Windows 10: Linking Windows license with MS account - What does it do? Solved

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  1. Posts : 477
    Win10 x64 Pro -2 desktops, 1 laptop
       26 May 2018 #1

    Linking Windows license with MS account - What does it do?


    I'm about to replace the motherboard in a PC and have read that I can easily reactivate the associated Windows license with my Microsoft account. I've gone for many years without this linkage - using local accounts on OEM installations, doing automatic upgrades to Win 10, etc. I wasn't even sure I had a Microsoft. (Must be from when I upgraded from Win7 Home to Win7 Pro 9 years ago.)

    So other that this ability to reactivate rather than buying a new license, what does this linkage do for me and to me?

    I see in the (very long) thread
    Link Microsoft Account to Windows 10 Digital License | Windows 10 Tutorials
    the warning:
    Linking your Microsoft account to the digital license will switch your local account to a Microsoft account on your Windows 10 PC.
    I have no reason to want a Microsoft account on the PC. Can I switch back to a local account after I have reactivated Windows? Or can a define a special account on the PC just fot the purposes of reactivation and then delete the account? (This may be answered in that thread. I didn't get very far in the thread because it seemed to be oriented towards VM systems.)

    Is there some way I can change my motherboard and reactivate Windows without this linkage? I have no idea what my Win10 product key is (if such a think still exists). Belarc Advisor displays what looks like a valid Microsoft product key but I have no idea if it is accurate ... or if I can use it to reactivate Windows even if it is accurate.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 14,791
    Windows 10 Pro
       27 May 2018 #2

    There's a nice and practical workaround for this.

    When signed in to Windows with your local account, open any native Windows UWP app. I often use Weather app for this. Sign in to app with a Microsoft account (screenshots from Weather app):

    Click image for larger version. 

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    When you have entered your MS account email, password and in case you are using two-step authentication, the verification code, click Next to add this MS account to Windows although still keeping your local account as a sign-in account:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This does not switch your Windows 10 local account to a Microsoft account. You will continue signing in to Windows with your a local account but you have now set Windows to automatically sign in to all Microsoft apps with the MS account email. Activation will now be connected to your MS account:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This allows you to transfer the license after hardware change.

    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  3. Posts : 477
    Win10 x64 Pro -2 desktops, 1 laptop
    Thread Starter
       27 May 2018 #3

    Kari said: View Post
    There's a nice and practical workaround for this.

    When signed in to Windows with your local account, open any native Windows UWP app. I often use Weather app for this. Sign in to app with a Microsoft account (screenshots from Weather app)
    Hmm. I don't use any Windows UWP app. I'll have to think about this.

    Kari said: View Post
    When you have entered your MS account email, password and in case you are using two-step authentication, the verification code, click Next to add this MS account to Windows although still keeping your local account as a sign-in account:
    ...
    This does not switch your Windows 10 local account to a Microsoft account. You will continue signing in to Windows with your a local account but you have now set Windows to automatically sign in to all Microsoft apps with the MS account email.
    What is the meaning of "all Microsoft apps " in that last sentence? Does the sign in happen only if I actively start the app (I hope) or Windows automatically start them?
    Kari said: View Post
    Activation will now be connected to your MS account
    ...
    This allows you to transfer the license after hardware change.
    Kari
    I have thought of another option.
    I create a new account (with admin authority) on my PC and link it to my MS account.
    After change my motherboard I log into that account and perform activation.
    Then I never use that account again. Maybe I even delete it.

    Would that work, or does there have to be a linked account forever more on the PC?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 14,791
    Windows 10 Pro
       27 May 2018 #4

    pokeefe0001 said: View Post
    What is the meaning of "all Microsoft apps " in that last sentence? Does the sign in happen only if I actively start the app (I hope) or Windows automatically start them?
    You would be signed in to apps like Weather, Skype, People and so on regardless if you manually start them or not.


    pokeefe0001 said: View Post
    I have thought of another option.
    I create a new account (with admin authority) on my PC and link it to my MS account.
    After change my motherboard I log into that account and perform activation.
    Then I never use that account again. Maybe I even delete it.

    Would that work, or does there have to be a linked account forever more on the PC?
    Yes, that is a valid alternative method.

    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    27 May 2018 #5

    Kari said: View Post
    You would be signed in to apps like Weather, Skype, People and so on regardless if you manually start them or not.




    Yes, that is a valid alternative method.

    Kari
    Actually, it might not work.

    There is no longer an actual manual method of linking the digital licence to MS account.

    It was simplified way back in 1709 but most of the internet info still refer to manual linking as it was in AU 1703.


    Now, if you login with MS account, digital licence is automatically linked to MS account.

    If you change that to a local account, the link is removed!

    The linking only seems to work with the account setup at installation time.

    If you create secondary accounts, these do not always seem to link.

    OP should simply change the primary local account to an MS account, then check the MS account is linked.

    Then login with same MS account on new PC/mobo, use activation troubleshooter to transfer digital licence, then OP can change licence to local account.

    OP should be aware if new mobo failed, a new mobo could not be reactivated if OP reverts to a local account. This is a good reason to stay on an MS account.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  6. Posts : 477
    Win10 x64 Pro -2 desktops, 1 laptop
    Thread Starter
       27 May 2018 #6

    I just found a possible problem with any possible solution. This (very old) PC originally had an OEM Win7 Home. I purchased an upgrade to Win7 Pro. I then did the automatic upgrade to Win10 Pro.

    In Microsoft Forum article "How to troubleshoot Product Activation in Windows 10"
    (How to troubleshoot Product Activation in Windows 10 - Microsoft Community)
    there is a link to a non-MS site
    Use a Digital License to Manage and Activate Windows 10 Anniversary Update
    which states:
    If you were previously running an OEM Windows 10, Windows 7 or Windows 8 license; then changing the motherboard will cause the Digital License to no longer work. This will require purchasing a new license. Transferring licenses upgraded from Windows 8 or Windows 7 under the Windows 10 free upgrade is also not allowed under Digital License.
    If that article is accurate then I need to purchase a new license. Does that sound correct?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    27 May 2018 #7

    pokeefe0001 said: View Post
    Transferring licenses upgraded from Windows 8 or Windows 7 under the Windows 10 free upgrade is also not allowed under Digital License.
    If that article is accurate then I need to purchase a new license. Does that sound correct?
    Not AFAIK, where do they get that from? (I don't see any reference in the EULA) DL's fall under the Retail banner and can be transferred to new hardware.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 14,791
    Windows 10 Pro
       27 May 2018 #8

    cereberus said: View Post
    There is no longer an actual manual method of linking the digital licence to MS account.

    ...
    The linking only seems to work with the account setup at installation time.

    If you create secondary accounts, these do not always seem to link.
    I am sorry Martin but that is absolutely not true.

    The method I told about in post #2 works for 100% sure. Also, adding a new account and making it an MS account with local admin rights works.

    Really, this is something I have tested and used so often, also with 1709 and 1803, that I know what I am talking about. Let's not spread wrong and invalid information.

    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    27 May 2018 #9

    Superfly said: View Post
    Not AFAIK, where do they get that from? (I don't see any reference in the EULA) DL's fall under the Retail banner and can be transferred to new hardware.
    Yeah - that article is just rubbish. Digital licences are most certainly transferable but the transfer mechanism is a bit flakey sometimes.

    It is clear in EULA that only fu retail standalone licences are transferable but oem licences are not.

    It is also clear that that an licence upgrade from a previous version inherits oem or retail status.

    Problem is EULA was written before digital licences were developed. It seems that there is no way to tell if the digital licence stemmed from an original oem or retail key. As a result MS seem to have given benefit of doubt and digital licences have a "limited" retail status. In testing I did, I found you could only transfer a digital licence three times, and no mechanism exists to override this. Of course, you can still activate Windows 10 using a full retail 7/8 key on new pc at the moment.

    I have concluded MS do not really care - they are more interested in keeping all users in W10 ecosphere. Hell, they do not even timebomb unactivated versions in the consumer market.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  10. Posts : 477
    Win10 x64 Pro -2 desktops, 1 laptop
    Thread Starter
       27 May 2018 #10

    That information was from Groovypost (whatever that is) pointed to by an article in an Answers.Microsoft.com forum. Both postings were by Andre Da Costa. If one has incorrect information, the other probably does, too.

    So at this point I go with Cereberus' suggestion?
    cereberus said: View Post
    OP should simply change the primary local account to an MS account, then check the MS account is linked.

    Then login with same MS account on new PC/mobo, use activation troubleshooter to transfer digital licence, then OP can change licence to local account.
    At this point a failure could either be that I did something wrong or that reactivation /transfer is not allowed. Is that correct? Will it be clear if reactivation is not allowed for OEM licenses?

    cereberus said: View Post
    OP should be aware if new mobo failed, a new mobo could not be reactivated if OP reverts to a local account. This is a good reason to stay on an MS account.
    Is there any option to do the reactivation using the product key (assuming the product key displayed by products like Belarc Advisor is accurate)?

    If I have to get a new Windows license am I dead in the water until I get it? And is a new license somehow tied to a new copy of Windows or can I just activate the existing installation with the new key?
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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