Windows 10 Activation questions

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  1. alphanumeric's Avatar
    Posts : 14,094
    Windows 10 IoT
       #11

    "Windows 7 OEM marker present in firmware" means the BIOS has a Windows 7 OEM SLIC table. Which is a bit weird. That "model" motherboard must have shipped from Dell with a factory Windows 7 install at some point. There is no Windows 7 key stored in the BIOS, just an OEM identifier. If you did the free upgrade from Windows 8 the original motherboard got a generic key. The Home generic key ends in -8HVX7. If thats what showkey listed thats fine, all is good. You can clean install 10 Home with a skip entering a key and it will activate just fine with the DL it has now.
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  2. alphanumeric's Avatar
    Posts : 14,094
    Windows 10 IoT
       #12

    Should have mentioned. Even if it was activated with the key on the card you were given, it will have the generic key. Showkey should I believe, list both keys though? The installed key should be the one on the card. I think its "installed key", haven't run showkey in a while.
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  3. sportsfan148's Avatar
    Posts : 976
    Windows 10 Home 202H
    Thread Starter
       #13

    alphanumeric said:
    Should have mentioned. Even if it was activated with the key on the card you were given, it will have the generic key. Showkey should I believe, list both keys though? The installed key should be the one on the card. I think its "installed key", haven't run showkey in a while.
    Yes the installed key does end in -8HVX7. It only lists the one installed key number though. The only other line ShowKey shows is Product ID. Like I mentioned though Ive never typed in the product key that is on the card that the Dell engineer gave me with the replacement motherboard. Has my digital license already been set on the Microsoft servers with the Home generic key meaning that the product key that the Dell engineer gave to me will never be needed. Have I understood you correctly?
    If I do a clean install using a local account instead of a Microsoft Account to sign in will Windows still Activate automatically bearing in mind I presume there'll be no key in UEFI BIOS because its a replacement motherboard and not the original motherboard that I upgraded to Windows 10 from 8.1
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  4. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 18,768
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #14

    sportsfan148 said:
    Has my digital license already been set on the Microsoft servers with the Home generic key meaning that the product key that the Dell engineer gave to me will never be needed. Have I understood you correctly?
    A generic key can never activate an install of Windows. If yours says it is activated with a digital licence then the activation servers have recognised your PC as being one that's already entitled to run Windows 10 Home. Quite how that worked with the motherboard having been changed is not clear, but you shouldn't need a product key to do a clean install of Home on this machine.
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  5. sportsfan148's Avatar
    Posts : 976
    Windows 10 Home 202H
    Thread Starter
       #15

    Bree said:
    A generic key can never activate an install of Windows. If yours says it is activated with a digital licence then the activation servers have recognised your PC as being one that's already entitled to run Windows 10 Home. Quite how that worked with the motherboard having been changed is not clear, but you shouldn't need a product key to do a clean install of Home on this machine.
    Hi Bree. Yeah..thats what I don't understand...unless Dell notifies Microsoft when they change a motherboard? I did the free upgrade to Windows 10 from a pre-installed 8.1 Dell laptop. About three months after the upgrade the motherboard went faulty. Dell replaced it under warranty. I was signed into my laptop with a Microsoft Account before the motherboard went faulty and have done all clean installations since signing in with a Microsoft account and Windows has always been activated automatically. That's why Ive been thinking it must be something to do with my Microsoft Account and the Microsoft Servers recognising Windows 10 has been activated with a digital licence linked to a Microsoft Account on this laptop before. Ive never had to enter any product key at all. That's why Ive been asking if I'll still get automated Activation if I do a clean install from a Local Account or will that only happen if I install and sign in with my Microsoft Account?
    If Windows 10 didn't activate automatically I wouldn't know if I was supposed to enter that generic install key that Showkey shows on my system or the product key on the card that Ive never had to type in yet that the Dell engineer gave me when he replaced the motherboard
    Last edited by sportsfan148; 13 Oct 2018 at 17:43.
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  6. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 18,768
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #16

    A digital licence is linked on the activation servers to the hardware ID of your PC. It may then also be linked to a Microsoft Account, but that should not alter the fact that it is the hardware ID that is used to identify the PC to the activation servers. Seems you have got lucky and somehow the motherboard change wasn't seen as a significant hardware change by the activation servers.

    ... have done all clean installations since signing in with a Microsoft account...
    You obviously routinely do clean installs on this machine. I presume that also means you know how to make a system image with something like Macrium Reflect free. In your position I'd make a system image then try a clean install using a local account, just to see if it activates. From all you've said so far it looks like it will - and if it didn't you could always restore the system image and get back to as if nothing had happened.

    Alternatively, you could temporarily swap out the hard drive for a spare blank one and try a clean install on that.
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  7. sportsfan148's Avatar
    Posts : 976
    Windows 10 Home 202H
    Thread Starter
       #17

    Bree said:
    A digital licence is linked on the activation servers to the hardware ID of your PC. It may then also be linked to a Microsoft Account, but that should not alter the fact that it is the hardware ID that is used to identify the PC to the activation servers. Seems you have got lucky and somehow the motherboard change wasn't seen as a significant hardware change by the activation servers.



    You obviously routinely do clean installs on this machine. I presume that also means you know how to make a system image with something like Macrium Reflect free. In your position I'd make a system image then try a clean install using a local account, just to see if it activates. From all you've said so far it looks like it will - and if it didn't you could always restore the system image and get back to as if nothing had happened.

    Alternatively, you could temporarily swap out the hard drive for a spare blank one and try a clean install on that.
    If Windows 10 didn't activate automatically..If I then when to Change Product Key in Settings App I wouldn't know if I was supposed to enter that generic install key that Showkey shows on my system or the product key on the card that Ive never had to type in yet that the Dell engineer gave me when he replaced the motherboard. Im presuming the new product key that the Dell engineer gave me when he replaced the faulty motherboard should Activate Windows if it isn't activated automatically. He did tell me to use it for Activating Windows 10. Its just that Ive never had to use it. What do you think?
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  8. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 18,768
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #18

    sportsfan148 said:
    If Windows 10 didn't activate automatically..If I then when to Change Product Key in Settings App I wouldn't know if I was supposed to enter that generic install key that Showkey shows on my system or the product key on the card that Ive never had to type in yet that the Dell engineer gave me when he replaced the motherboard.
    No, a generic key will not activate any install, and ShowKey said you have the same generic key as anyone else with Home installed.

    Im presuming the new product key that the Dell engineer gave me when he replaced the faulty motherboard should Activate Windows if it isn't activated automatically. What do you think?
    I think from all you said so far that you have a digital licence for this PC that will active Home automatically. If not, the Dell supplied key would be the one to use.
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  9. sportsfan148's Avatar
    Posts : 976
    Windows 10 Home 202H
    Thread Starter
       #19

    Bree said:
    No, a generic key will not activate any install, and ShowKey said you have the same generic key as anyone else with Home installed.



    I think from all you said so far that you have a digital licence for this PC that will active Home automatically. If not, the Dell supplied key would be the one to use.
    Thanks very much Bree for clearing that up for me. Hopefully it'll keep on Activating automatically as it always has. Its just that Ive never used a Local Account with Windows 10 before but its something Id like to do now. If it doesn't Activate I'll just dig out the Product Key that the Dell engineer gave me and told me to use for Windows 10 Activation when he installed the replacement motherboard
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  10. Superfly's Avatar
    Posts : 3,328
       #20

    NavyLCDR said:
    The Dell OEM motherboard has the Windows 10 product key stored in UEFI firmware. That's the biggest reason you will see automatic activation on that computer - has nothing to do with a Microsoft account. Windows 10 will use Windows 8.1 product keys stored in UEFI to activate.
    Service centres install a default board - OA3 (Win 8/Win10 key injection) occurs only at the factory - the bios may however contain a Win7 SLIC from a base bios/firmware - an envelope with a new OEM key must accompany the RMA.


    sportsfan148 said:
    Hi Navy. Yeah I realise that the original motherboard would have been using the 8.1 product key stored in UEFI firmware but like I mentioned above Dell replaced the original motherboard because it was faulty so the 8.1 key that was on the original board would now be invalid. They gave me a card with a product key on it but Ive never had to use it once. Im trying to understand how it kept automatic activation..I presumed it was because of my Microsoft Account
    A same edition installed with an MSA will retrieve the digital licence when on line from different hardware automatically.

    By this I mean no substantial change in HardwareID.. like NIC (a major component of the ID)
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