Hardware locked or not? Is this System Builder license locked to a single PC (i.e. motherboard) or can be activated on another PC configuration after upgrade? On Stack Exchange people say that it is locked (i.e. one license for one PC, locked forever). On MS and Amazon there is no info (or it is hidden really well).
Windows 8 can be transferred to new hardware; it just needs to be re-activated.
Here's my recent experience... I did a clean install of Windows 8 64-bit System Builder on a dated computer. Everything worked great- I was happy. I then successfully activated Windows 8.
About a month later I decided that I wanted to build an almost entirely new system. I bought a new mainboard, processor & memory combination. I then took my original hard drive with Windows 8 already installed & activated on it, and I connected it to the newer components I assembled. Everything worked great- I was happy. Except Windows 8 needed to be re-activated.
I tried re-activating by Internet and was instructed onscreen to activate by phone instead. I called the phone number displayed and was immediately connected to an automated telephone system. The automated voice asked me to read aloud 5 or 6 sets of numbers which were on my screen, or I could use the phone keypad to enter in the same information. I elected to read the sets of numbers aloud, and Microsoft's automated system accepted this information without any problems. I believe it was at this time that the automated voice asked me how many computers I had installed this on. I said "one" and the automated system affirmed that answer. The system then said it would give me 5 or 6 sets of brand new numbers which I would need to type into my system. This is all done on the same screen within Windows 8 on which I had originally tried to re-activate. The automated voice stated the numbers clearly and I typed them into their respective entries onscreen. The voice then affirmed that Windows 8 was now activated. That's it!
In this situation, I didn't need to speak with an actual person, but some situations may require speaking directly to a Microsoft Customer Service Rep. I'm not certain how many times this procedure can be easily repeated. I'm thinking about switching to a solid state drive in the near future. I'm guessing I might need to re-activate Windows 8 again when I do.
At this site (http://personaluselicense.windows.com/en-US/default.aspx) it looks like you are able to transfer it to another computer. They have this listed in the license
"Can I transfer the software to another computer or user? You may transfer the software to another computer that belongs to you. You may also transfer the software (together with the license) to a computer owned by someone else if a) you are the first licensed user of the software and b) the new user agrees to the terms of this agreement. To make that transfer, you must transfer the original media, the certificate of authenticity, the product key and the proof of purchase directly to that other person, without retaining any copies of the software. You may use the backup copy we allow you to make or the media that the software came on to transfer the software. Anytime you transfer the software to a new computer, you must remove the software from the prior computer. You may not transfer the software to share licenses between computers. You may transfer Get Genuine Windows software, Pro Pack or Media Center Pack software only together with the licensed computer."
According to Microsoft's website: "With the System Builder version, much like the copies provided with new computers, a Windows installation is limited to a single machine." However, based on the experience of commentor extreme_dig_cm, Microsoft apparently is much more lenient in license transferral with the System Builder version than with copies provided with new computers.