Windows 10: Win10 motherboard change activation saga


  1. Posts : 1,860
    Win 10 X64 Pro 1803 17751.1
       16 Aug 2018 #1

    Win10 motherboard change activation saga


    I recently changed the motherboard and CPU in my primary system. It was running Win10 Pro X64, upgraded from Win8.1 . That was an upgrade from Win 8, which was an upgrade from Win7, which was... you get the idea. The ancestral OS was retail. The most recent license I had purchased was the Win8 upgrade, from January of 2013.

    The old MB was an Intel X99 one. The new, AMD x470. After Win10 detected the change and installed some different drivers, it ran normally. It didn't activate online. However, when I changed the key to the Win8 upgrade one, it activated OK.

    The motherboard turned out to be defective. The RAM slots A1 and A2 weren't working properly. So, I returned it, and replaced it with a different X470 MB.

    That swap went fine also. However, nothing I could do would permit it to activate online.

    I called MS activation support. After they led me through a number of steps (all of which I'd tried previously), I was referred to another level of support. I went through that a couple of times. The first time, the support person suggested that I re-install Windows 8 and upgrade that to 10. I managed to avoid screaming obscenities at the man, but it was a near thing. On the second try, I got a tech who asked to be allowed to remotely log into to the system. I agreed. He tried a number of things, none of which worked.

    He finally took a screen capture of the invoice for the new MB, which I purchased online a few days ago. His boss permitted him the generate a new Win10 key for me. That worked. I don't know whether the key is equivalent to a full retail license, but I hadn't expect to be given any sort of new key.

    The short version: if you swap motherboards, and have a Win10 installation with retail origins (not OEM), I expect that Microsoft will support re-activating Windows on the new hardware. If you have to deal with humans, you may encounter some who offer nonsense solutions. Persevere, and you may eventually find a support person who is both considerate and competent. (Thanks, Kamalesh.)
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  2.    16 Aug 2018 #2

    Bob:

    Do you have a considered opinion on what the outcome would have been if you were not a skilled operator who had a good knowledge of components and licensing?

    I'm just wondering about how your average joe would have fared. Forced back to Win 8? Never got the second level support?

    I don't think I would have been able to avoid screaming obscenities. I've been known to through stuff in the garbage rather than deal with customer service.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  3. Posts : 1,860
    Win 10 X64 Pro 1803 17751.1
    Thread Starter
       16 Aug 2018 #3

    ignatzatsonic said: View Post
    Bob:

    Do you have a considered opinion on what the outcome would have been if you were not a skilled operator who had a good knowledge of components and licensing?

    I'm just wondering about how your average joe would have fared. Forced back to Win 8? Never got the second level support?

    I don't think I would have been able to avoid screaming obscenities. I've been known to through stuff in the garbage rather than deal with customer service.
    I was mainly astonished that I encountered what I refer to as Making Stuff Up (although in less polite company, it's not Stuff). The support person did back down when I said that there was no way that I would assist him in installing Win 8 on my hardware. He referred the case to "the developers". I was pretty sure that was nonsense. (I'm wrong about that a little too often, I admit. I'm pretty sure that I was right this time.)

    That, after a frustrating experience with the motherboard manufacturer. They were of less than zero help in diagnosing the defective first board, even after I gave them some significant information. (Mainly that the board didn't recognize RAM properly in slots A1 and A2. B1 and B2 were OK. The manual recommends installing a single stick in A2.) The board maker suggested that I try some different RAM, among other things. It's almost as if they were stringing me along until past the end of the return period for the board, which was approaching.

    Hanlon's Razor (Hanlon's razor - Wikipedia) applies, I suppose. It goes something like "Do not attribute to malice that which can be readily explained by simple incompetence." I'd add: "But don't completely discount the possibility of malice." (Malice is probably rare. Ego, and an unwillingness to say "I don't know, I'll have to look that up, are common.)

    Having the patience to keep pressing on until you find that competent person can be difficult. Maybe I lucked out, this time.

    I wonder how many tiers of support you have to go through to get an actual Microsoft employee? I doubt that I have ever spoken to one.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  4.    17 Aug 2018 #4

    bobkn said: View Post
    I was mainly astonished that I encountered what I refer to as Making Stuff Up (although in less polite company, it's not Stuff). The support person did back down when I said that there was no way that I would assist him in installing Win 8 on my hardware. He referred the case to "the developers". I was pretty sure that was nonsense. (I'm wrong about that a little too often, I admit. I'm pretty sure that I was right this time.)

    That, after a frustrating experience with the motherboard manufacturer. They were of less than zero help in diagnosing the defective first board, even after I gave them some significant information. (Mainly that the board didn't recognize RAM properly in slots A1 and A2. B1 and B2 were OK. The manual recommends installing a single stick in A2.) The board maker suggested that I try some different RAM, among other things. It's almost as if they were stringing me along until past the end of the return period for the board, which was approaching.

    Hanlon's Razor (Hanlon's razor - Wikipedia) applies, I suppose. It goes something like "Do not attribute to malice that which can be readily explained by simple incompetence." I'd add: "But don't completely discount the possibility of malice." (Malice is probably rare. Ego, and an unwillingness to say "I don't know, I'll have to look that up, are common.)

    Having the patience to keep pressing on until you find that competent person can be difficult. Maybe I lucked out, this time.

    I wonder how many tiers of support you have to go through to get an actual Microsoft employee? I doubt that I have ever spoken to one.
    I gave up on online assistance long time ago, specially on HW, If something doesn't work right on MB for instance, just RMA it, Asus and other manufacturers dropped the ball in that field badly. Even when you call them you get to communicate with people that never even seen that product and are no experts in no way. They have a Q&A list they just stick to and no further knowledge. Forums are much better source of information.
    BTW, That Asus rog and all other Ryzen MBs with 4 memory slots default to using A2 slot for one RAM stick and A2 and B2 slots for 4 sticks. If you want to see more possible problems and solution this forum ROG Crosshair VII overclocking thread - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community has more answers than Asus itself does.
      My ComputersSystem Spec


  5. Posts : 1,860
    Win 10 X64 Pro 1803 17751.1
    Thread Starter
       17 Aug 2018 #5

    CountMike said: View Post
    (snip) BTW, That Asus rog and all other Ryzen MBs with 4 memory slots default to using A2 slot for one RAM stick and A2 and B2 slots for 4 sticks. If you want to see more possible problems and solution this forum ROG Crosshair VII overclocking thread - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community has more answers than Asus itself does.
    I tried to avoid mentioning Asus, but as I included my current (working) setup in my system list, it's not hard to figure who I was dealing with.

    Yes. The manual gives Asus' recommendations for installing RAM. Apparently it's not absolute; with the defective board (an RoG Strix X470-F), I could boot with a single stick in B1 or B2, but not in A1 or A2. I could also boot with two sticks, one in A2 and one in B2 (as recommended), but Windows would detect 32 GB installed, 15.9 usable. If I tried to change the BIOS settings to get the RAM to run at its XMP value of 3000 MHz, the system wouldn't boot.

    The new Crosshair runs as expected. (Touch wood.)

    I haven't made a habit of hanging in the Asus support groups, but Google took me there. Nothing that I found online helped me to diagnose the defective board. I appreciate the suggestion, though.

    I found Asus online chat support to be a little strange. Their initial responses were so scripted that I thought I might be dealing with a bot. It took a little back and forth for me to detect that there was a human at the other end. (What's the opposite of the Turing Test, when you are fooled into thinking that a person is a machine?) After an unsatisfactory experience with them, I received a telephone call from a supposedly higher-level support person. He suggested that I clean the DIMM slots with isopropanol. I didn't do that. (Aside from thinking that the idea was bulls#!t, because the board and the RAM were new and clean, I don't have ready access to 100% isopropyl. I shudder to think what the water in drugstore "rubbing alcohol" might have done.)

    After flailing around for a while, the support people seem to switch into what I call "not our problem" mode. Even if you use RAM from their QVL (qualified vendors list), they'll put the blame there. Unethical behavior is worse than incompetence.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  6.    18 Aug 2018 #6

    RE: the original topic, I also had a little trouble replacing a MB a couple years ago, below is a quote from my thread in Nov, 2016. Had I known this I wouldn't even have had to contact MS. Here's a link to the thread, and below that the process I used to fix the activation issue.

    Replacing Motherboard Questions

    CmmTch said: View Post
    Success!! I followed your instructions for creating the bootable USB with W10 and Kyhi's recovery tools, and was able to get W10 AU 1607 clean installed.

    Had trouble with activation, followed another post you gave advice in, went to this link https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/...troubleshooter chose "Contact Us" then chose chat.

    Worked with a person named Donna, she fixed my problem, took less than 10 minutes. Ended up using the product key from the Win7 OS I upgraded from, she had me press the Windows + R buttons, then type "slui 3" in the run box. Then I put in the product key from the Win7 OS, and all is good now. Activated with a digital license, and stayed on the retail channel too.
      My ComputersSystem Spec


  7. Posts : 1,860
    Win 10 X64 Pro 1803 17751.1
    Thread Starter
       18 Aug 2018 #7

    CmmTch said: View Post
    RE: the original topic, I also had a little trouble replacing a MB a couple years ago, below is a quote from my thread in Nov, 2016. Had I known this I wouldn't even have had to contact MS. Here's a link to the thread, and below that the process I used to fix the activation issue.

    Replacing Motherboard Questions
    If you read my (too long) post, you'd have seen that I was able to use the most recently purchased license key (Win8 upgrade, from January of 2013) to activate after a MB change. All that "SLUI 3" does is bring up a license key change window, which can be gotten through settings. (I have nothing against using a command line, though.) Call that MB2. The problem was that when I found that MB2 was defective, I replaced it with MB3 a couple of weeks later. MB3 used the same chipset as MB2, but wasn't an identical model. I couldn't re-activate on MB3 using the Win8 key. I went through the troubleshooter, ending up with the "hardware change" option. No go. The software generously suggested that I go to the Windows Store and purchase a new Win10 license.

    That was why I contacted MS, and wasted a fairish bit of time before I found someone who knew what he was about.
      My ComputersSystem Spec


 

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