Windows 10 Activation Solved

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  1.    20 Feb 2018 #1

    Windows 10 Activation


    Would just like to know how Windows 10 knows your activation code. If I decide to format and reinstall Windows 10 via a clean usb install how will I know if my key will still be saved? And it will work?

    Thanks :)
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  2. Caledon Ken's Avatar
    Posts : 11,055
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Build 1803
       20 Feb 2018 #2

    Hi Vellaura

    Your machine has been fingerprinted on the MS servers. Assuming you don't make any real changes it will work. If you have made changes there are some extra steps that you sometimes have to take.

    Ken
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    20 Feb 2018 #3

    Based on your hardware ID, held by MS's activation servers.

    Trivial changes like disks are not significant.
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  4. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 9,087
    10 Home x64 (1809) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       20 Feb 2018 #4

    If you have an activated Windows 10 on your PC there is a Digital Licence stored on Microsoft's activation servers and linked to a unique hardware ID derived from the CPU and motherboard serial numbers (amongst other things).

    If you clean install the same edition (Home or Pro) and skip entering a key it will activate automatically from this digital licence as soon as it can contact the activation servers.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  5.    20 Feb 2018 #5

    Windows calculates a hardware ID unique to each computer. That hardware ID is stored on Microsoft activation servers along with digital licenses for every version of Windows 10 the computer is licensed for.

    When you reinstall Windows, the hardware ID is sent to the Microsoft activation server, the digital license for Windows 10 is retrieved, and Windows activates itself.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    20 Feb 2018 #6

    When you install windows 10 first time, you are granted a digital licence linked to your hardware id, and this is stored on MS activation servers. Next time you install, hardware id is checked against stored ids and if a match is found, pc activates automatically.

    Also if you buy a pc with windows preinstalled from a major vendor, the key is embedded in the bios.
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  7. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 9,087
    10 Home x64 (1809) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       20 Feb 2018 #7

    Well, I think we comprehensively answered that one

    It's worth adding that the HDD plays no part in the hardware ID, so you are free to change it for another (or replace with an SSD) - that won't change the hardware ID.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  8.    20 Feb 2018 #8

    Bree said: View Post
    Well, I think we comprehensively answered that one

    It's worth adding that the HDD plays no part in the hardware ID, so you are free to change it for another (or replace with an SSD) - that won't change the hardware ID.
    Actually, to be slightly pedantic, there are two exceptions to automatic activation:

    1) key is a volume licence key - this would not apply to most domestic users, only companies.

    2) More subtlely, if user installed Windows 10 using a product key (i.e. a retail key, or an oem system builder licence key) and still running a very old version (1507/1511), it is necessary to use the product key to reinstall. Digital licences were only introduced for ALL oem/retail consumer installations in 1607.
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  9.    20 Feb 2018 #9

    Thanks guys! Very informative, so should I check that I have a digital licence before I do a clean install? My worry is that I'll do a clean install and my key won't activate, basically I'll lose my key. The first time I tried to activate my key wouldn't work (I bought one) so support went on my computer and hooked me up with one. 'Reset This PC' takes so many hours to format so I want to do a usb install but am worried I'll lose my key this way.
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  10. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 9,087
    10 Home x64 (1809) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       20 Feb 2018 #10

    Vellaura said: View Post
    Thanks guys! Very informative, so should I check that I have a digital licence before I do a clean install?
    It will tell you in Settings > Update & Security > Activation.
      My ComputersSystem Spec


 
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