I've searched for a clear answer to this question but (to me at least) the situation still seems a bit uncertain. Here's the scenario...
- I upgrade my WIndows 8.1 retail licence to Windows 10 on my current PC.
- Windows 10 is thus activated on my current PC and used for the next year or more.
- I buy a new PC or upgrade the motherboard, CPU and RAM in my current machine.
- I therefore must perform a clean install of Windows 10 on the new PC.
The question is, how do I activate my free Windows 10 on the new PC? As far as I can tell, I don't get a product key when I upgrade the old PC - activation is tied to the hardware ID instead. That's fine when reinstalling to the old machine but the new one will have a different hardware ID.
With my Windows 8.1 retail licence I can install from scratch on a new machine with no problems (using the product key), as long as I'm using the OS on one machine only. By what mechanism do I achieve the same goal with the free upgrade to Windows 10? I understand that a retail version of Windows 7/8/8.1 will become a retail version of Windows 10 when upgraded. So how do I activate it on a different PC without a product key?
Until I find a definite (and official) answer to this question I don't dare upgrade to Windows 10 in case I run into trouble when I upgrade my PC in the future (outside of the Windows 10 one year promotional period).
Thanks in advance for your advice and assistance. Great forum by the way; and the only one I use for Windows 10 info.