Windows 10: Win 10 with embedded keys

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  1.    06 Nov 2015 #1

    Win 10 with embedded keys


    With the Threshold 2 update, I understand Win 10 can use a Win 7 and 8 key code for activation. Will it read an embedded key and use it during the installation process? We have over 300 devices that came with Win 8 downgraded to Win 7. Due to a new application that requires a RAM upgrade to 8 GB, we want to upgrade to Win 10 64 bit when we reimage them. I plan on creating an image for deployment and using our WDS server to deploy and I hate to think I have to do an upgrade, then clean install to get them all activated legally.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    06 Nov 2015 #2

    Windows 8/8.1 will read embedded keys, not sure if 10 will or not. Rumor has it, It will at some point accept Windows 7 and 8 keys during installation. I haven't seen it stated by Microsoft that it will read embedded 8/8.1 keys automatically though? Windows 7 doesn't use embedded keys anyway. There is an OEM marker in the BIOS but no key is stored there. Are you going to clean install or upgrade? I ask because I'm not 100% sure from your post.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    18 Nov 2015 #3

    I'm going to be testing this in just a few minutes and will report back to this thread. I have an acer all in one, which came with Windows 8.0 from the factory. I've since updated it to Windows 8.1. It has not however been through the upgrade process to Windows 10.

    So, I downloaded the new 64bit Threshold 2 WIndows 10 ISO release using the Windows Media Creation tool and I'm going to attempt a clean load to this box, and see if it will activate itself based on the fact that the Windows 8.0 key is indeed embedded in the BIOS on this machine.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    18 Nov 2015 #4

    Yes, it will read the Windows 8 key stored in Bios, install the version that key is for and activate. If you have subsequently upgraded Windows 8 from Home to Pro - a clean install of Windows 10 will default back to Home version because that is what key is stored in Bios.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    18 Nov 2015 #5

    I can also confirm this. I did a clean install on my wife's laptop after wiping the hard drive. It has a Windows 8.0 Core OEM embedded key. 10 Home was installed with no prompt to select Home or Pro and no prompt to enter a key. Activated with a digital entitlement. 10 Home was never installed on this laptop prior to this. The previous install was 10 Pro with a digital entitlement, an upgrade from 8.1 Pro. I then did a change key and entered the Pro generic key. It upgraded to pro and activated with a digital entitlement. I added a PID.txt file to my install media with the pro generic key in it. Now, next time around it will install Pro instead of Home.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    18 Nov 2015 #6

    As the others have said, Activation immediately happened. I installed clean, no previous upgrades. It didn't ask for a key, and it didn't ask me if I wanted Home or Professional, it picked Home as that is what is licensed on this all in one computer.

    As soon as I connected to the wireless network, it activated. Piece of cake.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    01 Dec 2015 #7

    NavyLCDR said: View Post
    Yes, it will read the Windows 8 key stored in Bios, install the version that key is for and activate. If you have subsequently upgraded Windows 8 from Home to Pro - a clean install of Windows 10 will default back to Home version because that is what key is stored in Bios.
    That's rubbish (as in the method, not what you're saying ). See my thread here: Windows 10 Home Windows 10 Pro - Windows 10 Forums

    You'd think the process of upgrading from Home to Pro would overwrite the embedded BIOS key with the Pro key.

    I'm dreading upgrading at work. I'm actually an IT Pro and I'm thinking of the implications this has for corporate deployment. We have a Microsoft Site Agreement and I'm thinking that if we buy PCs with Pro on (that have an embedded key), but deploy Enterprise as part of our agreement, will it force Pro, with us having to visit each machine after deployment to activate Enterprise features!

    That is beyond stupid.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    01 Dec 2015 #8

    ldoodle said: View Post
    That's rubbish (as in the method, not what you're saying ). See my thread here: Windows 10 Home Windows 10 Pro - Windows 10 Forums

    You'd think the process of upgrading from Home to Pro would overwrite the embedded BIOS key with the Pro key.

    I'm dreading upgrading at work. I'm actually an IT Pro and I'm thinking of the implications this has for corporate deployment. We have a Microsoft Site Agreement and I'm thinking that if we buy PCs with Pro on (that have an embedded key), but deploy Enterprise as part of our agreement, will it force Pro, with us having to visit each machine after deployment to activate Enterprise features!

    That is beyond stupid.
    The OEM is the only one that can edit the embedded BIOS key. And they likely need physical access to do it. The BIOS is proprietary to the OEM. Microsoft does not have permission to go making changes like that. The embedded key, as far as I know, is not stored in the section of the BIOS that is updated by a BIOS flash/upgrade. You may even have to actually replace the ROM to change it. I've flashed by BIOS on my laptop and the key is unaffected, as it should be. Plus, what if you decide you don't like Windows 10, and want to go back to Windows 8/8.1? If Microsoft overwrote your BIOS key with a Windows 10 key you can't go back. Windows 8/8.1 will not accept Windows 10 keys. Even if it did, you would get a higher version that you originally had. There are two many bad things that could happen if it was that easy to change the embedded key. In theory its etched in stone.

    Adding a PID.txt file with a Pro key will bypass the OEM key and install Pro instead. Adding an ei.cfg file will likely do it too and get you a prompt for a key. I have no idea what to enter in the ei.cfg file though. I use a PID.txt with the Pro generic key in it. All my systems have digital entitlements for 10 Pro so its easier for me to do it that way. They install Pro with no prompts for version of key and activate automatically.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    01 Dec 2015 #9

    alphanumeric said: View Post
    The OEM is the only one that can edit the embedded BIOS key. And they likely need physical access to do it. The BIOS is proprietary to the OEM. Microsoft does not have permission to go making changes like that. The embedded key, as far as I know, is not stored in the section of the BIOS that is updated by a BIOS flash/upgrade. You may even have to actually replace the ROM to change it. I've flashed by BIOS on my laptop and the key is unaffected, as it should be. Plus, what if you decide you don't like Windows 10, and want to go back to Windows 8/8.1? If Microsoft overwrote your BIOS key with a Windows 10 key you can't go back. Windows 8/8.1 will not accept Windows 10 keys. Even if it did, you would get a higher version that you originally had. There are two many bad things that could happen if it was that easy to change the embedded key. In theory its etched in stone.

    Adding a PID.txt file with a Pro key will bypass the OEM key and install Pro instead. Adding an ei.cfg file will likely do it too and get you a prompt for a key. I have no idea what to enter in the ei.cfg file though. I use a PID.txt with the Pro generic key in it. All my systems have digital entitlements for 10 Pro so its easier for me to do it that way. They install Pro with no prompts for version of key and activate automatically.
    Yeah all good points I suppose.

    I'll add the PID file too. Thanks. How should the file look?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    01 Dec 2015 #10

    ldoodle said: View Post
    That's rubbish (as in the method, not what you're saying ). See my thread here: Windows 10 Home Windows 10 Pro - Windows 10 Forums

    You'd think the process of upgrading from Home to Pro would overwrite the embedded BIOS key with the Pro key.

    I'm dreading upgrading at work. I'm actually an IT Pro and I'm thinking of the implications this has for corporate deployment. We have a Microsoft Site Agreement and I'm thinking that if we buy PCs with Pro on (that have an embedded key), but deploy Enterprise as part of our agreement, will it force Pro, with us having to visit each machine after deployment to activate Enterprise features!

    That is beyond stupid.
    Can't make it easy to overwrite the BIOS or hackers would.

    Why would you buy pro licenses from OEM if you are just going to turn around and load enterprise?

    When you load with the enterprise media, it will ignore that embedded key, and allow you to put in a MAK key or it will find and use your KMS server.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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