Windows 10 activation info?

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

  1. Posts : 985
    Windows 10 Home 21H1
       #1

    Windows 10 activation info?


    I have an OEM desktop PC with an embedded Product key in the UEFI BIOS on the motherboard.
    Until recently when clean installing using the Media Creation Tool I have never once seen the Activation screen appear that asks for a Product Key. I have tested this twice in the last few weeks though and both times I was presented with the Product Key Activation request screen. I just had to select I dont have a product key, then select Windows 10 Home as the OS to be installed and it was automatically activated during Windows Setup anyway. Its bugging me why this has suddenly started to happen. It has never happened before during many, many previous clean installations.
    The Activation screen appears right at the beginning before you select Custom Install , delete partitions etc. Has anybody any idea why the embedded key seemingly isnt being read at this stage? Under normal circumstances, when it is read at this stage, is that when it immediately activates (If so, how?...does it connect to MS servers and activate?) or is the activation done later during Windows Setup ? The embedded key must be being read at some point because during Windows Setup the activation is being done automatically despite the fact that I havent entered a Product Key
    How exactly does this activation process work on OEM PC's. I realise that I have a Digital Licence linked to my Microsoft Account but when clean installing with the Media Creation Tool it still must be reading the embedded key in the BIOS at some point..or am I misunderstanding how it works? Im hoping someone has some in depth knowledge of the procedure because Im baffled lol
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 24,551
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #2

    sportsfan148 said:
    I have an OEM desktop PC with an embedded Product key in the UEFI BIOS on the motherboard.

    Until recently when clean installing using the Media Creation Tool I have never once seen the Activation screen appear that asks for a Product Key. I have tested this twice in the last few weeks though and both times I was presented with the Product Key Activation request screen. I just had to select I dont have a product key, then select Windows 10 Home as the OS to be installed and it was automatically activated during Windows Setup anyway. Its bugging me why this has suddenly started to happen. It has never happened before during many, many previous clean installations.

    ....How exactly does this activation process work on OEM PC's. I realise that I have a Digital Licence linked to my Microsoft Account but when clean installing with the Media Creation Tool it still must be reading the embedded key in the BIOS at some point..or am I misunderstanding how it works? Im hoping someone has some in depth knowledge of the procedure because Im baffled lol

    When booting from a USB to do a clean install Setup should read any embedded W8/8.1/10 key and use it to install and activate the Windows.

    To test this I have just clean installed with the latest 2004 usb made by the MCT on a Dell Latitude E7440 with a W8.1 home embedded key. I was not asked for a key or which edition to install. Setup got the edition from the embedded key and installed W10 Home. Rather than using the embedded W8.1 key, the key it installed in Windows was the generic OEM Home key from 'Windows 10 Default Product Keys to be used with OEM Activation 3.0 - for manufacturers' in Brink's Tutorial: Generic Product Keys to Install Windows 10 Editions


    Windows 10 activation info?-windows-10-home-key-clean-install-2004.png

    On another Dell with a W10 key embedded in the bios, that key was also the installed key used by Setup in a clean install.

    Windows 10 activation info?-windows-10-pro-clean-install-embedded-key-used.png

    It is not clear why your Setup was unable to see the embedded key, but that is the only explanation for it asking you for a key. If you skip entering a key, then choose the edition to install Setup will install the appropriate generic key from Brink's list of 'RTM Generic Key (retail)'. Activation is provided by the PC's existing digital licence on the Microsoft activation servers. This is linked to the Hardware ID of the PC.

    Linking your licence to your MS account is not the primary means of activation, that's the Hardware ID. In fact, linking to your MS account is entirely optional, and only of any real benefit should you make significant hardware changes that would invalidate the Hardware ID (such as changing the motherboard) and then only in Pro which has the activation troubleshooter.
      My Computers


  3. Posts : 24,551
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #3

    sportsfan148 said:
    ...Until recently when clean installing using the Media Creation Tool I have never once seen the Activation screen appear that asks for a Product Key. I have tested this twice in the last few weeks though and both times I was presented with the Product Key Activation request screen..... Its bugging me why this has suddenly started to happen. It has never happened before during many, many previous clean installations.
    @alphanumeric has reported a similar experience, perhaps you two should compare notes and see if there's any common factor that could explain this....

    alphanumeric said:
    My laptops OEM Windows 8.0 Core key isn't auto detected anymore. Hasn't been for several builds now....
    Win10 deactivated - how to get a working Win10 back
      My Computers


  4. Posts : 14,576
    Windows 10 IoT
       #4

    My laptop still activates, it just doesn't automatically install 10 Home by default.
    Originally I was given 10 Home with no option to pick Pro etc.
    I would have to add a PID.txt file to override it, or install home and then do a change product key to get Pro.
    Now I get the selection menu like anybody else with no embedded OEM key. And since my laptop has a DL for every edition except Home SL, I can install what I want and it automatically activates with a DL. The only time I ever have to enter a product code is if I do a change product code to switch editions. Even then, I can use the generic keys as it already has a DL.
      My Computer


  5. Posts : 24,551
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #5

    alphanumeric said:
    My laptop still activates, it just doesn't automatically install 10 Home by default. .
    Did you ever work out why a clean install stopped reading the embedded key? I presume ShowKeyPlus still shows it's there.
      My Computers


  6. Posts : 15,985
    Win 10 Pro 64-bit v1909 - Build 18363 Custom ISO Install
       #6

    Bree said:
    Did you ever work out why a clean install stopped reading the embedded key? I presume ShowKeyPlus still shows it's there.
    That is a good point!
      My Computer


  7. Posts : 14,576
    Windows 10 IoT
       #7

    Yes, showkey still shows its there, last time I ran it it did anyway. Best guess is the algorithm Microsoft uses to read the key was upgraded at some point and now doesn't detect it as a valid key? I bought that laptop when Windows 8 was first released. I'm happy its ignored to be honest. I'm not locked down to Home with stock install media.

    EDIT: I had enquired about why, on Microsoft's private yammer group and got dead air.
      My Computer


  8. Posts : 985
    Windows 10 Home 21H1
    Thread Starter
       #8

    Bree said:
    When booting from a USB to do a clean install Setup should read any embedded W8/8.1/10 key and use it to install and activate the Windows.

    To test this I have just clean installed with the latest 2004 usb made by the MCT on a Dell Latitude E7440 with a W8.1 home embedded key. I was not asked for a key or which edition to install. Setup got the edition from the embedded key and installed W10 Home. Rather than using the embedded W8.1 key, the key it installed in Windows was the generic OEM Home key from 'Windows 10 Default Product Keys to be used with OEM Activation 3.0 - for manufacturers' in Brink's Tutorial: Generic Product Keys to Install Windows 10 Editions


    Windows 10 activation info?-windows-10-home-key-clean-install-2004.png

    On another Dell with a W10 key embedded in the bios, that key was also the installed key used by Setup in a clean install.

    Windows 10 activation info?-windows-10-pro-clean-install-embedded-key-used.png

    It is not clear why your Setup was unable to see the embedded key, but that is the only explanation for it asking you for a key. If you skip entering a key, then choose the edition to install Setup will install the appropriate generic key from Brink's list of 'RTM Generic Key (retail)'. Activation is provided by the PC's existing digital licence on the Microsoft activation servers. This is linked to the Hardware ID of the PC.

    Linking your licence to your MS account is not the primary means of activation, that's the Hardware ID. In fact, linking to your MS account is entirely optional, and only of any real benefit should you make significant hardware changes that would invalidate the Hardware ID (such as changing the motherboard) and then only in Pro which has the activation troubleshooter.
    Thanks again Bree for in depth information. You're a star mate!
    Ive just downloaded and run ShowkeyPlus and the results are :-
    Windows 10 Home
    Product ID (Identical to when the PC was first purchased)
    Version 18362.900 (64-bit OS)
    The Installed Key is exactly the same as the OEM key
    OEM Edition Win10 RTM Core OEM DM

    I bought the PC 18 months ago. It came with Windows 10 pre-installed. I ran ShowkeyPlus then and noted down the results. They are exactly the same as today. The Product ID, Installed Key, OEM Key are the same as they were back then. Does that mean that the embedded key is still being read correctly? From what Ive read the Product ID is a hash of the Product Key and the Hardware ID so Im guessing that the embedded key is still being read correctly as the Product ID hasn't changed and also as you know I skipped entering a key and ShowkeyPlus shows that an RTM Generic Key that you describe above hasnt been used as the Installed key is identical to the OEM key. Does my logic make any sense? lol

    If the Hardware ID is the primary means of Activation why does the Activation screen that pops up ask for the Product Key? Is it asked for in order to be able to identify which Edition of Windows 10 to install...in my case its Windows 10 Home?

    - - - Updated - - -

    alphanumeric said:
    Yes, showkey still shows its there, last time I ran it it did anyway. Best guess is the algorithm Microsoft uses to read the key was upgraded at some point and now doesn't detect it as a valid key? I bought that laptop when Windows 8 was first released. I'm happy its ignored to be honest. I'm not locked down to Home with stock install media.

    EDIT: I had enquired about why, on Microsoft's private yammer group and got dead air.
    Hi mate. I was wondering if Id started to see the Activation popup because Ive done quite a lot of clean installations on this PC (not because of issues but mainly because its quick and easy to do nowadays and I dont have much software to reinstall).
    I wondered if after a certain number of clean installations the Activation popup asking for the Product key might be shown automatically?
    I spoke to a Dell technician yesterday and he said its something he has come across himself during the last few weeks on a couple of occasions. As in my case, after selecting I dont have a Product Key activation completed automatically during Windows Setup without any input from him at all.
    Last edited by sportsfan148; 20 Jun 2020 at 01:41.
      My Computer


  9. Posts : 14,576
    Windows 10 IoT
       #9

    At one time I was doing a lot of clean installs. If it was the first time installing a particular edition on that PC I'd get prompted to enter a product code. Once I did that, and got a DL for that edition on that PC, reinstalling that edition on that PC just activated automatically.
    Now that I'm no longer a Microsoft MVP I only reinstall if need be.
    I don't know why my laptop OEM key stopped being auto used. I don't think it was because of too many clean installs. It still activated just fine with a DL if I installed 10 Home. And skipped entering any key.
      My Computer


  10. Posts : 985
    Windows 10 Home 21H1
    Thread Starter
       #10

    alphanumeric said:
    At one time I was doing a lot of clean installs. If it was the first time installing a particular edition on that PC I'd get prompted to enter a product code. Once I did that, and got a DL for that edition on that PC, reinstalling that edition on that PC just activated automatically.
    Now that I'm no longer a Microsoft MVP I only reinstall if need be.
    I don't know why my laptop OEM key stopped being auto used. I don't think it was because of too many clean installs. It still activated just fine with a DL if I installed 10 Home. And skipped entering any key.
    Yeah its a weird one. I can't fathom out why Ive suddenly started to see the request for Activation with Product key screen either. Just like you I dont enter a key either when this activation screen appears, I just select I dont have a Product Key, then I select to install Windows 10 Home operating system and it gets automatically activated with a digital licence. So its not a problem at all cos everything is fine. Im just curious ..it would be nice to know why some of us are seeing this
      My Computer


 

  Related Discussions
Our Sites
Site Links
About Us
Windows 10 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 10" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:29.
Find Us




Windows 10 Forums