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  1.    06 Mar 2017 #1
    Join Date : Mar 2017
    Posts : 10
    Windows 10

    Which product key is needed for clean install of windows


    Hello,
    I'm in the process of backing up data and product keys for a fresh install of Windows. Upon digging on google for how to find your windows product key, I found several ways to find it. My HP has a COA sticker with a Windows 7 product key. I also used Produkey, which gave me a Windows 10 Pro key. Thirdly, I used a script found here and turned into a .vbs file which returned a product key:

    How to Find Your Lost Windows or Office Product Keys

    All three of these Windows keys are different. This computer was purchased with Windows 7 Home Premium, which was later upgraded to Windows 8, and has since been upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. I've read that OEM product keys are tied to the hardware and that's the one I need, but I wanted to see if anyone else had anything to say. Will I still be able to install Windows 10 Pro with the old key, and if so, any ideas as to why the others are different?
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    06 Mar 2017 #2
    Join Date : Oct 2014
    Posts : 3
    Windows 10 Pro

    Now that you're on Win10 Pro, you don't need a key. You can reinstall (even a clean install) and windows will activate without a key. It's now called a "Digital License" and is tied to your computer based on a mysterious mix of component IDs held in Microsoft's activation servers. It may also be tied to your Microsoft Account if you're using one.

    Microsoft Account - Link to Digital License on Windows 10 PC
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    06 Mar 2017 #3
    Join Date : Aug 2016
    S/E England
    Posts : 4,526
    10 Home x64 (1709) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)

    Quote Originally Posted by Indiana JD View Post
    This computer was purchased with Windows 7 Home Premium, which was later upgraded to Windows 8, and has since been upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.
    At which step did you change from Home to Pro?

    Look at Settings > Update & security > Activation. If it says 'activated with a digital licence' you can do a clean install without providing a key (click 'don't have one' or 'skip' if asked). The clean install should activate as soon as it can contact Microsoft's activation servers.
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  4.    06 Mar 2017 #4
    Join Date : Mar 2017
    Posts : 10
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by Bree View Post
    At which step did you change from Home to Pro?

    Look at Settings > Update & security > Activation. If it says 'activated with a digital licence' you can do a clean install without providing a key (click 'don't have one' or 'skip' if asked). The clean install should activate as soon as it can contact Microsoft's activation servers.

    I'm honestly not sure how it got to be a Pro license. It has been long enough now since upgrading to 8 that I might have upgraded to something that was the Windows 8 equivalent to Windows 10 Pro. Nevertheless, the COA sticker says Windows 7 Home Premium and the Edition under Settings > Update & Security > Activation now says Windows 10 Pro. It does also say that "Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account."

    I suppose I will have to do the clean install, and upon signing in to the Microsoft account at the login page Windows 10 Pro will be activated? Also, there are a couple of Microsoft accounts used as logins on this computer. I'm nearly certain I know which one the activation is linked to, but is there a quick easy way to tell for certain?
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    06 Mar 2017 #5
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 9,416
    Windows 10 Pro

    You don't need a Microsoft Account at all. It will retrieve the digital license stored on Microsoft Activation servers based upon the digital unique ID of the COMPUTER, not the Microsoft Account.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  6.    06 Mar 2017 #6
    Join Date : Dec 2013
    Portsmouth Hampshire
    Posts : 1,836
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240

    Quote Originally Posted by Bree View Post
    At which step did you change from Home to Pro?

    Look at Settings > Update & security > Activation. If it says 'activated with a digital licence' you can do a clean install without providing a key (click 'don't have one' or 'skip' if asked). The clean install should activate as soon as it can contact Microsoft's activation servers.
    By way of explanation:

    When Windows 8 came out on 26 October 2012, there was a £/$15.00 offer that upgraded any recently (~6 mo) purchased Windows 7 OEM edition to 8.0 Pro Retail. Quite a good deal at the time. And a free upgrade to MCE Pro followed, both obtained by contacting Microsoft, who used 3rd party partners to handle sales, and email product keys to applicants.

    Both the 8 Pro and the 8 MCE Pro product keys given out with these offers are valid upgrade keys for Windows 10 Pro.
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  7.    06 Mar 2017 #7
    Join Date : Jan 2014
    Posts : 1,393
    Windows 10 Pro (32-bit) 16299.15

    Quote Originally Posted by Fafhrd View Post
    By way of explanation:

    When Windows 8 came out on 26 October 2012, there was a £/$15.00 offer that upgraded any recently (~6 mo) purchased Windows 7 OEM edition to 8.0 Pro Retail. Quite a good deal at the time. And a free upgrade to MCE Pro followed, both obtained by contacting Microsoft, who used 3rd party partners to handle sales, and email product keys to applicants.

    Both the 8 Pro and the 8 MCE Pro product keys given out with these offers are valid upgrade keys for Windows 10 Pro.
    And £25/(was it $40 in the USA?) got you/me a Windows 8 pro upgrade from Windows XP as well, which also applied to Vista and any Windows 7 machines which were too old for the £15 offer. £25 well spent!
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  8.    06 Mar 2017 #8
    Join Date : Aug 2015
    Posts : 414
    10 pro 64 clean install

    Quote Originally Posted by Fafhrd View Post
    By way of explanation:

    When Windows 8 came out on 26 October 2012, there was a £/$15.00 offer that upgraded any recently (~6 mo) purchased Windows 7 OEM edition to 8.0 Pro Retail. Quite a good deal at the time. And a free upgrade to MCE Pro followed, both obtained by contacting Microsoft, who used 3rd party partners to handle sales, and email product keys to applicants.

    Both the 8 Pro and the 8 MCE Pro product keys given out with these offers are valid upgrade keys for Windows 10 Pro.
    Actually, it was windows 8 pro they were selling for $15 dollars here in Canada, I know this since I bought 3 copies and all 3 of my computers are Windows 10 pro ... That was the best deal Microsoft gave . And the funny part at the time I was telling people to buy it and most didn't
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  9.    10 Mar 2017 #9
    Join Date : Dec 2013
    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 10,449
    Windows 10 IoT

    The MC keys I got only worked if you were already running Pro. Home would just reject the MC keys. 8.0/8.1 Pro and 8.0/8.1 Pro + MC still only got you 10 Pro. 8.0 Pro + MC would get you 8.1 Pro +MC if you upgraded. Do a clean install after that though and you lost MC. My laptop came with 8.0 Core. I then upgraded to Pro with my MSDN key. Then took Microsoft up on their limited time offer of a free MC key. Snagged 4 I think? Doesn't matter much now as 10 doesn't have a MC option. Most of my PC's have Home, Pro and Education Digital Licences. The result of doing numerous test installs.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  10.    10 Mar 2017 #10
    Join Date : Dec 2013
    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 10,449
    Windows 10 IoT

    Getting back on topic. As mentioned, you don't have to use a Microsoft Account to activate. You can install and log in with a local account and activate with a Digital License. The linking to a Microsoft Account is a new feature to aid in activation troubleshooting. And if your currently activated with a DL for 10 Pro, you can clean install 10 Pro, skip entering a key, and it should activate with no issues. Just make sure you install Pro.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 
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