Windows 10: Windows 10 upgrade or clean install - Retail vs OEM?

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  1.    26 Jul 2016 #1

    Windows 10 upgrade or clean install - Retail vs OEM?


    Hi

    New here - sorry if not in right section.

    Basically, I have a fresh unused Win 8.1 (non pro) retail boxed licence that I'm thinking of using to get Windows 10 Home before the free upgrade expires. I was thinking of performing a clean install of Win 10 and activating using the Win 8.1 key without installing Win 8.1 first.

    I have a few questions. What happens to my licence, will it become an OEM type or remain as a retail licence. That is, I will be able to use it on another PC if I chose to. Or will it be tied to the existing configuration / mobo? Will I essentially be converting my retail licence into an OEM one?

    Are there any benefits to installing Win 8.1 first, then applying Win 10?

    What happens after the free upgrade expires? Will I be able to clean install Win 10 directly? Will I be able to port my licence?

    What's my best course of action?


    Thanks.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    26 Jul 2016 #2

    Hi.
    No need to install W8.1 one first, you can do clean install of W10 and use your 8.1 key to activate it. Once installed you'll get your Digital Entitlement on MS server but it will be just for that device (in PC terms it's your motherboard) and you'll be able to re-install it again on same device as many times as you want/need to without have to enter key again. In essence it will become same as OEM.
    There is no advantage of installing W8.1 first, actually it's in many cases better to do clean installation of W10 just make sure your device is fully compatible with W10 and you have all drivers or possibility to find them from manufacturer's site(s). Drivers should be compatible with W8 drivers so if you can't find some driver marked as for W8 you should be able to use it.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    26 Jul 2016 #3

    However, your Windows 8.1 license remains valid for installs of Windows 8.1 under the same conditions as before the upgrade, so it does retain retail transferability. Remove all installations of Windows from the first computer and you are free and legal to install and activate your Windows 8.1 on the next one.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    26 Jul 2016 #4

    Thanks for the input guys!

    I guess what I was trying to get at was that I wanted to keep my options open and have the flexibility of deciding whether or not to use Win 8.1 or Win 10 (after the free upgrade period).

    I've done some reading and my understanding is that it effectively converts to an OEM license once moved to Win 10, but retains its retail status when you go back to Win 8? Does the time limit of 30 days to roll back still apply - that is, will the Win 8 key become invalid after the 30 days on Win 10?

    I also see that I could potentially 'reserve' Win 10 on my 3x Win 8 licenses. Could I just (for example):


    • perform clean installs on all 3 PCs I would potentially want Win 10 on with Win 8.1
    • activate Win 8.1 online
    • claim / actually have Win 10 installed via the upgrade route
    • validate by checking Win 10 'digital entitlement'
    • then basically re-install Win 8.1 by performing a clean install


    Would I be able to apply the Win 8.1 keys directly onto clean Win 10 installations to generate the digital entitlement status on those machines, then wipe and install and activate Win 8.1 for the moment? The idea being I could just - at some point in future - install a fresh instance of Win 10 and have it auto-activate?

    At which point, if any, would the Win 7 / 8 keys become invalidated due to the Win 10 upgrade (whether upgrade or clean install)?


    Thanks
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    26 Jul 2016 #5

    EightK,

    Two statements of fact will answer all of your questions:

    1. Nothing happens to the Windows 7/8/8.1 Product Key when a computer is upgraded to Windows 10.

    2. When a computer is upgraded to Windows 10, the digital entitlement/license for Windows 10 for that computer is permanently stored on Microsoft activation servers and can be retrieved for the life of that computer to activate Windows 10 with no product key required.

    Does the time limit of 30 days to roll back still apply - that is, will the Win 8 key become invalid after the 30 days on Win 10?
    The 30 day time limit only applies to your ability to roll back to the previous installation of Windows 8 on that computer from within Windows 10. After the 30 days to go back to Windows 8 on that computer you have to re-install Windows 8 or you have to restore a backup of Windows 8 that you created before the upgrade. Nothing happens to the Windows 8 product key because of the upgrade to Windows 10, therefore it is still valid to install and activate Windows 8 with.

    I also see that I could potentially 'reserve' Win 10 on my 3x Win 8 licenses.
    You can't reserve Windows 10 upgrades on Windows 8 licenses. What you can do is upgrade computers running activated versions of Windows 7/8/8.1 and you can activate Windows 10 with Windows 7/8/8.1 product keys if those product keys are not in use on other computers. You have 3 options:

    1. Upgrade an installed and activated Windows 7/8/8.1 in place on that computer.
    2. Capture the genuineticket.xml file from a computer with an activated Windows 7/8/8.1 installed, then clean install Windows 10 and use the genuineticket.xml file to activate it.
    3. Clean install Windows 10 and manually enter a Windows 7/8/8.1 product key that is not in use on another computer to activate it.

    Once the computer is upgraded and Windows 10 is activated on it and it's digital entitlement/license for Windows 10 gets stored on Microsoft activation servers, then you can switch between Windows 7/8/8.1 and Windows 10 on that same computer as many times as you want for as long as you want.

    The initial activation of Windows 10 on the computer being upgraded must occur NLT July 29th to be free.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    26 Jul 2016 #6

    Thanks NavyLCDR.

    I currently have two unused Win 8.1 retail licenses and one activated 8.1 pro license. Looks like I will go with option 3 above on the two unused keys - get Win 10 activated/confirmed, then could I install Win 8.1 on new drives (rather than wipe Win 10 on exisiting drive)?

    Similarly, could I just leave my current Win 8.1 pro installation as is, install a fresh copy of Win 10 pro on a new drive, enter the Win 8.1 pro key and get my digital entitlement / license this way, then once confirmed, re-plug the old drive with Win 8.1 pro? I assume I should be able to, as long as I don't concurrently use them at the same time?

    I also read somewhere that I may have to sign up to a MS account so that Win 10 licenses are tied to these accounts? Do I need to sign into an MS account on upgraded Win 10 PCs?

    Thanks again!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    26 Jul 2016 #7

    EightK said: View Post
    I assume I should be able to, as long as I don't concurrently use them at the same time?
    That would all be correct.

    EightK said: View Post
    I also read somewhere that I may have to sign up to a MS account so that Win 10 licenses are tied to these accounts? Do I need to sign into an MS account on upgraded Win 10 PCs?

    Thanks again!
    You don't have to sign in with a Microsoft account. The advantage, though, is that if you do and your Windows 10 license gets linked to your Microsoft account it's supposed to make it easier to transfer that Windows 10 license to another computer. I don't know if anyone here has tested it yet. I just sent a "stick" computer that had a digital license attached to my MS account back to the manufacturer for warranty replacement. When I get the new stick computer, it will probably have Windows 8.1 on it - so I guess I get to test the theory because it won't be here in the next two days, that's for sure.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    27 Jul 2016 #8

    I have now successfully clean installed Win 10 (entering unused 7 / 8.1 keys during installation - would this make a difference to skipping then activating within Windows?). When connected online, it automatically activated and confirm digital entitlement.

    However, on a couple of them, I haven't actually installed a discreet graphics card, but used the onboard intel graphics. Will this be a problem when I add a card later on?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    27 Jul 2016 #9

    EightK said: View Post
    However, on a couple of them, I haven't actually installed a discreet graphics card, but used the onboard intel graphics. Will this be a problem when I add a card later on?
    No, there won't be a problem adding a graphics card later.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    27 Jul 2016 #10

    I have tested transferring a digital licence between virtual machines using new tool and it worked fine. I am pretty certain it will work for physical machines as well.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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