Video card
  • Adding extra memory  (silly doing this because , memory gets added all the time by folks)


The only hardware changes that can negatively impact the activation status once you upgrade are changes to the:

  • CPU ( how deep this goes is a secret of MS.)  Only in the  most rare cases do costomers ever change out a CPU. (mobo sure , CPU not)
  • TPM  (the security chip linked to BIOS)   (  if fitted at all? it's on  2012 up PC's )) Related to UEFI. 2012 and newer PC's
  • Motherboard replacement  (call them and tell MS the MOBO smoked, and is in the trash) BINGO YOU WIN. (but not XP and not VISTA , MS phone dead on those)
  • The BIOS version (class , type etc)   This in my opinion should be the only MS check and nothing else! (2017 rules , IMO)
Best read on this topic is here.
The below are the things that MS can exploit, (the potential list is large)
The PC has many hidden serial numbers inside that MS might  use to make up a hash code. (to ID YOU PC)
MAC addresses  (your NIC Ethernet chip is serialized as does the WIFI chip ,most PC have both)
BIOS versions, etc. (and maker) This is checked to allow W10 64bit to be installed, (or fails if wrong) W10 loves to fail on 2007 and older PCs here.
HDD serials. (using STAT bus commands ! ) is not calculated MS says.
DDR memory IDs (each stick as a PnP I.D message) is not calculated MS says.
PCI scans of your PC you can see all this magic data hidden inside all PC. PnP scans to that.
Now the new TPM chip has codes stored. (my guess this is #1 prime target now for Microsoft)  BTW just popped in a i7 in place of my i5 processor and MS W10-64 never blinked a wink.... so.... BS on CPU checks, 2017
And last UEFI BIOS now has the MS COA NUMBER stored inside , license stored in ROM.  (In fact MS can check this first and see if you have license quickest)
Best is not to worry, just know to  phone call MS and beg, you tell them X smoked and is now wrecked and trashed the X.  (I put in a brand new X and newer (sure) motherboard.

The only secret is the WEIGHTING of changes in hardware (swaps), allowed.  (so change parts 1 by  1 and win?)
The best way to retire an activated  PC motherboard, forever is tell MS the old mobo burned up .  ( and will never run again) The retail version of Windows, does include migration rights, use them !
In all cases, I have made radical changes to any PC and called MS on the phone and they 100% GO on the change, (On the horn: dear MS , my MOBO burned up and replaced,  "no problem" they said, you are now activated)
I only cover W10 and only Retail installs.  For other cases, call your OEM PC maker for support. (I personally never run OEM OS installs. I always upgrade to W10 Pro, first. Retail.
The boxed W10 media kit is sold in stores too... like here.
Do  not get to thinking 2 PCs with 1 COA license , it will never happen.  This page you are reading is no way to cheat MS ever, just to replace, bad hardware or hardware retired forever.
One  not so happy thought the free Window10 off, after 30days expires ,you can not regress back to Windows 7. (ever for free)

The new world order... LOL ( A new PC's has no DVD drive now on laptops and worst of all thin NOTEBOOKS)
All installs  are now just ISO files and all media now is USB flash memory sticks.
The Thumb drive USB, HP calls it a USB KEY. I call it a FLASH memory stick, some call it a UDISK.(ASUS)

We use Rufus(please ignore linux seen in photo) program (google that) to put any ISO file to RUFUS , we want on this stick. Be that W10 , W7, or any Linux that I want.
The install goes 10x faster using this stick, for sure if you use fast sticks sold by , SANDISK. (some of the fastest sticks are amazing !)
This USB STICK  runs faster,  and not subject to CD scratches, etc.  (you can make your own stick)! Down load W10 and run it,  for 30 days, no license needed for 30 full days. 100% free. (after owning a U-stick)
I can also install the OS using SD cards, or SSD drive, formatted special to do that,  and the SSD can load any ISO OS faster than greased lightning. (my pc boots to anything)

version 2.  12-9-2018