Question How do i see my Windows activation key? How to know if my key can be moved to another computer?

TheFlash1300

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Hi. My Windows key is Retail, according to the results I get from typing "slmgr.vbs /dlv " in CMD. However, someone told me I can't transfer the key, even if it's Retail, if Windows was pre-installed. In fact, Windows 10 was pre-installed and ready to use when I bought the laptop. According to the person, the activation key is rooted (hard-coded) to the BIOS chip, which is on the motherboard, which makes it impossible to transfer it to another computer. Is this true?

How do I check if the key can be transferred? How can I be 100% sure?

Also, how do I see the key? When I type "slmgr.vbs /dlv " in CMD, I also get "Activation ID:" with a code shown after it. When I open My Computer, and click on "properties", I get "Product ID:", showing a different code. So, which one is the activation key I need to re-enter on another computer in order to successfully activate Windows?

I ran Powershell as administrator, and then entered this: wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey
But it didn't work. This is the result I got (the key is missing):
View: https://imgur.com/a/HFAXKZt


So, how do I see my key, and how do I know if it can be transferred?
 

MJS WARLORD

Honorable
Windows keys are somehow electronically tagged to the motherboard of all pc's regardless of it being shop bought ( OEM ) self built or custom built.
This means your cant put your copy of windows on another pc or laptop.
If saw a laptop with a black screen at boot up and a message saying ..... you appear to be running a copy of windows that has already been activated ...... he can it pc but all updates are blocked.

It turned out that a guy was going round a university site selling laptops with the same copy of windows installed ..... he disappeared after a few days before he was caught.
In extreme case if you purchased a pc or laptop with a bootleg copy of windows AND you are prepared to tell microsoft where you got it from they will " destroy " your keycode and issue you with another one.
 

TheFlash1300

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If you have Win10 pre-installed with your laptop, it's likely an OEM version of Win10.

The OEM license can't be transferred to other computer.
When I type this command: slmgr.vbs /dlv in CMD, I get the following message:

Name: Windows (R). Professional edition
Description: Windows(R) Operating System, RETAIL channel

So, it says Retail, not OEM. Doesn't that mean the key can be transferred?

Windows keys are somehow electronically tagged to the motherboard of all pc's regardless of it being shop bought ( OEM ) self built or custom built.
This means your cant put your copy of windows on another pc or laptop.
If saw a laptop with a black screen at boot up and a message saying ..... you appear to be running a copy of windows that has already been activated ...... he can it pc but all updates are blocked.

It turned out that a guy was going round a university site selling laptops with the same copy of windows installed ..... he disappeared after a few days before he was caught.
In extreme case if you purchased a pc or laptop with a bootleg copy of windows AND you are prepared to tell microsoft where you got it from they will " destroy " your keycode and issue you with another one.
If you buy a new PC that doesn't have OS, you should be able to download non-activate copy of Windows, and then activate I by using the key of your old Windows. However, you can have only one activation, meaning you must uninstall the key from you old computer before you can install it on your new computer. I know there is a command that uninstall the key and deactivates your Windwos, so you can use the key on another Windows.

I already said that my Windows is Retail. Doesn't that mean it is transferable, or there are cases when even Retail keys cant be transferred?
 
Windows keys are somehow electronically tagged to the motherboard of all pc's regardless of it being shop bought ( OEM ) self built or custom built.
This means your cant put your copy of windows on another pc or laptop.
Depending on the type of license you can move your Windows license. If it’s retail it can be moved, it cannot be used on more than one pc at a time. You can tie the license to your Microsoft account, it is then easy to move between PC’s.
 

TheFlash1300

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Depending on the type of license you can move your Windows license. If it’s retail it can be moved, it cannot be used on more than one pc at a time. You can tie the license to your Microsoft account, it is then easy to move between PC’s.
It says it's a Retail license. But I still don't know how to see the key. As you can see in my previous posts in this thread, the system doesn't show the key, despite the fact I'm using the correct commands to request the key to be shown.
 

Colif

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how is windows activated?
what shows in settings/windows update/activation?
Does it say Windows is activated with a digital licence linked to your Microsoft account?

cause if it does, the location of your licence is on a Windows activation server.

The keys recorded on windows 10 are dumby keys, I think there are about 10 of them. They don't work to activate an install.

if its linked to an account, you can move it really easy (link shows how to link it and what to do after moving)- https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/reactivating-windows-after-a-hardware-change-2c0e962a-f04c-145b-6ead-fb3fc72b6665
 
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TheFlash1300

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how is windows activated?
what shows in settings/windows update/activation?
Does it say Windows is activated with a digital licence linked to your Microsoft account?

cause if it does, the location of your licence is on a Windows activation server.

The keys recorded on windows 10 are dumby keys, I think there are about 10 of them. They don't work to activate an install.

if its linked to an account, you can move it really easy (link shows how to link it and what to do after moving)- https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/reactivating-windows-after-a-hardware-change-2c0e962a-f04c-145b-6ead-fb3fc72b6665
It says this: Windows is activated with a digital license

It doesn't say Windows' license is linked to my Microsoft account. Currently, I'm logged out of my Microsoft account. However, before I performed several clean installs, I logged in to my Microsoft account, so I suppose that the license is already linked to my account, which is why Windows gets activated automatically after I perform a clean install and then log in to my Microsoft account before Windows loads.

What do you mean by "dumby keys"? What is the purpose of dumby keys, if they don't work?

Also, I have problems with understanding the information provided on the site your link leads to. So, my license is probably linked to my Microsoft account. If this is true, shouldn't Windows get deactivated if I'm logged out of my account?

And, how do I uninstall the key from my current laptop, so I can use it on another laptop?
 

TheFlash1300

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Where did the license and install actually come from?
When I bought the laptop and turned it on, I saw Windows 10 was already installed and activated. This means that Windows 10 was activated by the manufacturer of the laptop or by the re-seller (distributor) of the laptop.
 

TheFlash1300

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There is no "uninstall".

You stop using it on one system, you install on the new system, then you log into your account and tell it which system this license applies to.
This is uninstalling, isn't it? You uninstall it from one Windows, Windows gets deactivated due to missing key - then you install the key on another Windows, and the new Windows gets activated.
 

USAFRet

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This is uninstalling, isn't it? You uninstall it from one Windows, Windows gets deactivated due to missing key - then you install the key on another Windows, and the new Windows gets activated.
Well...no "uninstall" as in no clicky thing to uninstall like you uninstall an application.

Here, you're just telling the activation servers which system it goes with.

However, this being preinstalled on a laptop...unlikely it is transferable to a new system.
 

TheFlash1300

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However, this being preinstalled on a laptop...unlikely it is transferable to a new system.
Before I reinstalled Windows, I logged in to my Microsoft account. This means the key was saved, and then it was re-used on the same system when I logged in to my Microsoft account again, while the Windows 10 SETUP was still active.

Is there a way to tell for sure if the key is transferable?
If it's non-transferrable, why does this command: "slmgr.vbs /dlv" open a window that says the key is Retal? Aren't Retail keys transferable?

Here i will show you images, so you can understand me better:

This is what I see when i open the Activation settings which i can find in Settings -> Update & Security:
View: https://imgur.com/2eRTGH3


This is what I get when i type "slmgr.vbs /div":
View: https://imgur.com/a/7hIMApC


As you can see, it says "retail", not "OEM". As far as I know, this is what you should see, if your key can't be transferred:
View: https://imgur.com/dI4uVbu


This is how my own window looks like:
View: https://imgur.com/a/40OMeQT


Before I made the clean installs, my window looked like the window presented in the second image. However, after the clan installs, some extra information was added to the window, and now it shows "rearm", which is something I don't know what it is.

So, what do you think? Is my key transferable?

(NOTE: I don't own most of the images presented in this answer. I own only the last image, which is an image of my own window. The other images were found in the "Images" section of the Google Search engine.)
 

TheFlash1300

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"clean install", with a whole different license?
No. No, I didn't buy and enter a new key when I did the clean install.

Before I started the clean install program, I logged in to my Microsoft account, so I can make sure the key will be stored and won't simply be erased by the clean install. After the clean install was completed, while the SETUP is still running, the SETUP asked me if I have a Microsoft account - I selected "yes", and then, I logged in to the account. Then, Windows 10 booted and was activated, didn't require me to enter any keys.

So, the key is inside the BIOS chip or in my Microsoft account, which is why after the clean install, Windows was able to find the key automatically, and become activated, without asking me for any keys. Windows saw the key from the Microsoft account after I logged in to my Microsoft account, or it saw it from the BIOS chip, or it saw it from wherever the key is stored... The problem is that I don't know where the key exactly is, and i don't know how to see it.
 

USAFRet

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No. No, I didn't buy and enter a new key when I did the clean install.
Then that is the original license that came with the laptop.
As such, highly unlikely to be transferable.

Even if it were....

Then your old laptop would have no Windows license. What would you then do with that laptop?

Solution...
Sell the laptop with its original license.
This gives you the funds to buy a whole new license for a new desktop.
A new laptop would come with its own license anyway.
 

TheFlash1300

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Then that is the original license that came with the laptop.
As such, highly unlikely to be transferable.

Even if it were....

Then your old laptop would have no Windows license. What would you then do with that laptop?

Solution...
Sell the laptop with its original license.
This gives you the funds to buy a whole new license for a new desktop.
A new laptop would come with its own license anyway.
If it can't be transferred, why does it say it's Retail, not OEM? As far as I know, Retail licenses are always transferrable.

I have a computer with Windows 7, but I want it to have Windows 10, too. I can use a second HDD or SSD. I want to install Windows 10 on an SSD or HDD, then connect the disk to the computer, and to use the Windows 10 license I have on my laptop to activate Windows 10 on my computer. I don't want to use Windows 10 on my laptop, anyway. I'm planning to use Windows 10 on my computer, and Linux on my laptop.

I want to replace Windows 10 on my laptop with Linux. Then, to install Windows 10 on my computer, and to use the key Windows 10 on my laptop is activated, to activate Windows 10 on my computer. In short, I want to move the key from Windows 10 on my laptop to Windows 10 on my computer.
 

USAFRet

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I do not know why it may say "Retail".
Have you been able to extract the actual full license key?

I want to install Windows 10 on an SSD or HDD, then connect the disk to the computer, and to use the Windows 10 license I have on my laptop to activate Windows 10 on my computer.
It does not work like that.
You can't simply install in one system, then move that drive to a whole different system.
Don't confuse the license with the operation.

The OS and its license on the laptop belongs to that laptop.
This is one of the only instances where it cannot be transfered.
 

Colif

Win 11 Master
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Depending on how you got your copy of Windows 10, you'll need either a digital license or a 25-character product key to activate it. Without one of these, you won't be able to activate your device.

  • A digital license (called a digital entitlement in Windows 10, Version 1511) is a method of activation in Windows 10 that doesn't require you to enter a product key.
  • A product key is a 25-character code used to activate Windows. What you'll see is PRODUCT KEY: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX.
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/activate-windows-c39005d4-95ee-b91e-b399-2820fda32227

if its a laptop and you tried the steps I showed to link it to a Microsoft Account, and it won't let you, then you can't move it. It doesn't matter if it shows as Retail, I can't tell you why it does... you would need to ask people who made laptop.

digital licences will auto activate if you reinstall win 10 on same PC.
 

TheFlash1300

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I do not know why it may say "Retail".
Have you been able to extract the actual full license key?
This is the problem I'm talking about in the title of this thread. I don't know how to see the full key. I want to see it, but I don't know how. Also, I explained in my above posts that I still don't get the key even when I type the correct command in PowerShell.


It does not work like that.
You can't simply install in one system, then move that drive to a whole different system.
Don't confuse the license with the operation.

The OS and its license on the laptop belongs to that laptop.
This is one of the only instances where it cannot be transfered.
I know I can't move the OS itself. What I want to do is the following:

  1. I will download the .iso file of Windows 10 on a USB flash drive.
  2. I will make the USB flash drive bootable.
  3. I will uninstall the license of my Windows 10 laptop.
  4. I will plug the USB flash drive into the new computer.
  5. I will boot it, and install Windows 10.
  6. When it asks me for an activation key, I will enter the key I uninstalled from the activated (now deactivated) Windows 10 on my laptop.
Why wouldn't I be able to do this?

Or, you could go through the horrendous and demeaning concept of actually buying a new valid Win 10 license.
Use it wherever.
That WILL be transferable.
Why should I buy a new license, if my current license is transferable (Retail)?

To transfer, it has to be a "digital license linked to your Microsoft account".

I'm not seeing that in any of your screencaps.
It was showing " digital license linked to you Microsoft account" when I was logged in to my Microsoft account.

Later, I will log in to the account, and I will tell you if it shows what you said it should show.




https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/activate-windows-c39005d4-95ee-b91e-b399-2820fda32227

if its a laptop and you tried the steps I showed to link it to a Microsoft Account, and it won't let you, then you can't move it. It doesn't matter if it shows as Retail, I can't tell you why it does... you would need to ask people who made laptop.

digital licences will auto activate if you reinstall win 10 on same PC.
I will try the steps.
 

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