Windows 10: Windows 10 activation woes. Can anybody help? Solved

  1.    17 Jan 2016 #1

    Windows 10 activation woes. Can anybody help?


    Okay, this is somewhat convoluted but I'll try to explain it as clearly as I can...

    My old (self-built) PC was running Windows 8.1 Pro which was itself an upgrade from Windows 8 Pro and purchased direct from Microsoft when the OS was first released. A while back I upgraded the PC to Windows 10 Pro and activated it without issue. It has been happily running Windows 10 Pro for a month or two.

    In early January I built a new PC and installed Windows 10 Pro (November Update) on it. Even though it was all new hardware I was able to activate it using my Windows 8 Pro key. I gather Microsoft added this convenient feature in the November Update which meant I didn't have to install Windows 8.1 Pro first and then upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. The old PC was disconnected and no longer in use. It's HDD was removed and erased.

    All was fine until I decided to give the motherboard, CPU and RAM from my old PC to my son. These parts were used to build a PC for him and Windows 10 Home was installed on it as an upgrade from Windows 7 Home Premium (which he already owned). His machine activated with no problems.

    Shortly afterwards, out of nowhere, my new PC declared itself no longer activated and will no longer accept my key. The error message is that it is being used on another PC, which it most certainly isn't - it was but it isn't now! Now, I can see how Microsoft's activation servers could get confused with this hardware 'musical chairs' but how do I fix it, if indeed that's the cause of the problem?

    I have phoned support and they told me that the solution was to go back to Windows 8.1 Pro on my new PC and activate it first before upgrading to Windows 10 Pro. Well, I tried that but it won't even activate Windows 8.1; instead I get the same error message - that the key is already in use on another PC.

    I daresay that sorting this out will involve more phone calls to Microsoft but if anyone can offer any other ideas or insight I'd be most grateful.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  2. Posts : 4,765
    windows 10 Home threshold2
       17 Jan 2016 #2

    I am in no way an expert in this particular subject.
    One thing I know for sure is.......................
    Motherboard is the computer. You switch mobo, you switch to a new computer.

    The Win 8 Pro key is embedded in bios which resides in the Mobo.
    Your son is now using it. Therefore the product Win 8 Pro product key is considered "in use', although your son was using his Win 7 key to activate his pc.
    To MS , it makes no difference. Your son is using the mobo where the Win 8 Pro key resides, therefore the Win 8 Pro key is "in use".
    Your Win 8 Pro is an OEM version. OEM key is not transferrable, it lives and dies with the original mobo.

    I could be way off wrong. But that is how I understand it.
    Last edited by davidhk; 17 Jan 2016 at 11:19.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    17 Jan 2016 #3

    Okay, Microsoft came to the rescue. After a couple of unhelpful telephone conversations I went for the online chat option. Having explained the situation the assistant was able to grant me a Windows 10 Pro key for the new PC.

    For the record, my Windows 8 Pro key is retail not OEM so it should not be tied to the old motherboard. Indeed it's been used across a couple of systems with no issues up to now. Thanks nonetheless for your feedback.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  4. Posts : 4,765
    windows 10 Home threshold2
       17 Jan 2016 #4

    I have misinterpreted that your Win 8 Pro was an OEM.

    Thanks for the follow-up.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    17 Jan 2016 #5

    Whilst this started out as a major headache I must give credit to Microsoft for ultimately providing a solution that fixed the problem quickly and simply. Thank goodness for that!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    17 Jan 2016 #6

    wiggly1uk2000 said: View Post
    Okay, this is somewhat convoluted but I'll try to explain it as clearly as I can...

    My old (self-built) PC was running Windows 8.1 Pro which was itself an upgrade from Windows 8 Pro and purchased direct from Microsoft when the OS was first released. A while back I upgraded the PC to Windows 10 Pro and activated it without issue. It has been happily running Windows 10 Pro for a month or two.

    In early January I built a new PC and installed Windows 10 Pro (November Update) on it. Even though it was all new hardware I was able to activate it using my Windows 8 Pro key. I gather Microsoft added this convenient feature in the November Update which meant I didn't have to install Windows 8.1 Pro first and then upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. The old PC was disconnected and no longer in use. It's HDD was removed and erased.

    All was fine until I decided to give the motherboard, CPU and RAM from my old PC to my son. These parts were used to build a PC for him and Windows 10 Home was installed on it as an upgrade from Windows 7 Home Premium (which he already owned). His machine activated with no problems.

    Shortly afterwards, out of nowhere, my new PC declared itself no longer activated and will no longer accept my key. The error message is that it is being used on another PC, which it most certainly isn't - it was but it isn't now! Now, I can see how Microsoft's activation servers could get confused with this hardware 'musical chairs' but how do I fix it, if indeed that's the cause of the problem?

    I have phoned support and they told me that the solution was to go back to Windows 8.1 Pro on my new PC and activate it first before upgrading to Windows 10 Pro. Well, I tried that but it won't even activate Windows 8.1; instead I get the same error message - that the key is already in use on another PC.

    I daresay that sorting this out will involve more phone calls to Microsoft but if anyone can offer any other ideas or insight I'd be most grateful.
    Glad you sorted your issue, but for future reference for other posters, when you installed 8.1 PRO on new PC, you often get a message OS is in use elsewhere.

    What you do then is to use telephone activation declaring this is your only PC that it will be installed on, and then it will be activated on new PC.

    Had you done this, you would not have needed a new key.

    As it happens, you have now been given a free Windows 10 key anyway, courtesy of MS.

    Whether you could reuse your 8.1 key on another PC is an interesting issue (my GUESS is legally yes as you are not violating EULA as far as I can see, but definitely not morally of course)!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    17 Jan 2016 #7

    Useful information, thanks. I doubt I'll ever go back to Windows 8.1 now but it's good to know that I can if I want to. I certainly wouldn't be inclined to install it on a second computer just to see what happens.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 

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