Definitive Answer: Is the free upgrade really expired?

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  1. NavyLCDR's Avatar
    Posts : 15,508
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       #51

    Just completed a new upgrade:

    Received a stick computer with Windows 10 Home factory installed. Windows 10 Home product key in UEFI. I did a clean install of Windows 8 Pro. Had to do phone activation with my Windows 8 Pro retail product key because automatic activation said it was in use on another computer - which was actually the old stick computer I had returned to the manufacturer to get this replacement.

    So - Windows 8 Pro installed and activated -Windows 10 Home product key stored in UEFI. I extracted the Windows 10 Build 14393 ISO file downloaded from Microsoft's new ISO download site (the Tech Bench alternative) to a USB flash drive. I ran setup, it never asked for a product key but did complain that it could not keep my apps and settings because I was installing a different version.

    So, fact #1 - build 14393 still reads the product key in UEFI/BIOS and uses that by default. It was trying to upgrade Windows 8.1 Pro to Windows 10 Home because it read the product key in UEFI.

    Cancelled that upgrade, and saved a PID.txt file containing the generic Windows 10 Pro product key to the sources folder on the USB flash drive. Re-ran setup. This time it still did not ask for a product key, and gave me the option to keep personal files, apps and settings. The upgrade completed normally and after the upgrade Windows 10 says it is activated with a digital license.

    So, fact #2 - as of 5:15 PM on August 3, about 1.5 hours due north of Microsoft in Stanwood, WA - Windows 8 Pro upgraded FOR FREE to Windows 10 Pro and activated from the previous installation of Windows 8.1.

    BTW - I never logged in with a MS Account. This was all done with 1 single local account created in Windows 8.1. Here's an interesting screenshot of Showkey on this computer:

    Definitive Answer: Is the free upgrade really expired?-capture.jpg

    Now it's time to do a clean install of Windows 10 Pro to get rid of the Windows 8.1 leftovers....
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  2. alphanumeric's Avatar
    Posts : 14,073
    Windows 10 IoT
       #52

    I can also confirm that OEM embedded keys are still being read. I did a clean install with 1607 MSDN ISO and got 10 Home on my laptop. It has an 8.0 Core key. It already had a 10 Home DE. I then entered the 10 Pro generic key and upgraded to Pro. It already had a DE for Pro too. Time to put my PID.txt file back in my sources folder.
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  3. DeaconFrost's Avatar
    Posts : 1,363
    Windows 10 Pro x64
       #53

    EightK said:
    Can anyone confirm please?
    I don't know if anyone can say definitively. I was under the impression that once a key was activated/upgraded to 10, it was done and tied to that system. You could roll back to use the key in a previous OS, but it wouldn't be able to activate/upgrade a new computer.

    I don't know about swapping drives, but I also don't see a point in doing so. Windows 10 has been available for use in some form for two years now. You can easily research any compatibility issues for old software/hardware and based on system specs, you already know if it will run well or not. If you have some obscure piece of software that you want to know is compatible, you can fire up 10 in a VM using a trial and find out in a matter of an hour or so.
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  4. NavyLCDR's Avatar
    Posts : 15,508
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       #54

    DeaconFrost said:
    I don't know if anyone can say definitively. I was under the impression that once a key was activated/upgraded to 10, it was done and tied to that system. You could roll back to use the key in a previous OS, but it wouldn't be able to activate/upgrade a new computer.
    Nothing happens to the Windows 7/8/8.1 product key when you upgrade to Windows 10. A retail product key gets tied to a specific computer for only the duration that Windows is installed on that computer. Take my latest upgrade for example. I had a computer that came with Windows 8 Home installed from the factory. I upgraded that computer to Windows 8.1 Pro with a retail product key. Then I upgraded that Windows 8.1 Pro to Windows 10 Pro. The basis for the license for Windows Pro -whether it was 8.1 or 10, installed on that computer was the Windows 8.1 Pro product key. 1 license = 1 installation of Windows.

    That computer physically died beyond repair. I receive a replacement computer from the manufacturer with now comes with Windows 10 Home from them. It is perfectly legal, and Microsoft supports, moving the Windows 8.1 Pro retail license/product key from the old computer that died to the new computer. Because it still remains installed on only one computer. I had to call Microsoft via their phone activation line and tell them it was installed on only one computer. Then just because Microsoft has not altered the way their activation servers work, I was able to upgrade that Windows 8.1 Pro transferred license to Windows 10 Pro.

    Also, though. Microsoft has apparently made provisions to move the license for Windows 10 resulting from an upgrade directly from an old computer to a new computer via linking it to your Microsoft account. I thought about testing that with the new computer, but for me it was more important to verify that Microsoft had not altered the way their Activation servers work rather than testing the new functionality of moving the license using my Microsoft account.
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  5. alphanumeric's Avatar
    Posts : 14,073
    Windows 10 IoT
       #55

    I just updated a Windows 7 Home Premium OEM (system builders) setup to Windows 10 Home. 10 Home was never activated on this PC, until now. The new 10 Home install is activated with a digital license. After switching my login to a Microsoft account it now says activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account.
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  6. Posts : 64
    Windows 10
       #56

    I just did a clean install with 1607 ISO. Used Windows 7 oem key as part of install. When finished Windows 10 was activated.
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  7. Fafhrd's Avatar
    Posts : 1,981
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240
       #57

    NavyLCDR said:
    Nothing happens to the Windows 7/8/8.1 product key when you upgrade to Windows 10. A retail product key gets tied to a specific computer for only the duration that Windows is installed on that computer. Take my latest upgrade for example. I had a computer that came with Windows 8 Home installed from the factory. I upgraded that computer to Windows 8.1 Pro with a retail product key. Then I upgraded that Windows 8.1 Pro to Windows 10 Pro. The basis for the license for Windows Pro -whether it was 8.1 or 10, installed on that computer was the Windows 8.1 Pro product key. 1 license = 1 installation of Windows.

    That computer physically died beyond repair. I receive a replacement computer from the manufacturer with now comes with Windows 10 Home from them. It is perfectly legal, and Microsoft supports, moving the Windows 8.1 Pro retail license/product key from the old computer that died to the new computer. Because it still remains installed on only one computer. I had to call Microsoft via their phone activation line and tell them it was installed on only one computer. Then just because Microsoft has not altered the way their activation servers work, I was able to upgrade that Windows 8.1 Pro transferred license to Windows 10 Pro.

    Also, though. Microsoft has apparently made provisions to move the license for Windows 10 resulting from an upgrade directly from an old computer to a new computer via linking it to your Microsoft account. I thought about testing that with the new computer, but for me it was more important to verify that Microsoft had not altered the way their Activation servers work rather than testing the new functionality of moving the license using my Microsoft account.
    Also, nothing in the Windows 10 EULA 1607 (or earlier) says that you must remove the system and software from the computer you upgraded from, as was stipulated in previous Windows upgrade version EULAs. If this is the case you can upgrade and transfer with impunity, as many times as you like, until MS fix the loophole..
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  8. alphanumeric's Avatar
    Posts : 14,073
    Windows 10 IoT
       #58

    Digital Entitlements are still being handed out. I upgraded my 10 Education install to the Anniversary update. It was originally activated with a Retail Product code (MSDN). After the upgrade it showed Activated with a Digital License linked to your Microsoft ID. I just did a clean install with a skip key and it activated with that Digital License.
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  9. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 17,434
    Windows 10 Pro
       #59

    alphanumeric said:
    Digital Entitlements are still being handed out. I upgraded my 10 Education install to the Anniversary update. It was originally activated with a Retail Product code (MSDN). After the upgrade it showed Activated with a Digital License linked to your Microsoft ID. I just did a clean install with a skip key and it activated with that Digital License.
    Digital activation will always be there, it has nothing to do with MS "forgetting" to close activation servers. A machine with activated build 10586, if you clean install Anniversary Update to it today will automatically get activated when product key is skipped because of digital entitlement. And will be, long after MS has finally closed the backdoor to use old keys.

    Once a certain edition is digitally activated on a PC you will never again need a product key when reinstalling same edition on that same PC. MS recommends tying activation to an MS account but even that is not necessary, digital entitlement works per hardware signature equally well when only local account is used. The benefit using MS account offers is that it makes transferring the license easier.
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  10. alphanumeric's Avatar
    Posts : 14,073
    Windows 10 IoT
       #60

    Kari said:
    Digital activation will always be there, it has nothing to do with MS "forgetting" to close activation servers. A machine with activated build 10586, if you clean install Anniversary Update to it today will automatically get activated when product key is skipped because of digital entitlement. And will be, long after MS has finally closed the backdoor to use old keys.

    Once a certain edition is digitally activated on a PC you will never again need a product key when reinstalling same edition on that same PC. MS recommends tying activation to an MS account but even that is not necessary, digital entitlement works per hardware signature equally well when only local account is used. The benefit using MS account offers is that it makes transferring the license easier.
    You did read my post right? I know how Digital Entitlements work. This was a Windows 10 Education install that was installed with, and activated with a Retail key. This PC did not have a Digital Entitlement for the Education version, ever. I double checked before doing the upgrade. It showed activated with a Product Code. After the upgrade that changed to Activated with a Digital License. So obviously a new digital license was issued. The product code that showkey shows with the clean install is different from the one originally used to install it before the upgrade.
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