Windows 10: Windows is activated by a digital license

  1.    01 Jan 2017 #1

    Windows is activated by a digital license


    Hello,
    I have a Dreamspark's Windows 10 multiple edition key which is retail.
    I installed it for the first time on a new laptop and its status was "Windowa is activated.".
    I had to return the new computer because it was faulty, and got a new one. I dont know what Lenovo did with my older one which had the Windows key on it.
    Anyway, I installed Windows 10 using the same key but now the status is "Windows is activated by a digital license".
    Can someone tell me what caused the change and what are the differences? What about validity issues - is digital license need to be confirmed in Microsoft database once in a while?
    Thanks
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2.    01 Jan 2017 #2

    You shouldn't now need the key- your license activation is now registered with MS. I suppose what is interesting is that your new PC is accepted so readily despite having a completely different MBO etc.

    Thus you are free to reinstall Win 10 on the same PC as many times as you like without the need to re-enter a key.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3.    01 Jan 2017 #3

    dalchina said: View Post
    You shouldn't now need the key- your license activation is now registered with MS. I suppose what is interesting is that your new PC is accepted so readily despite having a completely different MBO etc.

    Thus you are free to reinstall Win 10 on the same PC as many times as you like without the need to re-enter a key.
    OP installed windows 10 on new pc using his retail key which is perfectly normal and no different from previous versions of windows. It did not activate automatically. You can normally reinstall retail keys on new pcs up to five times before it gets temporarily blocked, requiring telephone activation.

    Re. digital licence, this is new since version 1607 which now automatically creates a digital licence for product key installs whereas previously the older versions did not.

    The plus point, is it is no longer necessary to provide a key when reinstalling on same pc as you say.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4.    06 Jan 2017 #4

    Same thing happened to me when upgrading Windows 10 Education to the Anniversary Edition. Prior to that, it showed as "Activated with a Product key". After upgrading to the AU it switched to "Activated with a Digital License". Prior to that I had to enter a product key to activate, now I can do a skip key and it will activate. It was originally installed with one of my MSDN Retail keys. IMHO, it was accidentally on purpose. I don't think I should have gotten a DL, but I'll take it anyway. My advice is, don't worry about it.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5.    08 Jan 2017 #5

    alphanumeric said: View Post
    Same thing happened to me when upgrading Windows 10 Education to the Anniversary Edition. Prior to that, it showed as "Activated with a Product key". After upgrading to the AU it switched to "Activated with a Digital License". Prior to that I had to enter a product key to activate, now I can do a skip key and it will activate. It was originally installed with one of my MSDN Retail keys. IMHO, it was accidentally on purpose. I don't think I should have gotten a DL, but I'll take it anyway. My advice is, don't worry about it.
    As I said in my earlier post, this is a change since 1607 came out. We all get a digital licence now.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6.    08 Jan 2017 #6

    @cereberus, @alphanumeric

    Hey M, alpha

    I know you guys are as interested as me in exploring this... just wonder why a completely new PC would get a DL... MSA related?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7.    08 Jan 2017 #7

    Superfly said: View Post
    @cereberus, @alphanumeric

    Hey M, alpha

    I know you guys are as interested as me in exploring this... just wonder why a completely new PC would get a DL... MSA related?
    I really think it is as simple as when any pc gets activated for the first time now with version 1607, you get a digital licence.

    I am guessing :-

    when you install it, it first checks you have a digital licence and if it does not find one, it requires a product key (which would be bios embedded in many cases and found automatically. It would then verify if key is valid and then give a digital licence.

    This is the mechanism used during free upgrade to clean install 10 using 7/8 key in 1511. I assume they have just extended the mechanism to include windows 10 keys as well as 7/8 keys in 1607.

    Indeed the 1511 MS activation help webpage used to say you need to re-enter product key if you reinstalled Windows if you originally used a windows 10 key, but you could skip it if you upgraded and had a digital licence (or bought a 10 digital licence from MS Store).

    The 1607 webpage no longer says that and simply says to reinstall not requiring a product key.

    Inescapable conclusion is all 1607 windows 10 installs now get a digital licence upon initial activation.

    I had a spare home licence - started a new VM, entered key, and used MS account - hey presto immediately got a digital licence. I assume same applies if you buy a new pc - only difference is as key is bios embedded, it does not need to be entered.

    In fact, I am not sure there is even product key activation anymore in the traditional sense. With Windows 8, if you had a retail key, you could use it on a new pc, and use slui /4 (telephone activation) to transfer licence to new pc.

    The key 😁 question is whether the old system is still used as well as digital licence. Previously MS kept a record of the licence key and knew which pc it was on, as you could get a message saying key is in use on another pc.

    So do they bother keeping these records anymore as they have a record of the digital licence tied to mobo id on new servers? I am guessing they do or else it is hard to see how you could stop somebody just installing it on multiple pcs, if no record of key being used?

    Of course we could test this (not going to say how publicly for obvious reasons).
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8.    08 Jan 2017 #8

    I have limited resources for testing. All my real hardware (PC's) already have multiple Digital Licenses for Home, Pro, and Education. Some were by accident, some the result of testing etc. I'm limited to VM's now. And that's something I don't do a whole lot of. It's just not my thing. I wouldn't have noticed the change if I hadn't installed the Education version. It's excluded from the free upgrade offer and used a key for install. Well it did, prior to the AU anyway. The only other version I have ever used was Enterprise and that uses VL/MAK keys and will never get a DL. I switched from that to Education because Education had normal Retail keys. Anyway, we got dumped on snow wise last night and its just changing to Rain so its time to get the snow blower out and clean things up before it becomes slush or freezes into cement. Back in an hour or 2 or 3, lol.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


 

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