Windows 10: How Many Hardware Changes Before Activation Fails?

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  1.    13 Nov 2017 #1

    How Many Hardware Changes Before Activation Fails?


    I've been experimenting installing Windows 10 FCU on an old 2004 PC (see System 2 spec).

    I originally installed a cheap Windows 7 licence then did an in place upgrade to Windows 10 which is activated with a digital licence linked to my MS account.

    I then found some cheap RAM to increase the memory from 2GB to 4GB and replaced the HDD with a cheap SSD. Windows is still activated. I've also found a cheap CPU upgrade for the same motherboard. Do you think Windows will stay activated if I upgrade the CPU or am I pushing my luck?

    I read somewhere the PC's activation signature is determined from the licence code and hardware configuration. Is the hardware configuration always referenced to the initial installation of Windows 10 or is it amended as you make changes to the hardware?
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  2.    13 Nov 2017 #2

    From mine and other peoples testing, it seem there is a limit of three times a digital licence can be transferred.

    However, if original 7 key is full retail (unlikely if cheap), you can install windows 7 an unlimited number of times (only on one pc at a time), but will need to use telephone activation periodically.

    Once windows 7 licence is transferred to a new pc, you can install windows 10 and use windows 7 key to activate.

    EDIT - memory and ssd do changes do not count. A CPU change provided mobo is unchanges should not count but I have heard conflicting stories.
    Last edited by cereberus; 13 Nov 2017 at 04:25.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  3. Posts : 38,043
    Dual boot Windows 10 FCU Pro x 64 & current Insider 10 Pro
       13 Nov 2017 #3

    I can't tell you exactly when it ceases to activate, but your gradual changes seem to be working to amend the footprint. I'd imagine a drastic change like a new MoBo would cease to activate.

    You may want to read through this thread: New motherboard Processor - Windows 10 Forums

    Then there's always Activation troubleshooter.

    Use Activation Troubleshooter in Windows 10 Installation Upgrade Tutorials
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  4.    13 Nov 2017 #4

    HippsieGypsie said: View Post
    I can't tell you exactly when it ceases to activate, but your gradual changes seem to be working to amend the footprint. I'd imagine a drastic change like a new MoBo would cease to activate.

    You may want to read through this thread: New motherboard Processor - Windows 10 Forums

    Then there's always Activation troubleshooter.

    Use Activation Troubleshooter in Windows 10 Installation Upgrade Tutorials
    Thanks. I guess I'll try upgrading the CPU and see what happens. The unknown factor is whether the 'footprint' is fixed the first time you activate Windows 10 or whether the 'footprint' is modified by MS as you change the hardware.
      My ComputersSystem Spec


  5. Posts : 38,043
    Dual boot Windows 10 FCU Pro x 64 & current Insider 10 Pro
       13 Nov 2017 #5

    Steve C said: View Post
    Thanks. I guess I'll try upgrading the CPU and see what happens. The unknown factor is whether the 'footprint' is fixed the first time you activate Windows 10 or whether the 'footprint' is modified by MS as you change the hardware.
    Yes, that all remains a mystery as to how they keep record of the footprint vs the digital license. Of course they'll guard it a secret for piracy purposes I'd imagine.

    Please let us know how it goes?
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  6.    15 Nov 2017 #6

    I 'upgraded' the CPU to a really cheap AMD Athlon 64 x2 4200 I found on eBay. It works fine and gives a substantial performance boost. During the past week I've increased the RAM from 2 to 4 GB, replaced the HDD with a basic SSD and changed the CPU. Windows 10 remains activated with a digital licence. I was going to retire this old PC but it actually works quite well in Windows 10 after a minor hardware investment.

    I'm might experiment installing Windows 7 64 bit dual boot since my original licence was for Windows 7. Am I pushing my luck expecting both Windows versions to activate on the same PC?
      My ComputersSystem Spec


  7. Posts : 38,043
    Dual boot Windows 10 FCU Pro x 64 & current Insider 10 Pro
       15 Nov 2017 #7

    Good to hear, Steve.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  8.    15 Nov 2017 #8

    Steve C said: View Post
    I'm might experiment installing Windows 7 64 bit dual boot since my original licence was for Windows 7. Am I pushing my luck expecting both Windows versions to activate on the same PC?
    That action very specifically violates the End Users License Agreement:
    d. Multi use scenarios.
    (i) Multiple versions. If when acquiring the software you were provided with multiple versions (such as 32-bit and 64-bit versions), you may install and activate only one of those versions at a time.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    16 Nov 2017 #9

    NavyLCDR said: View Post
    That action very specifically violates the End Users License Agreement:
    d. Multi use scenarios.
    (i) Multiple versions. If when acquiring the software you were provided with multiple versions (such as 32-bit and 64-bit versions), you may install and activate only one of those versions at a time.
    I thought I might be OK with the activation since I can only use one OS at a time on the same PC. I don't want to screw up the Windows 10 activation which I'll mainly use so I bought another really cheap Windows 7 key.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  10.    16 Nov 2017 #10

    Steve C said: View Post
    I thought I might be OK with the activation since I can only use one OS at a time on the same PC. I don't want to screw up the Windows 10 activation which I'll mainly use so I bought another really cheap Windows 7 key.
    What Microsoft will physically allow with no problems at all is a completely different subject than what violates the EULA or not. I have multiple licenses for Windows due to purchasing a 3 license family pack a while back and then subsequently upgrading those computers to new, off the shelf computers with their own OEM licenses for Windows. I'm running multiple copies of Windows on one computer - but the thing is with the new digital licensing for Windows 10, my multiple copies of Windows installed on the same computer have no unique product keys associated with them. They have now all been clean installs at some time in the past which were done by skipping the product key and then activated with the digital license that was first created from upgrades from Windows 7 and 8 installs.

    Multiple copies of Windows on the same computer will not cause any activation problems at all and they can all be activated with just the digital license stored on MS Activation Servers. But in order to comply with the EULA, I have a listing of my retail product keys stored in a text file, each product key represents either 1 license for Windows, and a couple of the product keys represent a 3-pack family license for Windows. But Microsoft does not even treat the 3-pack family license product key any different, when I was using it for the Windows 7 it was meant for, I still had to call MS to activate Windows 7 and lie to them and tell them it was installed on only one computer even though I was in full compliance with the EULA to have it installed on up to three computers.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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