Windows 10: Activation says linked to your Microsoft account, how do you sell it?

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  1.    12 Nov 2017 #1

    Activation says linked to your Microsoft account, how do you sell it?


    Simply seems ridiculous or so to say that since what If I give the PC away or sell it, how will it be managed by the new owner?
    I can log into my Microsoft account online, and view my devices, and their location and all sorts of other info about the OS.
    A new owner wont want that. They will want it to show it as theirs.

    If the old owner wont deal with it, how does the new owner make it theirs so that MS knows it to be so?, versus it being stolen. Someone could steal it and claim they are now the owner.

    I wonder how many win10 users know MS tracks a lot of info online about their PC? And that the owner linked to the PC can manage a few things about the device online?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2. Barman58's Avatar
    Posts : 2,783
    Windows 10 Pro x64 1803 - 17134.5 XP/Vista/Win7/Win8.1 in VM for testing
       12 Nov 2017 #2

    How to manage Windows 10 devices from your Microsoft account | Windows Central shows how to manage the account to delete the device from your account

    to prepare for sale Install a fresh copy of the OS and create a local admin account - sell at this stage.

    You can use specialist techniques to have the install stop prior to setting the first user, As is seen with PCs from the large OEMs

    The licence is set for the life of the system and is not transferrable to other systems, ( some exceptions at Microsoft's discretion), I'm not sure if the licence for windows is transferrable to a new owner of the hardware, if this is the case than you would need to sell the hardware only without an OS.

    Edit Just checked and from what I can see as long as you remove the device from the microsoft account, before you reinstall the licence should remain with the hardware and thus be usable by a new owner.
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  3.    12 Nov 2017 #3

    Agree with what Barman58 posted. It's not linked to your Microsoft Account forever. Clean install Windows, give that PC a different ID, log in with a local account. Or just stop the install at the OOBE like he said. Then just delete that device from your list of devices under your Microsoft Account. When the new owner logs in with their Microsoft ID it will be linked to their account. The linked to your Microsoft account is just an extra feature, it doesn't affect activation. I can, and have logged in with a local account on a clean install and my PC activates with its digital license just fine. Its not listed under my devices, but that no big deal to me. As soon as I log in with my Microsoft ID it appears again.
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  4.    12 Nov 2017 #4

    The actual license for Windows 10 is stored on Microsoft Activation servers based upon a unique Hardware ID calculated for that specific computer (actually, the motherboard itself). The link created to that license is simply created by logging in with the Microsoft Account login on that computer.

    When you sell the computer - there is really nothing that you can do to remove the digital license for Windows 10 that is stored on Microsoft Activation servers, and the same version of Windows 10 on that computer will always re-activate based on that digital license and the Hardware ID - not the link to the MS Account.

    As they stated above - once your user account, and your MS Account login is removed from that computer - you can break the link between your MS Account and the digital license stored on MS Activation Servers by removing the device from your MS Account.
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  5. Barman58's Avatar
    Posts : 2,783
    Windows 10 Pro x64 1803 - 17134.5 XP/Vista/Win7/Win8.1 in VM for testing
       12 Nov 2017 #5

    The stated Added value for logging in with a MS account is the fact that all the Modern Apps (or whatever they're called this week) will work without password/login requests and, more Importantly, If you ever have to replace your Motherboard this is far easier to re-activate than with just a Local account ( not data on how many times this is allowed)
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    12 Nov 2017 #6

    @ NavyLCDR , that opens a can of worms for me. Take my spare desktop PC for example. Along with the free upgrade to 10 Pro, it also has DL's for Home, Education, Enterprise, 10 S etc. Most activated originally with my MSDN keys. If I sell it the new owner can basically install any edition of Windows 10 on it and it will activate with a DL. So what happens when I reuse those MSDN keys on its replacement. Or do those keys all go with that PC? Not really looking for an answer, just pointing out a potential flaw in the "every PC gets a DL' present situation. I'll likely never sell that PC, nobody would buy it lol. I'd likely just give it away.
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  7.    12 Nov 2017 #7

    alphanumeric said: View Post
    @ NavyLCDR , that opens a can of worms for me. Take my spare desktop PC for example. Along with the free upgrade to 10 Pro, it also has DL's for Home, Education, Enterprise, 10 S etc. Most activated originally with my MSDN keys. If I sell it the new owner can basically install any edition of Windows 10 on it and it will activate with a DL. So what happens when I reuse those MSDN keys on its replacement. Or do those keys all go with that PC? Not really looking for an answer, just pointing out a potential flaw in the "every PC gets a DL' present situation. I'll likely never sell that PC, nobody would buy it lol. I'd likely just give it away.
    That's not really your problem now, it's Microsoft's problem. Experimentation by myself and other members of this forum have shown that once the digital license is obtained for that computer, MS is pretty much ignoring the product key it originally came from. With their current activation scheme, the product key is not used to actually activate Windows. It is used to obtain the initial digital license. MS will allow you to use the same product key to obtain multiple digital licenses for Windows because they have to (retail transfer ability must still be retained and honored). Now - Microsoft does track how often and how many times a product key is used to obtain the initial digital licenses and at some point if you use the product key enough times within a certain period of time it will no longer activate the first time automatically online and you have to call MS and either say the product key is only installed on one computer at a time - or explain to them the situation that caused you to use the product key repeatedly so often.

    What helps is the ability to re-install Windows without entering a product key after the digital license is obtained - which is exactly what will happen with a new owner of that PC - as long as you remove your product key from the computer and do not forward it with the computer. It seems as if, via experimentation, that an install of Windows without a product key entered does not cause a "hit" against the product key that was first used to get the digital license.

    If I were going to give away or sell one of my computers, I would either sell it without Windows installed or maybe with a new install of the lowest edition of Windows it had a digital license for without entering a product key, and either sell it stating "digital license for Windows 10 Home established for this computer" or no OS included. Let the new owner figure out what versions of Windows 10 will activate on it or not.
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  8.    12 Nov 2017 #8

    One thing I am very careful about is keeping track of what key I used on what PC. Even with Digital Licences. I only ever use one of my Retail MSDN keys on the one PC. If I have to install the same Edition on a different PC I use a different key. The only exception is the MAK keys. I don't lose a whole lot of sleep over this to be honest. It just makes me wonder "what were they thinking?" Especially giving Enterprise a DL, really?
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  9. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 15,009
    Windows 10 Pro
       12 Nov 2017 #9

    Barman58 said: View Post
    to prepare for sale Install a fresh copy of the OS and create a local admin account - sell at this stage.

    You can use specialist techniques to have the install stop prior to setting the first user, As is seen with PCs from the large OEMs
    No need to create any user accounts.

    Step 1.) Clean install Windows 10, the same edition you are currently using and which is digitally licensed. Be sure to delete all existing partitions and install to unallocated space!

    Step 2.) When you arrive to region selection screen, press SHIFT + F10 (press and hold SHIFT key, press F10 key and release both keys). This will open Command Prompt:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Step 3.) Enter following command and press Enter to shut down PC:

    shutdown -s -t 0 -f

    Click image for larger version. 

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    That's it. PC will be shut down, when the new owner will power on it first time it will be like a first boot of a new computer, letting new owner to select region and keyboard, set up user account and select privacy options.

    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    12 Nov 2017 #10

    There is an interesting legal angle here. If you wish to change your licence from old pc you are selling to a new one, then you are required by eula to remove windows 10 from old pc.

    If you leave windows 10 on old pc, you need a new licence.

    It is not your problem if user later installs windows and it activates due to the digital licence. That will not affect your key or new installation.

    @Kari was right about how to set uo windows for a new owner, but may have missed the legal point that you are required to remove windows altogether if you wish to retain your licence on that pc.

    Best way to do that is to boot from Windows 10 installation drive, and press shift+F10 to get to command prompt.

    Then type

    diskpart

    select disk 0 (assuming only one drive)

    clean all (all takes a lot longer but wipes all info so it cannot be recovered).

    exit

    exit

    Then pc is fully wiped, and no links to your MS account etc. Then you are leagally 100% in compliance with EULA.

    When new owner installs Windows 10, assuming same version, he gets a nice surprise.

    Is his installation legal?

    Well, if you kept both pcs and did above, then that is most definitely illegal as you never wiped first pc.

    But new owner acted in good faith and it just activated. He has not used any illegal techniques. MS would have great difficulty in proving this was piracy. In reality, they would never find out.

    So in simple terms, wipe pc and DO NOT reinstall Windows if you want to ensure 100% compliance with EULA.

    In reality, installing it as @Kari says is no real risk though and makes you look like a nice guy. You tell user he would need to use his own key, and when he phones you saying it activated automatically, you shrug your shoulders and tell him how lucky he is. Under no circumstance, tell him it will activate of course!
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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