Microsoft quietly rewrites its activation rules for Windows 10

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    Microsoft quietly rewrites its activation rules for Windows 10

    Microsoft quietly rewrites its activation rules for Windows 10

    Posted: 12 Aug 2015

    Windows product keys are almost (but not quite) a thing of the past.

    With Windows 10, Microsoft has rewritten the rules for how it performs product activation on retail upgrades of Windows. The net result is that clean installs will be much easier--but only after you get past the first one.

    OEM activation hasn't changed, nor have the procedures for activating volume license copies. But the massive Get Windows 10 upgrade push means that for the near future at least those retail upgrade scenarios are very important.
    The biggest change of all is that the Windows 10 activation status for a device is stored online. After you successfully activate Windows 10 for the first time, that device will activ
    That's a huge change from previous versions of Windows, which required a product key for every installation. And it's potentially an unwelcome surprise for anyone who tries to do a clean install of Windows 10 without understanding the new activation landscape.
    Microsoft is characteristically shy about discussing the details of activation. That's understandable, because every detail the company provides about its anti-piracy measures offers information that its attackers can use.
    But it's also frustrating, because Microsoft's customers who use Windows don't want to have to think about activation. The Windows PC you paid for, and the free upgrade you spent time installing, should just work.
    ate automatically in the future, with no product key required.
    labeeman's Avatar Posted By: labeeman
    12 Aug 2015

  1. Posts : 14,576
    Windows 10 IoT

    Very interesting stuff. I just did a clean install of 10 on my second desktop PC. It was already upgraded legally to 10 Pro and activated. I used my MSDN ISO. To speed things up I added a PID.txt file with my generic Pro key in it. No having to click skip twice at the enter a product key screens. Or having to tell it to install Pro. Activated just fine too.
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  2. Posts : 24,263
    Mint 20.3
    Thread Starter

    Yes that story has a lot of details most people that have issues do need to read.
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  3. Posts : 1,412
    Windows 10 Pro 21H1 64 bit

    This is a quote from an update to that article.

    A motherboard upgrade, even if you reuse storage, video, memory, and a case, is considered a new PC. In that case, if the underlying Windows license is from a retail copy, that license can be transferred. If you are upgrading (and not replacing) a motherboard on an OEM PC that was sold with Windows preinstalled, the license agreement prevents the license from being transferred.
    This matches the Windows 10 EULA and my Windows 10 that was upgraded from my W8.1 Retail license can be transferred to a new PC but requires a call to Customer Service.

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  4. Posts : 4
    Windows 10 Pro

    Hi, Glad to join you.

    This is my first post, so be indulgent with me, (English is not my native language).
    Just to explain a case where I am lost.
    My rig is home made with z68 Chipset and Intel I7-2600k . Was running W8.1 Pro since 2012/2013 - Upgraded from Windows 7 ultimate with retail promo key sold by MS at this time.
    I got the icon "Get Windows 10" and made the move to w10 pro july 30th and keep nothing.

    Three days ago my Motherboard died (Gigabyte z68). Could not find exact replacement and buy a z97 mobo + new Proco I7-4790.
    Of course Windows won't boot at all from SSD.
    Following advices found here and there , I try to install from ISO file clean install but cannot be activated.
    I call European MS support, and they told me that I need to buy a new license .. huh !
    My windows 8 was on retail channel, so what ?
    Something is not yet clear with MS.

    If I reinstall Windows 8.1 I suppose my key will be blocked as I upgraded to Windows 10 ???
    I'm not familiar with licenses and cluf , never had problems before.
    What should I do ?
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  5. Posts : 1,625
    W7 Pro x64 | W10 IP x64 | Linux Mint VM

    The 8.1 key should not be blocked and you should be fine reinstalling it. Whether you choose to upgrade to 10 again using a retail qualifying OS is up to you though, this is one major flaw in the upgrade offer that MS really should have warned people about.
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  6. Posts : 11,172
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux

    Boozad said:
    The 8.1 key should not be blocked and you should be fine reinstalling it. Whether you choose to upgrade to 10 again using a retail qualifying OS is up to you though, this is one major flaw in the upgrade offer that MS really should have warned people about.
    Hi there

    as Boozad says -- your 8.1 key will work just fine --install W8.1 AND ACTIVATE it. If you intend to go to W10 then after updating W8.1 with the latest updates plus any drivers for your mobo go ahead and do the upgrade to W10. I wouldn't install any of your programs on W8.1 before upgrading to W10 as you'll only have to re-install them again. During this upgrade DO NOT ENTER ANY PRODUCT KEYS - simply click the SKIP button (or "Do this later" button).

    Now after you've got W10 installed (use the media creation tool) and activated it's up to you now whether you want to do a CLEAN W10 re-install or not. Don't enter any product keys - just skip those steps.

    If you simply re-installed W8.1 and upgraded directly to W10 BEFORE installing all your programs I'd be happy with that and not bother at this time with the CLEAN re-install of W10.

    Note - you will only get the SAME version of Windows (Home--> Home, Pro --Pro) and Language for example FR-->FR.

    In Pro you can install zillions of Languages as well if you want more.

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  7. Posts : 31

    I rolled back without any issues (after disabling the Windows 10 icon) I upgrade this PC every six months! You get 30 days to roll back not sure if the Windows 8 key would be blocked then or not?
    Speaking for myself and everyone I know, if this were the case it would not be Microsoft the new operating system was replaced with.
    If they had let you know, who reads the license? But it's a little underhand.
    My 8.1 was originally XP Pro, and I have paid to upgrade it every time a new version comes out.
    Since 8, I have been leaning on getting a Mac anyway TBH
      My Computer

  8. Posts : 4
    Windows 10 Pro

    Whooo ! What a nice forum. :)

    Thanks all for your suggestions and way to go.

    I will format my C: partition on the SSD and reinstall Windows 8.1. Then ask to activate via phone if possible.
    What is an hassle is to make all updates before upgrading to Win 10.

    I already have a ton of System images made with ShadowProtect, but they are useless with the new hardware.
      My Computer

  9. Posts : 19,208
    W11+W11 Developer Insider + Linux

    Same problems with activation could be had even if MB was replaced by identical one because each one has different ID number.....or not ?
      My Computers


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