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Determining if a machine is licensed for Windows 10


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#1 britechguy

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 01:05 PM

I am potentially faced with a situation where I'll be dealing with a machine that won't boot (it's getting BSODs when it tries to update) and the owner does not know if it was a Windows 8.1 machine that was upgraded to Windows 10 or if it was still Windows 8.1.

 

It's been a while since I've had a Windows 8.1 machine readily to hand here at the homestead, but if memory serves the early phases of the boot process, including Windows starting to fire up, look remarkably similar, if not the same, for Windows 8 and Windows 10 (though I can't remember if the spash screen comes up early enough that this would tell me).

 

In any case, if one were faced with a machine that doesn't even boot because, say, it's HDD is now toast, and the owner cannot tell you which version of Windows was on it, but knows it was Windows 8 or later, is there a relatively easy way to figure this out in the absence of any stickers on the case of the computer?

 

My other laptop started out life as a Windows 8.1 machine, and is now a Windows 10 machine, and if I were in the situation described above I'd want to restore it using Windows 10, but have no idea how I'd be able to know whether it had Windows 10 running on it before the crash.


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#2 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 01:18 PM

I know Win 10 stores the key in hardware, on the mobo, and I keep seeing people saying 8.1 does the same.

 

I would be inclined to see if it activates if you install 10 on it. If it does great. If it doesn't you have wasted a bit of time but then go and install 8.1. Sorry I can't think of a better way.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#3 JohnC_21

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 01:20 PM

According to Microsoft, if there is a digital license for Windows 10 you will not be prompted for a key during the install. I guess that would be one way of telling if the machine was upgraded. 

 

I can't confirm it but if Windows 10 is linked to a Microsoft Account then there is supposed to be a section showing your activated devices.

https://account.microsoft.com/devices



#4 mikey11

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 03:21 PM

if its windows 10 you will also have to make sure you install the same VERSION that was on there before (home, pro, etc) of windows 10 or it will not activate, and same goes for 32 or 64 bit


Edited by mikey11, 16 February 2018 - 03:22 PM.


#5 britechguy

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 03:39 PM

if its windows 10 you will also have to make sure you install the same VERSION that was on there before (home, pro, etc) of windows 10 or it will not activate, and same goes for 32 or 64 bit

 

If it's Windows 10, and you don't enter a license key, you will, by default, get the edition that was on the machine before, at least if it was Home or Pro (I know for absolute fact that the components for both are in the Windows 10 ISO and it's the key that determines what actually gets activated).  Once you get into Educational or Enterprise I would imagine you'd have to have dedicated ISOs for either one of those, but I could be entirely wrong about that.

 

I simply presume 64-bit unless the machine is ancient.  Oddly enough, my desktop came initially with Win7 32-bit, even though it's a 64-bit processor, so it's now Win10 32-bit, which is a real oddity on 64-bit hardware.


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

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#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 04:32 PM

I could be wrong but I always thought a key was good for either 32bit or 64bit. At least it does for Windows 7 and 8.1.

 

I found this for Windows 10. Upgrade to 64bit from 32bit is free.

 

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-windows_install/how-to-migrate-to-windows-10-64-bit-from-32-bit/40d90c4e-8845-4bcb-bb2f-aeab312caf74


Edited by JohnC_21, 16 February 2018 - 04:36 PM.


#7 HyperHenry

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 05:02 PM

I could be wrong but I always thought a key was good for either 32bit or 64bit. At least it does for Windows 7 and 8.1.

 

I found this for Windows 10. Upgrade to 64bit from 32bit is free.

 

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-windows_install/how-to-migrate-to-windows-10-64-bit-from-32-bit/40d90c4e-8845-4bcb-bb2f-aeab312caf74

 

That is true. My Windows 8.1 came with a disk for 32 bit and one for 64 bit. Just one key. Not sure about Windows 10. I have heard that the key is stored in the cloud and not on your machine. Not sure if that's true or not.



#8 britechguy

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 05:51 PM

With regard to the 32-to-64-bit conversion, this is the sticking point:  

  • Switching requires that you perform a new installation, that means files, applications and settings will be deleted.

 

This machine has so much software on it that I would not even want to think about reinstalling that it's a no-go.  It's not a crisis, either, since this is a backup machine that seldom ever gets any significant use.  But if/when I need to use it I want to be able to walk over to it and know that it's "good to go" as far as the software I'd need to use.


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

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#9 HyperHenry

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 10:01 PM

Were you hoping to add more RAM to this machine?



#10 FreeBooter

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 10:39 PM

To find out which version and edition of Windows installed.
 
 
Please boot your computer with Windows Setup Media and from Windows Recovery Environment start the Command Prompt.

Please type below command into Command Prompt and press Enter key.

 
Dism /Image:D: /Get-CurrentEdition

Please replace partition letter D: with Windows installed partition letter.  When computer boots into Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) environment the drive letter assign to Windows partition may not be C: drive letter because Windows 7, 8 , 8.1 and 10 creates a separate system partition when it's installed from scratch. The system partition contains boot files WinRE assigns the system partition the C: drive letter and the Windows installed partition will be assign any other drive letter usually D: drive letter is assign to Windows installed partition. The Bcdedit /enum | find "osdevice" command can be use to find out the drive letter of the Windows installed partition the output of the Bcdedit command is similar to this osdevice partition=D:. The drive letter after partition= is the drive letter of the Windows partition.
 
Nyvy8A0.png

Edited by FreeBooter, 16 February 2018 - 10:39 PM.

Posted Image


#11 britechguy

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 10:12 AM

Thanks Freebooter.   I presume this only applies to machines that have Windows 8, 8.1, or 10 installed on them since DISM was only introduced with Windows 8.

 

If you have a Windows 10 bootable thumb drive, and the machine happens to have Windows 8 or 8.1 on it (or vice versa, actually) will the above method work?


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

                    ~ Austin O'Malley

 

 

 

              

 


#12 FreeBooter

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 01:03 PM

This method works with Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows 10.

Yes you can use Windows 10 bootable USB flash drive but i have made a mistake about which version number indicates installed Windows OS version, i have point out correct place to look for version number of installed Windows OS.
 

HqSI83U.png


Edited by FreeBooter, 17 February 2018 - 01:04 PM.

Posted Image


#13 britechguy

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 02:05 PM

OK, but what Image Version corresponds to which version of Windows?  In that last graphic your first arrow points to 6.2.9200.17516.   None of which corresponds to any version/build I'm familiar with.

 

If the last part of the dot sequence is the build number then I'm presuming this is an insider version of Windows 10, but I can't be sure of that.


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

                    ~ Austin O'Malley

 

 

 

              

 


#14 FreeBooter

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 02:10 PM

The Image Version: number is the one you should look up at below website.

 

I have use the Windows 10 bootable DVD with Windows 8 the last screenshot shows version number of Windows 8.  Image Version: 6.2.9200

 

https://www.gaijin.at/en/lstwinver.php


Edited by FreeBooter, 17 February 2018 - 02:15 PM.

Posted Image


#15 britechguy

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 03:07 PM

Freebooter,

 

            Because I may be called upon to use this method at some time in the unspecified future, at which point I'll have no memory of this topic or enough details to find it, I have written up the following.   I would appreciate it if you could take a look and see if it correctly lays out the steps necessary.   I cannot recall if you just land in the Windows Recovery Environment or if you have to do something to get in to it.  I think I got everything, but I want to be sure:

 

 

Determining What Windows is Installed on a Machine That Won’t Boot

If the Machine Has Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10 Installed on It

 

  1. Download a copy of the Windows 10 ISO using the Media Creation Tool, following the instructions for creating installation media for another PC.  Then create a bootable DVD (if the machine has an optical drive and you prefer to use it) or bootable USB drive.  [Rufus is an excellent utility for doing the latter.]  I suggest not using the Media Creation Tool to create a bootable USB drive because if something goes wrong you have to start from scratch because the ISO that was downloaded in the background is no longer available.

 

  1. Boot the computer from the bootable media you created and go into the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) when that option presents itself.

 

  1. Start a Command Prompt.  At the prompt, enter the command: BCDEDIT /enum | find "osdevice".  The result you will get will be a line that looks like:  osdevice partition=X:.  Even if your boot disk is C: it is possible the osdevice partition may not be, so make a note of what comes back as the partition letter.

 

  1. Then enter the command:  DISM /Image:X: /Get-CurrentEdition, where you’ll use the partition letter returned from the last step in place of the ‘X’.

 

  1. The output of the command will include two lines that are of primary interest.  First in order of appearance is the line that starts with Image Version:  followed by the image version number.  A few lines below it will be a line starting with Current Edition : , that will be followed by  Home, Professional, etc.

 

  1. Using the Image Version number returned from the last command, open a web browser and navigate to https://www.gaijin.at/en/lstwinver.php. Use the table on that page to match your Image Version number up to the version of Windows to which it corresponds.

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

      Memory is a crazy woman that hoards rags and throws away food.

                    ~ Austin O'Malley

 

 

 

              

 





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