Activation of an OEM version after changing the mainboard.

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  1. Matthew Wai's Avatar
    Posts : 4,998
    Windows 10 Home 20H2
       #1

    Activation of an OEM version after changing the mainboard.


    On another forum (in Chinese), a member said that his OEM version of Windows 10 had been activated after the mainboard was changed. A screenshot of that was shown there. And he had not used this method: Use Activation Troubleshooter in Windows 10 Windows 10 Installation Upgrade Tutorials .
    Is it possible that Microsoft has unofficially loosened the restrictions on OEM versions?
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  2. alphanumeric's Avatar
    Posts : 14,060
    Windows 10 IoT
       #2

    Windows 10 Factory OEM motherboards have the product code embedded in the BIOS. So in theory, swapping the motherboard with an OEM replacement that has an embedded key, should activate fine. It would get a new Digital license for the new motherboard. If you had used a system builders OEM version, where you manually enter the product code to activate, you would have to use the troubleshooter to re activate.
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  3. lx07's Avatar
    Posts : 5,479
    2004
       #3

    alphanumeric said:
    Windows 10 Factory OEM motherboards have the product code embedded in the BIOS.
    Are you sure? Is there such a thing as a "Windows 10 Factory OEM board"?

    Perhaps you are thinking of a Windows 8 laptop. In any case most, perhaps all, Windows 10 certified machines start via EFI not BIOS.

    In this case what does "embedded" mean? It certainly isn't "embedded" in any "BIOS" and presentation of a key is not part of the EFI standards. Windows will boot and MS will validate the license when connected to the net.

    To answer the original question; yes, it seems transfer of OEM is more relaxed than it was.
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  4. swarfega's Avatar
    Posts : 7,084
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
       #4

    I thought the point of OEM keys was they were tied to the specific hardware they're first activated on.
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  5. lx07's Avatar
    Posts : 5,479
    2004
       #5

    swarfega said:
    I thought the point of OEM keys was they were tied to the specific hardware they're first activated on.
    Yes. But if you phone them (or use the transfer tutorial here) MS are more relaxed about it than they were in the past.

    That is, if you are moving your own OEM license they seem more than happy to activate it for you on new hardware.

    Perhaps that is because I'm European where resale of OEM is legal in any case - I don't know. You would need some feedback from people in a country with more restrictive laws.
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  6. alphanumeric's Avatar
    Posts : 14,060
    Windows 10 IoT
       #6

    lx07 said:
    Are you sure? Is there such a thing as a "Windows 10 Factory OEM board"?

    Perhaps you are thinking of a Windows 8 laptop. In any case most, perhaps all, Windows 10 certified machines start via EFI not BIOS.

    In this case what does "embedded" mean? It certainly isn't "embedded" in any "BIOS" and presentation of a key is not part of the EFI standards. Windows will boot and MS will validate the license when connected to the net.

    To answer the original question; yes, it seems transfer of OEM is more relaxed than it was.
    I'm assuming Windows 10 OEM motherboards will have an embedded key. I see no reason why they wouldn't. I could be wrong, don't think so though. My ASUS laptop has a Windows 8 embedded key, and its UEFI. The key is permanently stored in the BIOS and is not alterable. You can't change it or remove it. Windows 8 and Windows 10 install media read it automatically during install. I get 10 Home automatically with no prompt for a key or any prompt to select if I want Home or Pro. To override that auto key read I have to use a PID.txt file with a pro key in it.
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  7. alphanumeric's Avatar
    Posts : 14,060
    Windows 10 IoT
       #7

    My personal opinion is the activation troubleshooter was setup so you could transfer your licence in the event that your OEM motherboard had to be replaced due to a failure. The replacement would have a different OEM embedded key, or maybe no embedded key. Its a valid reason to use the trouble shooter to re activate that PC. That being said, Microsoft is being lenient in how its being used so as not to overcomplicate things. Thus your able to use it to transfer to new hardware.
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  8. alphanumeric's Avatar
    Posts : 14,060
    Windows 10 IoT
       #8

    Originally, with Windows 8, if a factory OEM embedded key is detected, its used by default. The PC would then activate with that key. It would be activated with that specific key. The OEM embedded keys are unique to the PC, no two are the same.

    With Windows 10, it started out the same way. My laptop would show as "activated with a product key" on the Settings Activation screen. That all changed with the Digital License. Now it shows as activated with a Digital License and it has the same generic product code that all 10 Pro installs have.

    From what I have seen posted here on Ten Forums. It looks like Windows 10 OEM PC's have the embedded key, and initially activate with that key. Then get a DL.
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  9. NavyLCDR's Avatar
    Posts : 15,492
    Windows 10 Pro
       #9

    lx07 said:
    Are you sure? Is there such a thing as a "Windows 10 Factory OEM board"?

    Perhaps you are thinking of a Windows 8 laptop. In any case most, perhaps all, Windows 10 certified machines start via EFI not BIOS.

    In this case what does "embedded" mean? It certainly isn't "embedded" in any "BIOS" and presentation of a key is not part of the EFI standards. Windows will boot and MS will validate the license when connected to the net.

    To answer the original question; yes, it seems transfer of OEM is more relaxed than it was.
    Computers with Windows 10 from the manufacturer will have the product key embedded and provided by the UEFI firmware. The only Certificate of Authenticity sticker will be just a logo sticker without a product key printed because the product key is in the UEFI firmware.
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  10. Matthew Wai's Avatar
    Posts : 4,998
    Windows 10 Home 20H2
    Thread Starter
       #10

    alphanumeric said:
    Windows 10 Factory OEM motherboards have the product code embedded in the BIOS. So in theory, swapping the motherboard with an OEM replacement that has an embedded key, should activate fine.
    The computer in question is an assembled one rather than a branded one.
    The mainboard, the CPU, the display card, and the RAM stick(s) have all been replaced.
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