Windows 10 Activation questions

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  1. sportsfan148's Avatar
    Posts : 976
    Windows 10 Home 202H
       #1

    Windows 10 Activation questions


    Hi all,
    I have a Dell laptop that came with Windows 8.1 pre installed. I upgraded to Windows 10 during Microsofts free upgrade period. Three months after upgrading to Windows 10 the laptops motherboard became faulty so Dell replaced it. Dell gave me a replacement product key to use with Windows 10. Having already used a Microsoft Account to sign into the laptop I had a digital licence linked to my Microsoft Account so Ive never had to manually type in a product key since when clean installing Windows 10.

    The question I have is.. Im considering going back to using a Local account and doing a clean installation of Windows 10. If during Setup I selected to sign in with a local account (ignoring the set up with a Microsoft Account option) and bearing in mind that Dell changed the motherboard...would Windows 10 activation be no longer automatic because my Digital Certificate wouldn't be linked to my Microsoft Account anymore. I don't really want to mess about entering the product key manually again like it used to be in the old Windows days
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  2. Samuria's Avatar
    Posts : 6,063
    windows 10
       #2

    The PC hardware is what has the licence not your account so you should have no problem
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  3. sportsfan148's Avatar
    Posts : 976
    Windows 10 Home 202H
    Thread Starter
       #3

    Samuria said:
    The PC hardware is what has the licence not your account so you should have no problem
    I thought that in a case where there had been a significant hardware change it was the linkage to a Microsoft Account that kept the Activation automatic? Because of the Microsoft Account the Microsoft Servers could see that the motherboard had been changed but that it was still the same laptop. Am I misunderstanding the way it works?
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  4. alphanumeric's Avatar
    Posts : 14,094
    Windows 10 IoT
       #4

    Linking your Digital License to your Microsoft Account will help you transfer it to new hardware. It doesn't happen automatically though. You have to run the activation trouble shooter etc.
    The Digital License is tied to the hardware reguardless of what type of account you log in with.
    If you log in with a local account it will say "activated with a digital License"
    Log in with a Microsoft Account and it will say "activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account"
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  5. sportsfan148's Avatar
    Posts : 976
    Windows 10 Home 202H
    Thread Starter
       #5

    alphanumeric said:
    Linking your Digital License to your Microsoft Account will help you transfer it to new hardware. It doesn't happen automatically though. You have to run the activation trouble shooter etc.
    The Digital License is tied to the hardware reguardless of what type of account you log in with.
    If you log in with a local account it will say "activated with a digital License"
    Log in with a Microsoft Account and it will say "activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account"
    Bearing in mind my explanation above of what happened when Dell replaced the motherboard in my laptop. Ive never had to type in the product key once or run the activation troubleshooter. Activation has always been Automatic even after the motherboard was replaced. I presumed that was because Id been signing in to the laptop with the Microsoft Account before the motherboard change and continued to sign in with the Microsoft Account immediately after the Dell engineer replaced the faulty motherboard.
    Are you saying that I'll now be able to clean install Windows 10 using a Local Account (not touching my Microsoft Account at all) and Microsofts Activation Servers will recognise that its the same laptop so Windows Activation will still be done automatically? Originally when the motherboard was first replaced about 18 months ago under Dells warranty I thought the motherboard change might have caused future Automatic Activation problems. That's the main reason I have stayed with the Microsoft Account Sign in method ever since
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  6. alphanumeric's Avatar
    Posts : 14,094
    Windows 10 IoT
       #6

    The account you log in with on a clean install has no bearing on whether it activates or not. If there is a Digital License for that hardware on the activation server it will activate. I've logged in on clean installs with a local account several times and had no prblems activating. Even when skiping entering a key. You could log in with a different Microsoft account (one never used on that PC before) and it will make no difference. In the early days of Windows 10 your Digital License wasn't even linked to your Microsoft ID.
    Dell most likely reactivated the new motherboard after the swap. And if that device shiped with Windows 10 preinstalled, it has an OEM embeded key in its BIOS. showkey will verify that. ShowKeyPlus - Windows 10 Forums
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  7. NavyLCDR's Avatar
    Posts : 15,515
    Windows 10 Pro
       #7

    sportsfan148 said:
    Bearing in mind my explanation above of what happened when Dell replaced the motherboard in my laptop. Ive never had to type in the product key once or run the activation troubleshooter. Activation has always been Automatic even after the motherboard was replaced. I presumed that was because Id been signing in to the laptop with the Microsoft Account before the motherboard change and continued to sign in with the Microsoft Account immediately after the Dell engineer replaced the faulty motherboard.
    Are you saying that I'll now be able to clean install Windows 10 using a Local Account (not touching my Microsoft Account at all) and Microsofts Activation Servers will recognise that its the same laptop so Windows Activation will still be done automatically? Originally when the motherboard was first replaced about 18 months ago under Dells warranty I thought the motherboard change might have caused future Automatic Activation problems. That's the main reason I have stayed with the Microsoft Account Sign in method ever since
    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.
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  8. sportsfan148's Avatar
    Posts : 976
    Windows 10 Home 202H
    Thread Starter
       #8

    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.
    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
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  9. alphanumeric's Avatar
    Posts : 14,094
    Windows 10 IoT
       #9

    Run showkey and see what it detects. Once you run it you can click the product codes and they will be auto X'd out except the last 5 digits. Then you can post a screen shot.
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  10. sportsfan148's Avatar
    Posts : 976
    Windows 10 Home 202H
    Thread Starter
       #10

    alphanumeric said:
    Run showkey and see what it detects. Once you run it you can click the product codes and they will be auto X'd out except the last 5 digits. Then you can post a screen shot.
    Ive just ran Showkey plus. It says Windows 10 Home with my current 1803 version build number. It shows exactly the same installed product key as when I upgraded to Windows 10 from 8.1 and Ive clean installed a couple of times since then. I know that because I ran Showkey or Jellybean straight after the upgrade from 8.1 to check what the product key was and wrote it down. The product key shown is completely different though to the one on the card that the Dell engineer gave me when he fitted the replacement motherboard under warranty but like I said Ive never had to type in the product key as activation has always been done automatically. The last line I don't really understand ..it says OEM key-Windows 7 OEM marker present in firmware. My laptop however came pre-installed with Windows 8.1 not Windows 7
    Last edited by sportsfan148; 13 Oct 2018 at 16:37.
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