Generally Windows has been distributed with laptops and desktops for a very long time. Starting with Windows 10 version 1607 however Microsoft has changed some policies.
Today most new machines are laptops or tablets. While Windows tablets are a smaller market segment, there are many lower cost machines available starting at about $99 and up.
Windows will still accept valid Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 keys as before. Windows 7 is close to the end of extended support so we recommend upgrading immediately to Windows 10 which has excellent gameplay capability.
If your Original Hardware Manufacturer (OEM) changed the motherboard for you, your PC should reactivate automatically or you should be provided with a replacement product key.
OEM keys on machines for Windows 7 are sanitized as a digital licence which makes them easier to migrate when hardware changes such as refurbishing is needed. Many DIY desktops have system builder licenses which are an example of a OEM scenario.
SIGNIFICANT HARDWARE CHANGES
If you made a significant hardware change to your device (such as replacing the motherboard), Windows 10 might no longer be activated and you might see the activation error codes 0x803f7001 or 0xC004C008. If you’re running Windows 10, version 1607 or later and you added your Microsoft account to the new device, the digital license will be linked to your device. When you see these error codes, you can use the Activation Troubleshooter to reactivate Windows.
The reason for the changes is that Microsoft now stores ,machine data on the cloud which is tied to your Microsoft account. There is no limit to the number of machines a person/family can own.
Given the family scenario, using two or more accounts on a machine will show the activation serves that a machine is licensed so it can be be migrated as a licensed machine to a new party as desired. Shared machines are common in many homes. It’s not uncommon to have a room with several machines all networked together.
EXAMPLE OF SIGNIFICANT HARDWARE CHANGE
So as an example we have an old Acer ASE700 which uses DDR2 which limits the maximum memory possible, so swapping the motherboard for a DDR3 based motherboard would be such a significant change. The E700 has a LGA775 socket and a DDR3 motherboards are available with the same socket so the CPU can be salvaged. The motherboard would need new RAM and higher capacity DDR3 stick would make 64-bit Windows run dramatically better. Upwards of 8GB of memory seems to be ideal for a single video card.
The ASE700 could be overhauled with a new motherboard, CPU and RAM and this scenario will activate assuming the old motherboard is junked. Some low cost AMD hardware we have been following could have some potential but DDR4 is more expensive than DDR3 at this time.