Windows 10 Prod key shows different

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  1. encom45's Avatar
    Posts : 65
    Windows 10 PRO
       #1

    Windows 10 Prod key shows different


    I have installed windows 10 pro on newly installed pc, I purchased a key while back i used an app called prodkey to find what the prod key is so i could use the same key for new pc. however when i activate with key that i bought Prod key reports it as a different key all together I guess im little confused on this as well with how it handles License keys like it is activated but not - lot different than Win7. Does windows 10 actually require a key after a fresh install, the step where it asks to put in product key I skipped that step as i would do it later but when i go to System in control panel it says Windows is activated huh? so i selected change product key and put in the key i purchased not sure why the app prod key shows a totally different prod key from C:\windows.
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  2. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,429
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #2

    Does windows 10 actually require a key after a fresh install
    No, not if the same Win 10 edition (Home/PRO) and 32/64 bits is being reinstalled. Activation should then be automatic.

    The key being reported is probably the generic key. That's different to the one actually used to activate Windows- the one you bought.

    If you change e.g. the MOBO there is an activation troubleshooter which helps you use the same digital entitlement.

    Clean Install Windows 10 Windows 10 Tutorials
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  3. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 10,728
    Win10 Pro Versions 2004 and 2009/20H2, Win10 Pro IP_Dev, Win10 Home 1909
       #3

    And with new OEM computers with Win7 or earlier there would be a different Product Key in the computer versus the COA sticker on the case. It's the licensing from Microsoft that allows OEMs to create a master drive then clone it as needed when selling a new computer and that master will have the same Product Key for all the clones. It's usually not a problem if using the factory restore feature to put the computer back to its as-shipped condition, I've never had to enter a key in that situation.
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  4. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 19,109
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #4

    dalchina said:
    The key being reported is probably the generic key...
    The generic key for Windows 10 Pro is VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T
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  5. alphanumeric's Avatar
    Posts : 14,144
    Windows 10 IoT
       #5

    Just about every Windows 10 PC now activates with a Digital License. Even OEM installs. Once that happens the key in use becomes a generic key. Once you have obtained a Digital License you can then reinstall with the generic key or no key at all. Or enter your original key, if you want to, but you don't have to. The generic key only works activation wise, if that PC has a preexisting Digital License. The Digital License is stored on the activation server along with a digital fingerprint of that PC's hardware.
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  6. alphanumeric's Avatar
    Posts : 14,144
    Windows 10 IoT
       #6

    Berton said:
    And with new OEM computers with Win7 or earlier there would be a different Product Key in the computer versus the COA sticker on the case. It's the licensing from Microsoft that allows OEMs to create a master drive then clone it as needed when selling a new computer and that master will have the same Product Key for all the clones. It's usually not a problem if using the factory restore feature to put the computer back to its as-shipped condition, I've never had to enter a key in that situation.
    Yeah, the Windows 7 factory key, the OEM-SLP key is common to that OEM. Those PC's activate against the BIOS SLIC table. Those keys only work with the custom OEM install media. And if you have that media, you don't need to enter any key anyway, its done automatically. The key on the sticker, the OEM-COA key, is unique to that PC and is for use with stock install media. The two keys being different has a lot of people scratching their head.
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  7. cereberus's Avatar
    Posts : 12,035
    Windows10
       #7

    There has been a progression in how windows 10 keys are handled and installed.

    1) 1507/1511 - if you used a 10 key to activate pc, the key became the installed key, and you did not get a digital licence. You needed key to reinstall.

    Upgrades from 7/8 gave a digital licence and installed a generic key. You did not need a,key to reinstall.

    2) 1607/1703 - if you used a 10 key, you got a digital licence, and the installed key was same as the entered key. You no longer need key to reinstall.

    7/8 upgrades are still as a generic key plus digital licence.

    3) 1709 - if you used a 10 key, you got a digital licence BUT NOW the installed is now just the generic key i.e. the same end result as upgrading from a 7/8 key.

    So now, the key is only used to check if you have a valid licence to grant you a digital licence but is no longer used otherwise or installed.

    This does not apply to mak or vl keys which still get traditionally instaled, and (afaik) no digital licence.
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  8. alphanumeric's Avatar
    Posts : 14,144
    Windows 10 IoT
       #8

    MAK keys "now" get a Digital License. They didn't originally, but at some point mine switched from "activated with a Product Code" to Activated with a Digital License". I don't remember which build did it though. Even my Enterprise installs done with my MAK key get a DL. IMHO its a glitch where MAK keys are treated as "special" Retail keys. I inquired about it on the Microsoft private Yammer group but didn't get any official response. VL installs are the only ones I know of that don't get a DL. I can't test it as I don't have access to VL keys etc. That's why we get MAK keys via our Visual Studio subscription. It's the only way I could test Enterprise, other than the 90 day trial.
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  9. cereberus's Avatar
    Posts : 12,035
    Windows10
       #9

    alphanumeric said:
    MAK keys "now" get a Digital License. They didn't originally, but at some point mine switched from "activated with a Product Code" to Activated with a Digital License". I don't remember which build did it though. Even my Enterprise installs done with my MAK key get a DL. IMHO its a glitch where MAK keys are treated as "special" Retail keys. I inquired about it on the Microsoft private Yammer group but didn't get any official response. VL installs are the only ones I know of that don't get a DL. I can't test it as I don't have access to VL keys etc. That's why we get MAK keys via our Visual Studio subscription. It's the only way I could test Enterprise, other than the 90 day trial.
    That seems odd as install key would never need validating again would it?
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  10. encom45's Avatar
    Posts : 65
    Windows 10 PRO
    Thread Starter
       #10

    the purchase i made was off some site that sells keys. I am not doing or was not doing an upgrade from windows 7 to Win10 just baremetal of windows 10.
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