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  1.    07 Aug 2016 #1
    Join Date : Dec 2013
    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 10,188
    Windows 10 IoT

    Activation switched from "with product key" to "with Digital License"


    After doing the upgrade from Windows 10 Education 1511 to 1607, Settings > Update & security > Activation, switched from "activated with a product key" to Activated with a Digital License".
    Activation has changed with the upgrade to 1607.
    To clarify what I'm talking about I'll add some info.
    I originally installed Windows 10 Education 1511 with my MSDN Retail key. Settings > Update & security > Activation would show "Activated with a Product key" and show the last 5 digits of the key I used to activate it.
    After it upgrading to 1607 via Windows update, it now says "Activated with a digital License tied to your Microsoft account". It has switched to a Digital license?

    As a test, I did clean install of Windows 10 Education 1511 on a PC that never had that version installed on it. I did a " I don't have a key" option and it installed and showed as not activated.
    I then entered one of my Retail MSDN keys and activated it. It then showed as "Activated with a product code" in Settings > Update & security > Activation.
    I then did a clean install on that same PC, with a " I don't have a key" option and it showed as not activated. If it had a DL it would have activated automatically.
    I then entered my MSDN key and activated it. It showed activated with a product key as before. To me that indicates it does not have a digital entitlement.
    As one last test, I installed windows 10 Education 1511 with a skip key, then upgraded to 1607, and it still showed as not activated, this PC does not have a digital license.

    I was told by another forum member that any activation of Windows 10 will get you a digital license, and that's its always been that way. Which, as far as I can tell, is not true.
    The PC I'm referring too, was activated twice with Windows 10 1511 but still shows as unactivated on a clean install of 1511 and 1607.
    All installs being switched to a digital license only happened with the release of the anniversary edition. Before that Retail installs stayed as activated with a product key.

    If anybody has upgraded from a retail install of Windows 10 1511, I would be very interested to know what , Settings > Update & security > Activation shows for you?
    Doesn't matter if its Home, Pro etc? My keys were Retail keys.
    Last edited by alphanumeric; 08 Aug 2016 at 06:42. Reason: Clarification
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    07 Aug 2016 #2
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    NW Florida
    Posts : 9,232
    Windows 10 Enterprise and Pro/Windows 7 Enterprise/Linux Mint

    I don't know if this helps, but both of these were activated with MSDN keys then upgraded later to 14393

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      My ComputersSystem Spec
  3.    07 Aug 2016 #3
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    NW Florida
    Posts : 9,232
    Windows 10 Enterprise and Pro/Windows 7 Enterprise/Linux Mint

    BTW< when I first upgraded, neither one showed a digital License. At some point later, it changed to what you see now.
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  4.    07 Aug 2016 #4
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 9,141
    Windows 10 Pro

    This webpage has been updated to reflect what is new with version 1607 of Windows 10:
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/...-10-activation

    It clearly states that if your Windows 10 is activated with a retail product key, then you get a digital license in return. The unanswered question is whether or not that digital license is stored on Microsoft activation servers based upon installation ID or whether the user must re-enter their retail product key on a new clean install. The answer to that question would be to do a clean re-install the version 1607 Windows 10 Education edition in the OP and skip entering the product key and see if it activated automatically online - or if the product key will be required to be entered to obtain activation.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    08 Aug 2016 #5
    Join Date : Dec 2015
    Posts : 5,369
    Windows10

    The interesting section is the section on reinstalling OS. Originally it had two statements which basically said:-

    1) digital licence activations did not need a key to reinstall.

    2) prouduct key activations did need a key to reinstall (automatic for preinstalled oem 10).

    What is interesting is the second paragraph no longer exists.

    So either the webpage is wrong (paragraph omitted by mistake which seems highly unlikely), or it has been removed.

    Removal could be for two reasons

    a) it was always incorrect, and new version rectifies that.

    b) something has changed ie retail product key licences are now given digital licences (it is possible they always did but we did not know - see 1 above). This would make sense as it would mean you would be able to use new tool to transfer a retail licence to new pc rather than needed to enter old key (or worse use telephone activation).

    An interesting test would be to see if you get same digital licence message if you used a Windows 10 OEM licence - I am betting you do not as oem licences are not transferrable.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  6.    08 Aug 2016 #6
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    Penns Forrest
    Posts : 3,506
    Win_8.1-Pro, Win_10.1607-Pro, Mint_17.3

    Activated with a digital License tied to your Microsoft account

    It's autoMagic!

    Linking Windows 10 licenses to Microsoft Accounts - gHacks Tech News
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  7.    08 Aug 2016 #7
    Join Date : Dec 2015
    Posts : 5,369
    Windows10

    Quote Originally Posted by Slartybart View Post
    Activated with a digital License tied to your Microsoft account

    It's autoMagic!

    Linking Windows 10 licenses to Microsoft Accounts - gHacks Tech News
    This is good stuff and covered in the tutorial section.

    However OP was querying that an installation activated with a windows 10 product key now seems to have a digital licence (as well?).
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  8.    08 Aug 2016 #8
    Join Date : Dec 2013
    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 10,188
    Windows 10 IoT
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
    This webpage has been updated to reflect what is new with version 1607 of Windows 10:
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/...-10-activation

    It clearly states that if your Windows 10 is activated with a retail product key, then you get a digital license in return. The unanswered question is whether or not that digital license is stored on Microsoft activation servers based upon installation ID or whether the user must re-enter their retail product key on a new clean install. The answer to that question would be to do a clean re-install the version 1607 Windows 10 Education edition in the OP and skip entering the product key and see if it activated automatically online - or if the product key will be required to be entered to obtain activation.
    I did that after seeing that it switched to DL. I did a clean install of Education 1607 and clicked "I do not have a product key" and it activated with a DL. The product key in use shown by showkey is different from the one I originally used to originally activate it with. It appears to me it now has DL tied to the PC.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  9.    08 Aug 2016 #9
    Join Date : Dec 2013
    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 10,188
    Windows 10 IoT
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by essenbe View Post
    BTW< when I first upgraded, neither one showed a digital License. At some point later, it changed to what you see now.
    Mine were all non insider installs. I only noticed it because I was using Education. There is no free upgrade to the Education so no Digital Entitlement was ever issued for it. Up until now. Up until 1607 the only way I could activate Education was with my MSDN key. If I did a skip key it wouldn't activate. Then I'd have to go hunt up my key and enter it manually. All my PC's now have DE's for 10 Pro, some have 10 Home DE too. And now some also have Education DE.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  10.    08 Aug 2016 #10
    Join Date : Dec 2013
    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 10,188
    Windows 10 IoT
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by cereberus View Post
    This is good stuff and covered in the tutorial section.

    However OP was querying that an installation activated with a windows 10 product key now seems to have a digital licence (as well?).
    Exactly. Things have changed with 1607.

    I have one PC here that has never been upgraded to 1607 and activated. If I install Education 1511 on it and do a skip key, it will not activate. Even though Education 1511 has already been activated on it, twice. Both times it showed activated with a product code. So this PC does not have a digital license for Education. Not yet. I have purposely avoided activating 1607 on that PC. I even upgraded from the unactivated 1511 to 1607 and 1607 showed unactivated.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 
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