1.    20 Jun 2015 #1
    Join Date : Jan 2014
    Posts : 1,395
    Windows 10 Pro (32-bit) 16299.15

    Speculation on how Windows 10 Activation will work

    So here's my guess at how Windows 10 Activation will work:

    My theory is that whenever windows 10 activates, it will 'phone home' to the activation servers with info about the hardware signature of the activated computer, and which edition has activated.

    Every time you install windows 10 and it wants to try to activate, it will also 'phone home' with the current hardware signature to ask the activation servers if that hardware is a recognised device, and what edition it was running. If so, it will automatically activate with the recognised edition, without asking for a key, and in some cases there won't be a specific product key as we'd know it.

    So some scenarios are:
    1. When Windows 10 is upgraded over Windows 7/8.x, it will perhaps check that the key on the running system is valid for 7/8.x, and then activate Windows 10 with the corresponding edition for that hardware
    2. When Windows 10 RTM is clean-installed on new hardware, it will check for a key on the motherboard, or that it is hardware that has activated before, or as a last resort ask for a key to be entered by the user, and then activate
    3. When Windows 10 RTM is installed as a paid-for upgrade on a box running something that is not Windows 7/8.x/10 , it will check whether it is hardware that has activated before, or ask for a Product Key and then activate
    4. When Windows 10 Preview is clean-installed (presumably requiring a recognised Microsoft Account), it will just activate, although I imagine this behaviour will stop on or before 29 July
    5. When you install a 'Pro Pack' (assuming it still exists) to upgrade from one version of 10 to another, you will type in the new product key and the information on the new edition and the hardware will be passed to the activation servers

    So this behaviour which Mystere has observed would fit with the above (assuming Windows 10 had already activated on that hardware), and also suggest that 10147 is a release candidate or close to one, and perhaps that the activation servers are up and running for Windows 10.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere View Post
    This was odd. I decided to re-install clean, and after the installation, Windows 10147 was already activated... Odd.
    It also means that some devices would activate with a generic product key (like the one in 10 Preview), but after that point it's the hardware signature that matters, not the product key.

    The scenario I don't have a good theory on is when you change hardware. In some cases I imagine there will be some tolerance that if most components are the same as hardware that's activated before, then it still activates as the same device. But if you make major changes I'm not sure how it will work especially if, for instance, you clean-installed 10 Preview and don't actually have your own product key to give to a support person when you call Microsoft?

    This might also be what the 'supported lifetime of the device' thing for the free upgrade from 7/8.x is about - if the hardware itself is effectively the product key, then if you make big changes to the hardware it may no longer be treated as valid, and you won't have a Windows 10 product key to give Microsoft when you phone them. If it is still 'supported' then the OEM should be able to sort you out with a new key if necessary when you replace/fix components.

    Probably over-simplistic (it may be that Microsoft Accounts enter into the rules too) but that's my 2 cents...
    Last edited by DavidY; 21 Jun 2015 at 07:31.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    16 Aug 2015 #2
    Join Date : Jan 2014
    Posts : 1,395
    Windows 10 Pro (32-bit) 16299.15
    Thread Starter

    Reading this back nearly 2 months later... I don't think I was too far off, given the info that was known back in June !

    I'm still not sure whether Windows 10 OEM machines (ie NOT upgraded from Windows 7/8.x) will still have a product key on the motherboard like Windows 8 though (part of my point (2) above? Anyone seen a real Windows 10 OEM machine to confirm or otherwise?
      My ComputerSystem Spec


Similar Threads
Thread Forum
Will Win8.1 Pro activation code work on Win10 Pro clean install?
Hello, Like the title says, will it be possible? If yes, it makes sense. If no, how users who upgrade from 8.1 supposed to clean install Win10 down the line in the future? Will we (win 8.1, 8 and 7 owners) be given new activation codes? ...
Installation and Upgrade
Solved Activation doesn't work when upgraded from windows 7 sp1 retail 10162
Activation doesn't work when upgraded from windows 7 sp1 retail--Windows 10 home preview build 10162 I reported the issue to Microsoft but that could create a problem when rtm is released for those that quit the program on the release date. It...
Windows Updates and Activation
Windows 10 Activation
Can't seem to get build 9926 to activate after updating; maybe it's 'cause there's so many trying that I can't get through!
Windows Updates and Activation
Solved Windows 10 activation
I woke up this morning to WTP telling me to activate. I entered the serial without any luck. Has this happened to anyone else, and how did you fix it. Fortunately I had backed up C drive with Macrium. :huh:
Windows Updates and Activation
Solved Activation woes - Windows needs activation to personalize
Hi there anybody else got this -- trying to personalize PC -got you need to activate windows before you can personalize PC. Now what do I do !!!!!?! Is this normal (I did an UPDATE rather than a new install BTW). Cheers
Windows Updates and Activation
Our Sites
Site Links
About Us
Windows 10 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 10" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 14:02.
Find Us
Twitter Facebook Google+ Ten Forums iOS App Ten Forums Android App

Windows 10 Forums