How to Get Windows 10 for Free (or Under $30)

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bortao

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Jul 10, 2015
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I bought a key on ebay and it turned out to be a VL key (volume). Which works but shouldn't be sold. I contacted the seller and he refunded me. To check if your key is retail/oem/volume type "slmgr -dli" on the command prompt.
 

majorlag

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May 17, 2010
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Very good breakdown of the ways to activate Windows 10. Most people don't even realize you can still use a windows 7 key to activate, only after you get into windows, and not during the setup process. I believe this will probably stop working Jan 1, 2020, when Microsoft stops support for windows 7.

One thing that I was hoping for some explanation on key activations, I have seen how some Youtuber's have tied their windows 10 keys to their Microsoft account. Then they only need a handfull of keys, like one for each motherboard vendor, and during setup, then sign into their Microsoft account, and select the key that corresponds to the motherboard their are reviewing. So they can move the keys around, and as long as it was the same brand of motherboard it would activate for that computer, and no longer be active on the old system. Any thoughts on how this works? Any limitations on how many moves, is this method valid for years so you would never have to buy another key if you stayed with one particular favorite motherboard vendor?
 

Onus

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Newegg often has Microsoft packaged Win10 for $89.
On the forums, we see MANY tales of woe concerning aftermarket, 3rd-party, or otherwise dicey Windows keys. In my opinion, unless you know exactly what you are doing, the time, effort, and hassle you might save yourself by using a retail source is worth the $50 you might save by going for an aftermarket key, even if guaranteed. Of course, using an old version's key essentially amounts to a free upgrade, which once upon a time was often provided by software vendors, so if you can use that method, great.
 

CalHob

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Any attempt to connect to www.kinguin.net, using Firefox, Chrome, or Edge, returns an error indicating it cannot establish a secure connection. Sorry, not getting my business.
 

logainofhades

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Couldn't agree more. Simply put, this is a bad idea.
 

vonbose

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Thanks for this article. I've been struggling with the idea of buying another copy of Windows 10 for my media machine. It's a PC built from old parts and is currently running Linux.

My main problem is this: Linux can't stream HBO, FOX Sports, Disney XD and other streaming services, so as a media machine it's a big problem...

I looked into the $30 windows option but it sketched me out. Has anyone had a good experience with this?
 

shrapnel_indie

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Wait a sec... TH is legitimizing kinquin? and one other source? sites that for years now that have been discouraged from purchasing from, let alone removed from messages when the suggestion to purchase from them have come up?
 

targetdrone

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Cheap 3rd party Keys like the ones sold on Ebay are STOLEN. While they might activate today there is no guarantee they will activate a month from now or whenever you decide to reinstall windows from scratch.
 

Onus

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This article is causing multiple conniptions among the Moderation team. There are very good reasons why, although tolerated from a couple of well-known sources like Kinguin, none of us ever encourage people to obtain keys this way. It isn't illegal, so we don't sanction for it, but like I said, the tales of woe are too numerous to go unnoticed. Microsoft hasn't loosed its lawyers on Kinguin, so it is apparently not a matter of legality, but there are a number of threads that basically boil down to "I told you so" and/or "You're on your own" when it comes to aftermarket keys.
At least the article makes no mention of "activators," which in most cases do represent outright piracy, not to mention the viruses and malware with which they are often laden. Discussions of those are not allowed and are deleted, and sometimes offenders knuckles get rapped with a hammer.
 

logainofhades

Titan
Moderator
Yes, doing this definitely constitutes a "Do at your own risk". If money is tight, run Win 10 unlicensed, until you can a get known legit key from someone like Newegg. Microsoft allows this, so it is perfectly fine to so, and you don't have to risk losing your hard earned cash.
 

Gadhar

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Sep 26, 2016
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I have bought a couple of keys from Kinguin and never had a single issue with them. Now I have a couple of ISO copies on flash drives and I use those without an issue. I actually have legitimate keys and never installed them because my machines have never had a water mark or restricted use. Again I have keys if needed, but I have 4 non commercial machines running windows 10 just fine that have not had the key added. I know this may change tomorrow, but until it does I will keep doing things exactly the same
 

Phaaze88

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Dec 30, 2016
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I'm currently using the non-active version.
Between both my monitors, the watermark doesn't bother me all that much - sometimes, it's not even visible!
Lack of personalization options? Eh, never really bothered with that stuff.
No MS support? I didn't have to deal with them when I was using W7/W8/XP/Vista.
I believe I'll be fine until the next OS launch. Whoo, ~$130 I get to keep, or use on something more significant!
 

Gadhar

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I bought the keys because I did not know I could use the un registered version without issue. I had installed windows 10 on my newest build and got side tracked and forgot to register it. Its been working fine for a year with no water mark or restrictions. I have the keys in case that all changes.
 

Onus

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If you signed in with a Microsoft account, it may have registered to that automatically. Also, if you install onto an OEM motherboard, even one licensed for an earlier version, it will auto-activate based on inherited rights for that board.
 

Gadhar

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I did not sign into a microsoft account and no OEM boards were used. These were all new builds with new hardware.
 

Finstar

Honorable
If someone isn't familiar with how the cheap "stolen" CD keys work. Let me explain:
Criminal buys a stolen credit card from the deep web and uses it to purchase several software license codes.
They will then resell those licenses on all the 3rd party websites like G2A or Kinguin making the license untraceable to them.
The credit card owner will ask their bank to roll back payments and if they can do it, all the purchases made with the credit card will be refunded.
After the refund, software licenses refunded will be invalidated by the creator (if they have the resources to do it).
Person who buys a license from these 3rd party sites will be paying straight to the criminals and once the license is refunded to the original credit card owner, they'll lose it and the thieves keep their money.
 

uglyduckling81

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Feb 24, 2011
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Last night I spent another hour and a half talking with microsoft about using my legit copy of win10 pro upgraded from win8 pro for free. I go through it each time I change my hardware.
They tell me the copy was tied to my previous PC and I argue saying it's the same PC with different components.
In the end they sold me a copy of Win10 Pro Retail for AU$40 to make me go away and so I don't have to keep ringing back each time this happens.
 

USAFRet

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I had a recent discussion here with another member on this exact same issue.
The front line help desk guys often do NOT get current or valid info.

Specific info from MS says you can do it:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/20530/windows-10-reactivating-after-hardware-change

But...your " I argue saying it's the same PC with different components"...
Depending on what you changed, it IS a different PC. Primarily, the motherboard.

But you can still transfer the license.
 

buzznut47

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Nov 9, 2015
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Another option, become part of Microsoft's insider preview. This will get you a free OS, and you can receive WIN 10 updates before anyone else. Go here to learn more:
https://insider.windows.com/en-us/

The last PC I tried this on said that I was not an administrator, and that I needed to contact my IT representative. As if the PC was a corporate machine. Except M$ is the administrator.
Bottom Line: I wasn't able to change my desktop personalization settings. This may have been a glitch that has been corrected by now. Still, if you have any qualms about the legitimacy of assistive technologies covering your butt, its a fairly un-invasive and legit way to get windows free.

I used it for coin mining since personalization was not important.
 

Richard_148

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Jul 17, 2016
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Microsoft Windows 10 Pro Installation Flash Drive 32&64 Bit W/License USB Stick. Ebay has this for sale but who knows if it is legit.
 

darkbreeze

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So long as it's not an OEM license, all you REALLY need to do to avoid this problem is attach your activation to a valid Microsoft account ID on any currently activated system. When you change hardware or build a new system and move the license to that machine, it should automatically activate once you log in on that machine using that same Microsoft account. This does not, of course, mean you can have two or more machines all activated simultaneously using the same MS account. If you move the license to a different machine using that account, it will automatically de-activate the installation from the other machine if it is still in use.

I've moved a single digital entitlement through three different machines, entirely different builds, for one customer and from one machine to what amounts to completely new systems after upgrades, for several others. For myself as well. So long as it's no OEM it should be a non-issue.
 

darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator


It is not. That is not an opinion, that is fact. I've provided direct responses, twice, to the powers that be and to individuals in MANY threads, showing that Microsoft not only does not sanction these cheap keys, they are 100% not valid per Microsoft customer activation support in both North America and Southeast Asia.
 
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