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Previous Windows product key and license - post W10 upgrade?


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#1 jonuk76

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 11:14 PM

I've seen it implied that if you upgrade your OS to Windows 10 (from 7 or 8.1) that the product key of your old OS (whatever you've upgraded from) becomes invalidated? I also understand that there is some kind of hardware authentication so that if you ever have to do a clean install of Windows 10, you can do so, but that it will be activated based on a "fingerprint" of the hardware stored by MS?

 

Are those points correct?

 

Now, something that concerns me, is if you had a Full Retail operating system (not OEM) prior to upgrading, you would have been able to move this from one system to another.  As long as you only ever had it installed and in use on one PC at a time, you could transfer the OS.  This is not just a theoretical benefit, it's something I've done many times, and why I would normally go for retail rather than OEM packs.

 

Does anyone know how this could work following upgrading?  If the old OS's product key is invalidated, presumably it won't activate and therefore it would also not be possible to upgrade it to Windows 10.  But if you want to transfer to new hardware, there will be no record of the system ever having been authenticated previously.  At this point, will you be required to buy a new license?? 

 

Apologies if this has been covered, and thanks for any definitive info!


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#2 NickAu

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 11:21 PM

Hi Jon long time no see.

 

 

I've seen it implied that if you upgrade your OS to Windows 10 (from 7 or 8.1) that the product key of your old OS (whatever you've upgraded from) becomes invalidated?

 

I did an upgrade from Win 8 to 10 and everything went ok then I messed the whole thing up and rather than try to fix it and because I had a Win 8 install disk from HP, I decided to just do a clean install of 8 again, I did not need to enter a key and my Win8 was activated, But this is a OEM.



#3 jonuk76

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 11:26 PM

Thanks Nick :)  Do you know if the Windows 8 product key is embedded in firmware in that HP?


Edited by jonuk76, 11 August 2015 - 11:26 PM.

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#4 NickAu

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 11:36 PM

TBH I do not know, I do know I was not asked to enter 1 during the install.

 

Isn't it stored in the BIOS?



#5 Angoid

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Posted 12 August 2015 - 02:41 AM

I think Win 10 phones home with your motherboard identifier.

 

So when you upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 10, the key is migrated to 10, thereby invalidating it against Windows 8.

 

I believe you do have downgrade rights though, so you can restore Win 8 from an image and keep using it, for example if the upgrade gets botched or you dislike Win10.

 

I did the upgrade and then changed architectures straight away as I wanted to go to 64-bit.  The upgrade from 8.1 to 10 was in-place, and all went smoothly.

 

However, the 64-bit install was a clean install as there is no upgrade path from 32-bit to 64-bit.  This will always be the case.  At every point where it asked for the product key, I clicked on Skip. After installation, I noticed that it had activated itself automatically and successfully.

 

Clearly it phoned home to the Microsoft activation servers, where it saw my motherboard was already registered against a legitimate Windows 10, and allowed that copy of Windows to activate.


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#6 SleepyDude

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Posted 12 August 2015 - 01:55 PM

I've seen it implied that if you upgrade your OS to Windows 10 (from 7 or 8.1) that the product key of your old OS (whatever you've upgraded from) becomes invalidated?


No the old license isn't invalidated.
 

I also understand that there is some kind of hardware authentication so that if you ever have to do a clean install of Windows 10, you can do so, but that it will be activated based on a "fingerprint" of the hardware stored by MS?


It seems so based on the experience that some users did, after upgrade they decide to to a clean install and Windows 10 auto activated.
 

Now, something that concerns me, is if you had a Full Retail operating system (not OEM) prior to upgrading, you would have been able to move this from one system to another.  As long as you only ever had it installed and in use on one PC at a time, you could transfer the OS.  This is not just a theoretical benefit, it's something I've done many times, and why I would normally go for retail rather than OEM packs.
 
Does anyone know how this could work following upgrading?  If the old OS's product key is invalidated, presumably it won't activate and therefore it would also not be possible to upgrade it to Windows 10.  But if you want to transfer to new hardware, there will be no record of the system ever having been authenticated previously.  At this point, will you be required to buy a new license??


I don't know how this will work after the Windows 10 upgrade offer ends after one year but presently when you upgrade to Windows 10 the license type is maintained maybe you can use the new Windows 10 key and transfer like you do with the Windows 7 retail.

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#7 jonuk76

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 09:30 AM

TBH I do not know, I do know I was not asked to enter 1 during the install.

 

Isn't it stored in the BIOS?

 

Hi Nick, sorry yes the BIOS.  In my mind firmware/BIOS are interchangeable terms (UEFI systems a bit more than a BIOS).  But everyone understands BIOS so probably the better term.

 

I think Win 10 phones home with your motherboard identifier.

 

So when you upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 10, the key is migrated to 10, thereby invalidating it against Windows 8.

 

I believe you do have downgrade rights though, so you can restore Win 8 from an image and keep using it, for example if the upgrade gets botched or you dislike Win10.

 

I did the upgrade and then changed architectures straight away as I wanted to go to 64-bit.  The upgrade from 8.1 to 10 was in-place, and all went smoothly.

 

However, the 64-bit install was a clean install as there is no upgrade path from 32-bit to 64-bit.  This will always be the case.  At every point where it asked for the product key, I clicked on Skip. After installation, I noticed that it had activated itself automatically and successfully.

 

Clearly it phoned home to the Microsoft activation servers, where it saw my motherboard was already registered against a legitimate Windows 10, and allowed that copy of Windows to activate.

 

Thank you.  Yes it must do some sort of activation against a motherboard identifier.

 

 

I've seen it implied that if you upgrade your OS to Windows 10 (from 7 or 8.1) that the product key of your old OS (whatever you've upgraded from) becomes invalidated?


No the old license isn't invalidated.
 

I also understand that there is some kind of hardware authentication so that if you ever have to do a clean install of Windows 10, you can do so, but that it will be activated based on a "fingerprint" of the hardware stored by MS?


It seems so based on the experience that some users did, after upgrade they decide to to a clean install and Windows 10 auto activated.
 

Now, something that concerns me, is if you had a Full Retail operating system (not OEM) prior to upgrading, you would have been able to move this from one system to another.  As long as you only ever had it installed and in use on one PC at a time, you could transfer the OS.  This is not just a theoretical benefit, it's something I've done many times, and why I would normally go for retail rather than OEM packs.
 
Does anyone know how this could work following upgrading?  If the old OS's product key is invalidated, presumably it won't activate and therefore it would also not be possible to upgrade it to Windows 10.  But if you want to transfer to new hardware, there will be no record of the system ever having been authenticated previously.  At this point, will you be required to buy a new license??


I don't know how this will work after the Windows 10 upgrade offer ends after one year but presently when you upgrade to Windows 10 the license type is maintained maybe you can use the new Windows 10 key and transfer like you do with the Windows 7 retail.

 

 

Thanks for the reply.  Yes I guess you could move the Windows 10 key.  The only concern I have with that though is they appear to be using a number of "generic" keys on upgraded Windows 10 machines.  I'm wondering if it would still need the hardware authentication bit to work properly.  Perhaps I shouldn't over think it...  Ultimately I can get on the phone to MS and complain if I'm unable to transfer a retail OS from one PC to another.

 

The situation is clear as mud though..  Some stuff I've found around the web while reading up on this:

 

Expert Reviews - Windows 7 and 8 retail users can't transfer Windows 10 after a year  - Claim up to 1 year to transfer license confirmed by a Microsoft source.  After that they say you have to buy a new copy.

 

This contradicts somewhat info given here:

Winsupersite: Windows 10 Upgrade and Installation Frequently Asked Questions - Simply says "yes you can transfer".


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#8 SleepyDude

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 10:03 AM

The situation is clear as mud though..  Some stuff I've found around the web while reading up on this:
 
Expert Reviews - Windows 7 and 8 retail users can't transfer Windows 10 after a year  - Claim up to 1 year to transfer license confirmed by a Microsoft source.  After that they say you have to buy a new copy.
 
This contradicts somewhat info given here:
Winsupersite: Windows 10 Upgrade and Installation Frequently Asked Questions - Simply says "yes you can transfer".


Yep typical Microsoft confusion about licensing!

 

According to this site: http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-releases-new-license-terms-for-windows-10-no-surprises/

 

from the Windows 10 EULA

 

 

Transfer rights. I heard some observers speculate that the new terms would limit Windows 10 transfer rights. Nope. The new license agreement preserves the longstanding transfer rights: OEM copies are locked to the device on which they're sold, retail copies can be transferred to a different device as long as the old copy is removed first. (The Windows 10 EULA includes a specific exception for PC buyers in Germany, who are allowed to transfer OEM software thanks to a court ruling.)


Edited by SleepyDude, 13 August 2015 - 10:03 AM.

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#9 Anthrtop

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 03:28 AM

Here in this thread from a Windows related forum you can read the complain/request a person sent to Microsoft by email regarding this subject:

http://www.tenforums.com/general-discussion/14021-windows-retail-version-upgrading-win-10-oem.html#post325037

According to his latest posts in the thread:

http://www.tenforums.com/general-discussion/14021-windows-retail-version-upgrading-win-10-oem-6.html#post332784

http://www.tenforums.com/general-discussion/14021-windows-retail-version-upgrading-win-10-oem-7.html#post336512

http://www.tenforums.com/general-discussion/14021-windows-retail-version-upgrading-win-10-oem-7.html#post336680

http://www.tenforums.com/general-discussion/14021-windows-retail-version-upgrading-win-10-oem-7.html#post336699

http://www.tenforums.com/general-discussion/14021-windows-retail-version-upgrading-win-10-oem-8.html#post336737

he was later contacted by Microsoft Corporate HQ. After some discussion they reached an agreement and was offerend a second standalone Windows 10 licence+key with permanent full transfer rights. He also mentions that is possible that the wording within the EULA will soon be changed.
 



#10 jonuk76

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 09:26 AM

Thanks for that Anthrtop.  Very interesting :)  I would hope that rather than treat that as a "one off" they consider the impact on all customers upgrading to Windows 10 from retail versions of 7/8.1, and I hope they change the EULA to clarify that full transfer rights are maintained.

 

It may be a small but sizeable minority of customers who purchase retail OS versions, but it is simply unfair for them to effectively substitute a transferable Retail license for an OEM one (or one with the same restrictions as OEM licenses after one year) just because a customer agrees to their offer of a 'free upgrade'.


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#11 JohnC_21

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 09:47 AM

Prior to WIndows 8 OEMs used a SLP key with SLIC BIOS to self activate Windows. If you pulled the key of every Dell with Windows 7 Home or Pro it would be the same. Hackers modded the BIOS and was able to activate Windows. With Windows 8 Microsoft told the OEMs that every computer had to have a distinct key embedded in firmware. That is why you can clean install with a Windows 8 disk and have it self activate once online.

 

To see your key you can download Produkey or FirmwareTablesView. In FirmWareTablesView look under the MSDM table and you can verity it is the same as the one pulled with Produkey.



#12 Union_Thug

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 10:27 AM

After I upgraded 8.1 to 10 and activated,  MS has my HWID (Hardware ID) from my system. The ID is made up from pieces of all or most of your hardware, mainly the motherboard I think.  After that I did a clean wipe/reinstall  on a different drive (SSD) it activates by phoning home to the MS activation servers and if the HWID matches the previous activation (it did) my system activated again even though on a different disc (SSD).

If you change your motherboard, or too many pieces of hardware (dunno the "formula" M$ uses) you will lose your HWID and activation. If you change just the motherboard, activation is gone as well since that is the biggest portion of the HWID afaik. I also


Edited by Union_Thug, 17 August 2015 - 10:27 AM.





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