Windows 10: Microsoft Explains When You Need a Windows 10 Product Key and When You

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  1. Posts : 7,882
    Windows 10
       28 Sep 2015 #1

    Microsoft Explains When You Need a Windows 10 Product Key and When You


    With Windows 10, Microsoft introduced a new activation system called digital entitlement that allows users to upgrade from an older operating system, such as Windows 7 and 8.1, to the new one without the need for a product key.

    Once the upgrade is complete, the system automatically activates (assuming you were running a genuine version of Windows 7 or 8.1), with Microsoft then allowing you to clean-install without asking for a product key anymore.
    Windows 10 is re-activated every time you reinstall thanks to this digital entitlement system that attaches a product key to your system (manual re-activation is needed when you make significant changes to your PC configuration, such as replacing the motherboard).
    In an updated article in the Windows 10 FAQ, Microsoft details the scenarios when you need a product key for the new OS and when you don't, explaining, however, that all users upgrading from an older version do not need one.
    Digital entitlement

    Basically, the digital entitlement system works in four different cases, as follows:
    You upgraded to Windows 10 for free from an eligible device running a genuine copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
    You bought genuine Windows 10 from the Windows Store and successfully activated Windows 10.
    You bought a Windows 10 Pro upgrade from the Windows Store and successfully activated Windows 10.
    You’re a Windows Insider and upgraded to the newest Windows 10 Insider Preview build on an eligible device that was running an activated previous version of Windows and Windows 10 Preview.
    This means that, even if you purchased Windows 10 from the store, you are allowed to clean-install without the need for the product key. You can re-install as many times as you want and re-activation should be performed all automatically.

    Source
    Last edited by Brink; 28 Sep 2015 at 14:47. Reason: fixed link
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  2.    28 Sep 2015 #2

    labeeman said: View Post
    My scenario was a little different. I installed an early insider build, about 6 months ago, into an empty partition.
    No qualifying older OS. The system was activated and continued to be through later builds.
    Eventually build 10240 appeared, and then the next insider build. So far so good.

    Then an unrelated problem arose and I was forced to do an OS reset through the GUI. After Windows rebuilt itself
    it had dropped back to 10240 and I was no longer an insider, yet the OS was still permanently activated.

    Later I rejoined the insider program and I'm running well on the latest insider build. My case seems closest to example 4 you mentioned. If I had left it as-is after the reset to 10240, would it have fallen out of activation after 30 days?
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  3. Posts : 5,010
    Windows 10 Pro X64 15063.138
       28 Sep 2015 #3

    This means that, even if you purchased Windows 10 from the store, you are allowed to clean-install without the need for the product key. You can re-install as many times as you want and re-activation should be performed all automatically.
    I don't understand how this can work without a key since it implies you can buy Windows 10 from the store (any store or just the Microsoft store?) and Clean Install with it and it will activate without you entering the key. Is there some kind of pre-activation or registration done on what you buy?

    I think what is missing is that the computer you are installing on has to have been previously activated as a Windows 10 system. If so then this is no different than using MCT to download a Windows 10 ISO to Clean Install with and that makes sense.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  4.    28 Sep 2015 #4

    I bought Windows 10 Pro through the store. I got an activation key in the receipt. Installed to a new self-built computer (i.e., no prior O/S installed). Entered the activation key code when prompted. Windows activated.

    From the article I gather that were I to perform a clean installation of Windows 10 on the same hardware for some reason, I would not have to enter the activation code again...that the installation would be recognized as legitimate via the electronic entitlement.

    I have not tried this myself.
    Last edited by rbmorse; 28 Sep 2015 at 14:15.
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  5. Posts : 1,603
    Wndows 10 x64 Home Build 15063.296
       28 Sep 2015 #5

    "(manual re-activation is needed when you make significant changes to your PC configuration, such as replacing the motherboard)."

    That's the statement I've been waiting for, up until this a lot of users were under the impression they would have to purchse a copy of Windows 10 if they significantly updated their PC. It appears not.
    Good to hear as I'm planning on a new motherboard, CPU and SSD early next year. Have to see if it works without having to make a phonecall to MS support.
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  6.    28 Sep 2015 #6

    Link doesn't work. It's just the same text but in a URL tag.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  7. Posts : 1,563
    Windows 10 Pro x64 RS 10586.586
       28 Sep 2015 #7

    Lebon14 said: View Post
    Link doesn't work. It's just the same text but in a URL tag.
    No Problem with the Link. Works for me!
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  8. Posts : 5,010
    Windows 10 Pro X64 15063.138
       28 Sep 2015 #8

    I find the wording ambiguous at best. It should say:

    This means that, even if you purchased Windows 10 from the store, you are allowed to clean-install once the purchased Windows 10 has been installed and activated, without the need for the product key. You can re-install as many times as you want and re-activation should be performed all automatically.

    The way it reads now, at least the article above, it sounds like you can clean install the purchased Windows 10 immediately and that is not true.

    Edit:
    Or change clean-install to clean-reinstall and all is well
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  9.    29 Sep 2015 #9

    DooGie said: View Post
    "(manual re-activation is needed when you make significant changes to your PC configuration, such as replacing the motherboard)."

    That's the statement I've been waiting for, up until this a lot of users were under the impression they would have to purchse a copy of Windows 10 if they significantly updated their PC. It appears not.
    Good to hear as I'm planning on a new motherboard, CPU and SSD early next year. Have to see if it works without having to make a phonecall to MS support.
    I'm not sure if it would work in the case you stated, as it's virtually a new computer, replacing the motherboard is different to buying a completely new motherboard and CPU as well as a new SSD.
    I hope it works for you but I'm not sure, maybe someone else can add a bit more light to the subject.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    29 Sep 2015 #10

    Ztruker said: View Post
    I find the wording ambiguous at best. It should say:

    This means that, even if you purchased Windows 10 from the store, you are allowed to clean-install once the purchased Windows 10 has been installed and activated, without the need for the product key. You can re-install as many times as you want and re-activation should be performed all automatically.

    The way it reads now, at least the article above, it sounds like you can clean install the purchased Windows 10 immediately and that is not true.

    Edit:
    Or change clean-install to clean-reinstall and all is well
    I think it is worded wrong for sure.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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