Install Windows 10 along side Windows 7, keeping Windows 7 activated


  1. Posts : 2
    Windows 7
       #1

    Install Windows 10 along side Windows 7, keeping Windows 7 activated


    Hello All,

    I currently have a PC running Windows 7 that I would like to install Windows 10 on in order to try it out and see how it performs. I want to dual boot Windows 7 and Windows 10, along with Linux Mint, which I plan to install last.

    My question is concerning licensing. I would like to try Windows 10, either in a trial state or unlicensed, but my concern is that by doing a clean install alongside Windows 7 that Windows 10 will see the Windows 7 license and de-activate it and activate itself.

    Am I correct in assuming that this will not happen and that the only way Windows 10 will get activated is if I do an upgrade installation or later purchase a separate product key / license?

    Thanks!
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  2. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 33,716
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #2

    Hi,
    Windows 10 will get activated is if I do an upgrade installation
    As I expect you know, the official period for upgrading for free is long over. It's true that people found Win 10 was activated for a long time after the official date. I'm told people still find it works. There was also a concession for certain groups of people which extended that period.

    I looked at the precise license terms, and my strict reading of them is that you can't have two activated installations on the same PC - even if they have different licenses. One activation- one PC. You might get an interpretation of that from MS. That seemed to catch someone out who had a 32 bit and a 64 bit installation of Win 10, for example. Or that might just have been a quirk. Maybe MS has tightened the check.

    But then you can ask - well, what about Win 7 vs Win 10? Win 10's basis of activation is different- so in practice, would MS actually cross check between builds of Windows? And anyway, do they actually have a record of Win 7 licenses vs machines at all, in the way they have for Win 10?

    For interest, the 'recommended' way:
    Dual Boot Windows 10 with Windows 7 or Windows 8 Installation Upgrade Tutorials

    If you were to clean install Win 10 on a separate disk with Win 7 on another disk or partition, you can direct Win 10 where it is to be installed.

    I'm sure you'll get appropriate comment on establishing the dual boot from someone who's done it that way.
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  3. NavyLCDR's Avatar
    Posts : 16,567
    Windows 11 Pro
       #3

    @BMR777 ,

    There is no "trial" of Windows 10 allowed by the End Users License Agreement (EULA). The EULA requires that Windows 10 be activated in order to use it. Also, since you only have 1 license for Windows, dual booting Windows 10 and the Windows 7 the license came from also violates the EULA. This is what I would do, if I were you:

    Make a backup image of your current Windows 7. Macrium Reflect Free is the most highly recommended program here to do that with. You will need another physical drive to store the backup image on, though.

    Then upgrade the Windows 7 to Windows 10. Microsoft is still allowing this for free. This does two things for you. It lets you try Windows 10 without violating the EULA. But, more importantly, it saves a digital license for that version of Windows 10 for that computer on Microsoft Activation Servers that can be used any time later to re-install and activate the same version of Windows 10 (Home or Pro) on that same computer.

    Then, if you don't like Windows 10, restore the backup image you made of Windows 7. The license for Windows 7 will not be affected by upgrading to Windows 10 - you just can't have both installed at the same time without violating the EULA.

    dalchina said:
    I looked at the precise license terms, and my strict reading of them is that you can't have two activated installations on the same PC - even if they have different licenses. One activation- one PC.
    That is not true at all. I can have as many copies of Windows installed on the same computer as I have licenses for. I can have a Windows 7, Windows 8, 32-bit Windows 10 Home and 64-bit Windows 10 Pro all on the same computer so long as I have 4 licenses for Windows. 1 activation per license - it does not matter if it is on the same computer or different computers.
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  4. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 33,716
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #4

    That is not true at all. I can have as many copies of Windows installed on the same computer as I have licenses for. I can have a Windows 7, Windows 8, 32-bit Windows 10 Home and 64-bit Windows 10 Pro all on the same computer so long as I have 4 licenses for Windows. 1 activation per license - it does not matter if it is on the same computer or different computers
    .

    I said my reading of the precise license text was that.

    I did not say that it wasn't feasible in practice.

    One case recently where one person was trying to do that seemed to suggest the perhaps MS has now become better at detecting such cases. But, before you make the point, that's only 1 recent example from which a pattern cannot be drawn.
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  5. NavyLCDR's Avatar
    Posts : 16,567
    Windows 11 Pro
       #5

    dalchina said:
    .

    I said my reading of the precise license text was that.
    Per the Windows 10 EULA:
    2. Installation and Use Rights.
    b. Device. In this agreement, “device” means a hardware system (whether physical or virtual) with an internal storage device capable of running the software. A hardware partition or blade is considered to be a device.

    Two partitions = two devices. Windows A installed on Partition 1 activated with License A, and Windows B installed on Partition 2 activated with License B = two completely separate and distinct installations of Windows on two completely separate and distinct "devices". If I have two licenses for Windows, I can legally install two copies of Windows on two separate motherboards, one two separate partitions on the same drive, on two separate drives connected to the same motherboard, or one as the host OS and the other as VM running on the host.

    This is the restriction in the EULA that prohibits "trial" use of Windows 10:
    5. Authorized Software and Activation. You are authorized to use this software only if you are properly licensed and the software has been properly activated with a genuine product key or by other authorized method.
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  6. Posts : 74
    Win 10 Home
       #6

    OK, now this question arises.

    I just did a WIn7 to Win10 upgrade to which a Digital License was created/activated for my PC. Did MS use the product key for my Win7 OS as the Digital License that was applied to my Win10 upgrade, allowing me to use the upgrade?
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  7. NavyLCDR's Avatar
    Posts : 16,567
    Windows 11 Pro
       #7

    miata54 said:
    OK, now this question arises.

    I just did a WIn7 to Win10 upgrade to which a Digital License was created/activated for my PC. Did MS use the product key for my Win7 OS as the Digital License that was applied to my Win10 upgrade, allowing me to use the upgrade?
    Microsoft uses the Windows 7 Product Key as the basis for granting a digital license for Windows 10. Nothing happens to the Windows 7 product key during that process, it can continue to be used for Windows 7 under the previous terms. However, you still only have 1 "entitlement" for Windows - it is an either/or situation. You can use the existing product key for Windows 7, OR you can use the digital license for Windows 10 created from it for Windows 10. But not both at the same time.
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  8. Posts : 2
    Windows 7
    Thread Starter
       #8

    NavyLCDR said:
    Microsoft uses the Windows 7 Product Key as the basis for granting a digital license for Windows 10. Nothing happens to the Windows 7 product key during that process, it can continue to be used for Windows 7 under the previous terms. However, you still only have 1 "entitlement" for Windows - it is an either/or situation. You can use the existing product key for Windows 7, OR you can use the digital license for Windows 10 created from it for Windows 10. But not both at the same time.
    So, this doesn't invalidate the windows 7 product key? I have read that by upgrading to windows 10 the windows 7 license becomes invalid. Or is it only invalid if installed at the same time as Windows 10?
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  9. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 21,862
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #9

    BMR777 said:
    So, this doesn't invalidate the windows 7 product key? I have read that by upgrading to windows 10 the windows 7 license becomes invalid....
    That would make it rather difficult to roll back to your previous Windows if you didn't like Windows 10. :)

    When I upgraded my machines from 7 to 10, first I made system images, took out the original drives and restored the image to a new drive. It was this drive that I upgraded. So each machine still has a spare drive with Window 7 on it. Periodically I swap them back in to keep their updates current. Their Windows 7 is still activated, despite having earned a digital licence for 10.

    Or is it only invalid if installed at the same time as Windows 10?
    That would seem to be NavyLCDR's 'using one licence on two devices' scenario - it's against the EULA.
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  10. NavyLCDR's Avatar
    Posts : 16,567
    Windows 11 Pro
       #10

    BMR777 said:
    So, this doesn't invalidate the windows 7 product key? I have read that by upgrading to windows 10 the windows 7 license becomes invalid. Or is it only invalid if installed at the same time as Windows 10?
    What Microsoft allows and what actually violates the EULA are two different things. The Windows 7 Product Key does not become physically blocked ("invalid") by Microsoft in any way just due to the upgrade to Windows 10. The Windows 7 Product Key will get blocked, at least from online activation, through repeated uses to install Windows 7, though.
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