Hard drive totally fried - Can I still salvage my win 10 key?

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  1. Posts : 270
    Win 10 Pro x64
       #1

    Hard drive totally fried - Can I still salvage my win 10 key?


    My hard drive on my other PC is totally fried. There's no backup (nothing much to save on there). I'm going to have to do a clean install on a new hard drive and all I have is my old windows 7 key. Is it going to let me activate windows 10 without any trouble?
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  2. TairikuOkami's Avatar
    Posts : 4,851
    Windows Home Dev 21xxx x64
       #2

    If you have activated 10 before, Windows will remember it, there is no need to enter key anymore.
    In the future, link your licence to MS account, it will make it easier in case of serious hardware failures.

    Microsoft Account - Link to Digital License on Windows 10 PC - Windows 10 Forums
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  3. Posts : 270
    Win 10 Pro x64
    Thread Starter
       #3

    TairikuOkami said:
    If you have activated 10 before, Windows will remember it, there is no need to enter key anymore.
    In the future, link your licence to MS account, it will make it easier in case of serious hardware failures.

    Microsoft Account - Link to Digital License on Windows 10 PC - Windows 10 Forums
    But I'm doing a clean install on a totally new hard drive. Windows will still be able to recognize that I've activated win 10 on this PC before?
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  4. TairikuOkami's Avatar
    Posts : 4,851
    Windows Home Dev 21xxx x64
       #4

    Yes, MS has copied your hardware info before, if you would be replacing motherboard, that would be more problematic.
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  5. Posts : 270
    Win 10 Pro x64
    Thread Starter
       #5

    TairikuOkami said:
    Yes, MS has copied your hardware info before, if you would be replacing motherboard, that would be more problematic.
    Thank you, one last question. I plan on downloading an ISO for the anniversary update and burning it to a DVD and installing from there. Will it ask for a key during installation?
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  6. TairikuOkami's Avatar
    Posts : 4,851
    Windows Home Dev 21xxx x64
       #6

    No. But make sure to download the correct version.
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  7. Posts : 1,521
    Windows 10 Pro (32-bit) 16299.15
       #7

    bobsagetfullhou said:
    Will it ask for a key during installation?
    Actually I think it will ask- but you can select Skip or 'I don't have a key' to get past it, and it should still activate OK.
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  8. TairikuOkami's Avatar
    Posts : 4,851
    Windows Home Dev 21xxx x64
       #8

    First version from 2015 used to ask, but I have never seen it afterwards, maybe it depends on the version.
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  9. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 19,641
    10 Home x64 (21H1) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #9

    TairikuOkami said:
    No. But make sure to download the correct version.
    Actually, yes - but you don't need to give if your previous installation had been activate. You DO have to be careful to install the same version as you had previously though. If you had 'Home' or 'Pro' your activation is only valid for a clean install of the same edition. You'll see a screen like this...

    ...just select 'I don't have a product key'. Once installed you should find it has be activated automatically using your previous digital licence.
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  10. Barneyrubble's Avatar
    Posts : 30
    Win 10 Pro
       #10

    The above posts are correct.

    Went through this myself today with my sons laptop. New Hdd fitted and restored from the recovery partition to Win 8 Home.

    I completely updated it to 8.1.1 and downladed Win 10 using the media creation tool.

    To make it more nerve wracking, I created a new microsoft account and used that as part of the installation - rather than a local account. Everything worked perfectly - fully activated and he can add his original log in details at a leter date.

    p.s - skipped past the licence box. It gave the option of reinstalling a previous installation of Win 10
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