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Old 14th March 2010, 12:59   #1
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Default Avoid reactivation after reformatting

After formatting a hard disk drive, the formatting utility assigns a serial number to it. Many licensed software which require activation use this serial number to restrict activation to the specific drive or reduce the number of permitted activations by one if the serial number is different.

To avoid this possibility, one can use a small portable freeware application called Hard Disk Serial Number Changer. Download from here. This can be run even from a USB drive. So keep it in your USB drive for any eventual use.

Run the program and note down the Sl. number of the HDD and keep a record of it safely. It is preferable to copy and paste it rather than typing it out, to avoid mistakes.

After formatting the drive, run the program from the USB drive. You can clearly see that the serial number has changed. Enter the old serial number in the Serial Number text field ( again copy and paste ) and click on CHANGE. Reboot the computer for the change to take effect.

As a matter of abundant caution, I note down the serial numbers of all the partitions and keep it in a word document alongwith the program in my pendrive. Below is an image of the Serial number of my primary desktop C drive.

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Old 14th March 2010, 23:12   #2
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Disk serial number cannot be changed. It on its firmware and are put by manufacturer.

I think what you meant was Volume serial number.
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Old 14th March 2010, 23:43   #3
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Windows generates a checksum based on the serial numbers and other details of your HDD, RAM, CPU, anth some other parts. This checksum is stored on the microsoft server during the first activation for cross checking later on.

If any one hardware changes, the checksum generated would be different during any subsequent activation and will therefore not be possible. the way to get around this is to normally speak to the cust exec on the toll free number of microsot. he/she asks for your windows 25 code key and gives u in installation id to let you activate.
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Old 14th March 2010, 23:56   #4
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@ SirAlec, You are absolutely correct. Technically it is the Volume Serial number also called as Volume ID, that is being talked about.

The actual device serial number given by the manufacturers can never be changed. In so far as the installed software ( that require activation) is concerned the serial number given by the manufacturer is of no significance whatsoever and therefore nobody talks about it.

In normal usage, the manufacturer-given serial number which has no relevance here is often ignored and the volume serial number/ID is usually talked about as the Disk Serial number by many.

The software I had mentioned itself as one can see mentions it as Disk Serial Number Changer.
I did not want to confuse the readers by even mentioning the manufacturer-given serial number and chose to go by what the software author had called it.
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Old 15th March 2010, 00:07   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SX4LOVER View Post
Windows generates a checksum based on the serial numbers and other details of your HDD, RAM, CPU, anth some other parts. This checksum is stored on the microsoft server during the first activation for cross checking later on.
You are correct but RAM does not effects the activation process or maybe i am just lucky.
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Old 15th March 2010, 02:43   #6
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Since Windows Product Activation (WPA) has been brought in by the two posters above, I may redirect all those interested in it to this interesting article on Windows XP Product activation.

Restricting the discussion to the topic, the following image shows the status of my XP machine. It shows the ten devices which participate in the WPA. A tick mark against each device indicates these have voted yes, we remain the same and have not changed since the last activation. Atleast seven yes votes are required to keep one away from reactivation. ( either automatic through the internet or a begging call to Microsoft for activation as the case may be ).

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In my case I have atleast nine devices casting yes votes. I have to bother only if a situation arises where it becomes less than 7.

(The Processor serial number is dimmed and always carries a yes vote, since AMD processor used does not have a serial number embedded into it. There is no Mac Address vote since the two network adapters are integrated into the motherboard. Only a plugged in Network card can vote and it carries 3 yes votes. And yes, if only I had plugged in a cheap network card before activation, it would have ensured three yes votes always. Too late before I stumbled on this fact. )

The volume serial number (talked as Disk Serial number in the first post on this topic) carries one vote. It pays to keep this vote intact after reformatting by changing it to the original number using the software mentioned.

Thanks to SX4Lover and abibh who made me elaborate on this.

Last edited by Ponmayilal : 15th March 2010 at 02:48.
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Old 15th March 2010, 16:33   #7
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I amhad installing windows 7 on my home PC. The hard disk went kaput and I had to get a new machine on the advise of a friend with better configuration. My question is can I reload the same windows media cd software once again to my new machine?
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Old 15th March 2010, 23:01   #8
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If you have purchased a retail copy of Windows 7, you are allowed to uninstall it from one computer and reinstall it on another computer.

You have to reactivate it on the new computer. This is what Microsoft says on such reinstallation:

“During installation, enter the product key that came with your copy of Windows. If automatic activation fails, follow the instructions that walk you through activating Windows by phone.”

With a retail copy, you will not have any problems even if you have to do it by phone. Just tell them you have changed to a new computer with better configuration.

Share your experience when done - whether it went through automatically or you had to call.

My presumption is that since you will be making substantial changes, you will be required to activate by phone.
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