Question Using windows 10 home key when windows pro is installed (unactivated)

Apr 6, 2019
17
0
10
0
Title says it all, I extracted my windows key but it seems to not work, it displays it in the activation tab and everything but says it isn't activated, this key was extracted from my laptop which came with windows 8 OEM that we later upgraded to windows 10 pro for free, with that I thought that I got a "real" version and not an OEM but it seems to not be the case? I'm honestly quite inexperienced with windows so if anyone could try to explain that'd be great (also please answer if installing windows 10 home would actually change the windows pro version to windows home, and if that doesn't work what am I supposed to do? Do I need to reinstall windows alltogether or will that work?)

thanks!
 
You say it shows up in the activation tab. But lists as not activated. Have you tried running the activation yourself? On clean installs, Windows will often not activate. The solution is to run the activation yourself. Then choose to activate manually. At which point you can call or chat to get the activation code.

Chat (Skip down to "Using the Get Help app in Windows 10"): https://www.groovypost.com/howto/activate-windows-10-license-microsoft-support/

Phone: https://www.prrcomputers.com/blog/activate-windows-10-telephone/

With phone you don't need a live operator. As the link indicates. After you tell it you are activating Windows. It'll offer to text you an activation link. Do that and open the link on your phone. Then you can type in your Installation ID the activation program presents you with into your phone. Then type the Confirmation ID into your computer which the phone system provides. I'd have just provided this link directly. Unfortunately the MS activation links are short lived. I don't know why they don't just have an activation website. It would certainly save me some time after repairing someones computer.

____

Are you installing using legacy or UEFI boot settings? A UEFI installer should pick up the product key from the BIOS. So, that you don't even have to input a product key during install. Windows 7/8/10 product keys all work for 10. Doesn't matter if OEM or Retail.

If it never asks for a product key during the install. It is getting the key via UEFI. The Windows 10 installer will Pro/Home automatically based on provided product keys.

OEM only matters if you try to change motherboards. Is this the same computer which came with the license? If it isn't then you need a new license. When buying a license. Be wary of grey market sites offering cheap keys. These are often volume license keys not eligible for resale. While they work initially. MS cleans house frequently. At which point Windows may deactivate.

_

Windows does not support downgrading from Pro to Home. A clean install (ie wiping drive) is required. There are supposedly workarounds but they look messy. You have to mess with the registry and then run an upgrade install.
 
Reactions: Mandark
Apr 6, 2019
17
0
10
0
You say it shows up in the activation tab. But lists as not activated. Have you tried running the activation yourself? On clean installs, Windows will often not activate. The solution is to run the activation yourself. Then choose to activate manually. At which point you can call or chat to get the activation code.

Chat (Skip down to "Using the Get Help app in Windows 10"): https://www.groovypost.com/howto/activate-windows-10-license-microsoft-support/

Phone: https://www.prrcomputers.com/blog/activate-windows-10-telephone/

With phone you don't need a live operator. As the link indicates. After you tell it you are activating Windows. It'll offer to text you an activation link. Do that and open the link on your phone. Then you can type in your Installation ID the activation program presents you with into your phone. Then type the Confirmation ID into your computer which the phone system provides. I'd have just provided this link directly. Unfortunately the MS activation links are short lived. I don't know why they don't just have an activation website. It would certainly save me some time after repairing someones computer.

____

Are you installing using legacy or UEFI boot settings? A UEFI installer should pick up the product key from the BIOS. So, that you don't even have to input a product key during install. Windows 7/8/10 product keys all work for 10. Doesn't matter if OEM or Retail.

If it never asks for a product key during the install. It is getting the key via UEFI. The Windows 10 installer will Pro/Home automatically based on provided product keys.

OEM only matters if you try to change motherboards. Is this the same computer which came with the license? If it isn't then you need a new license. When buying a license. Be wary of grey market sites offering cheap keys. These are often volume license keys not eligible for resale. While they work initially. MS cleans house frequently. At which point Windows may deactivate.

_

Windows does not support downgrading from Pro to Home. A clean install (ie wiping drive) is required. There are supposedly workarounds but they look messy. You have to mess with the registry and then run an upgrade install.

This is a brand new system, I used a boot drive to download windows and then used the key which I extracted using produkey, what do you suggest that I should do? As far as the legacy/UEFI thing goes I have no clue
 

bignastyid

Titan
Moderator
That windows 10 license is tied to that laptop. Even as lax as Microsoft is with win 10 preinstalled OEM copies are still locked to that machine.

If you are reinstalling on the laptop it should recognize the hardware and activate itself. If you are trying to use windows on a different computer you need to buy a new key.
 
Reactions: punkncat
This is a brand new system, I used a boot drive to download windows and then used the key which I extracted using produkey, what do you suggest that I should do? As far as the legacy/UEFI thing goes I have no clue
Buy a new license. OEM licenses are cheaper but will be tied to your new computer. Retail (Full) licenses are transferable.

32bit or 64bit doesn't matter. Get whichever is cheaper. The only difference is the included install media, the license is the same. But you can download the 64bit installer straight from Microsoft.

As for Home vs Pro. Depends on how much time you want to spend reinstalling to get back to Home or pay extra for Pro. Pro also has Group Policy Editor and Bitlocker. Which are nice to have.

Looking at PCpartpicker.com. You can pick up Pro (OEM) for $100 and Retail for $190. Home goes for $90 OEM and $110 retail. Personally, I'd go with Pro OEM.
 
If WIndows 10 was ever activated before with that laptop, you can skip entering a product key at installation, and check it later, it should self reactivate....but, if it was Win 8 Pro that became Win10 Pro, that is certainly what you would want to stay with. Where/why did you get this 'real' version (retail or OEM) alluded to , and why, since it was already Win10 Pro to start with (and actually legitimately) ? (It's hard to imagine anyone going out and paying $110 for even an OEM Home version if WIn10 Pro was already functioning...)
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Title says it all, I extracted my windows key but it seems to not work, it displays it in the activation tab and everything but says it isn't activated, this key was extracted from my laptop which came with windows 8 OEM that we later upgraded to windows 10 pro for free, with that I thought that I got a "real" version and not an OEM but it seems to not be the case? I'm honestly quite inexperienced with windows so if anyone could try to explain that'd be great (also please answer if installing windows 10 home would actually change the windows pro version to windows home, and if that doesn't work what am I supposed to do? Do I need to reinstall windows alltogether or will that work?)

thanks!
What was the original OS? Win 8.1 Home or Pro?
Upgrading a Win 8.1 Home would have resulted in a Win 10 Home, validly activated.
Same with Pro -> Pro.

A preexisting Home install will not activate a Pro install.

After the valid upgrade to WIn 10, disregard the "OEMness".

What did you 'extract', and what are you trying to do with it?
 

howtobeironic

Prominent
Jun 16, 2018
119
0
710
9
A few rules I have just read onto using the upgrade to Windows 10 function (either with GWX or clean install):

1) The key used during the upgrade process must be vaild and usable on the target PC (aka, if it's an OEM key extracted from another computer then transplanted to another PC for an upgrade it will fail, nor you can use keys that won't activate the original OS, pirated, dummy keys etc)
2)The key's version must match with the version that'll be installed (win7 home basic, home premium, starter, win 8/8.1 home etc ->win10 home, win7/8/8.1 professional, enterprise,ultimate etc ->win10 pro)
3)Activation process will turn the input key to a "digital entitlement" aka
  • If you upgraded from a retail copy of Windows 7, Windows 8 or 8.1, the Windows 10 license carries the retail rights from which it was derived – can be transferred. But under Microsoft’s rules, you are only entitled to a one time transfer.
  • If you upgraded from an OEM Windows 7, Windows 8 or 8.1 license, these are licenses that come preinstalled on a new computer from a manufacturer, and then your Windows 10 license maintains the OEM rights – cannot be transferred. As pointed out to me, upgrades from OEM versions can be transferred at least once. I will probably try this out.
  • If you have a full retail copy of Windows 10, you can transfer it as many times as you want.
  • If you performed an Easy Upgrade to the Windows 10 Pro Pack from Windows 10 Home, you can transfer it using Digital Licensing. This is possible because of the Pro Pack, while an upgrade, is a retail license attached to the Microsoft Account used to purchase it.
Does your situation fall under one of those?
 
Last edited:

Colif

Titan
Moderator
much disinfo in this thread. LIsten to usafret

Title says it all, I extracted my windows key but it seems to not work,
The key stored on a Win 10 PC might be a dumby one, there are about 10 licenses that every win 10 PC thinks it has installed. The actual key is stored on a Microsoft activation server, and provided it thinks PC is activated, you don't need to know it. Someone already said how to reinstall win 10 on a PC its already been installed on, and in that process, you don't need a key.

If you upgraded from an OEM Windows 7, Windows 8 or 8.1 license, these are licenses that come preinstalled on a new computer from a manufacturer, and then your Windows 10 license maintains the OEM rights – cannot be transferred.
Upgrades from win 7 and 8, regardless of if the original licence was tied to a laptop (OEM) , or was just an OEM licence, or retail, can all be transferred to a new PC at least once. The only win 10 licences you cannot move are those in PC pre installed with win 10 and which come from big OEM like Dell or Lenovo

also please answer if installing windows 10 home would actually change the windows pro version to windows home,
If PC came with Home originally and you reinstall it, it should use the key that is tied to PC. See this guide for help: https://forums.tomshardware.com/faq/how-to-do-a-clean-installation-of-windows-10.3170366/
 
Upgrades from win 7 and 8, regardless of if the original licence was tied to a laptop (OEM) , or was just an OEM licence, or retail, can all be transferred to a new PC at least once. The only win 10 licences you cannot move are those in PC pre installed with win 10 and which come from big OEM like Dell or Lenovo
How you figure?

From the Windows 10 End User License Agreement:
4. Transfer. The provisions of this section do not apply if you acquired the software in Germany or in any of the countries listed on this site (aka.ms/transfer), in which case any transfer of the software to a third party, and the right to use it, must comply with applicable law.

a. Software preinstalled on device. If you acquired the software preinstalled on a device (and also if you upgraded from software preinstalled on a device), you may transfer the license to use the software directly to another user, only with the licensed device. The transfer must include the software and, if provided with the device, an authentic Windows label including the product key. Before any permitted transfer, the other party must agree that this agreement applies to the transfer and use of the software.

b. Stand-alone software. If you acquired the software as stand-alone software (and also if you upgraded from software you acquired as stand-alone software), you may transfer the software to another device that belongs to you. You may also transfer the software to a device owned by someone else if (i) you are the first licensed user of the software and (ii) the new user agrees to the terms of this agreement. You may use the backup copy we allow you to make or the media that the software came on to transfer the software. Every time you transfer the software to a new device, you must remove the software from the prior device. You may not transfer the software to share licenses between devices.
 

Colif

Titan
Moderator
Have you tried it? I have helped many people move their win 10 installs in the last 4 years and so far none of them have been rejected based on what the old machine was. Provided it was an upgrade from 7 or 8 in the year it was free.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
A system that was preinstalled with Win 8.1 or previous, and then Upgraded to Win 10....you can indeed transfer that WIn 10 license to new hardware.
The Upgrade does away with the OEMness.

I've personally done it.

A system that was preinstalled with Win 10, no, you can't move that license to different hardware.
 
I will start by saying, I'm not a Microsoft apologist, but I do take a stand against copyright infringement and software piracy.

From the Rules of Conduct:
Violations - It violates the Tom's Hardware Rules of Conduct if you engage in any of the following activity:

2. Promote or encourage activity which is illegal, such as hacking, cracking, scamming.
While the examples given with point 2 don't directly fit the case of this thread, unauthorized copying of software is illegal. Copyright law protects software authors and publishers, just as patent law protects inventors.

I consider encouraging the transfer of a non stand-alone Windows 10 license to be prohibited by point 2 under the Violations section of the Rules of Conduct, as Microsoft has both a restrictive license and does not include allowance for such transfers under the licensing terms required for use of their product. This therefore constitutes non-compliance with the license agreement, as it is using legally-obtained software in a way which falls outside of the license terms.

I would have responded sooner but was waiting for a call-back from MS support staff. The representative didn't add anything to the conversation, just reiterated that if you started with OEM software and upgraded to Windows 10 for free during the 1 year window, you're still bound by the transfer restrictions of your licensing agreement with Microsoft.

Let me attempt to clarify here. Activation and licensing are not one and the same. The two of you (Colif and USAFRet) seem to be confusing or conflating activating with licensing. Just because you can activate Windows 10, does not mean you have a valid license for it.

The Windows 10 license agreement identifies licensing as separate from activation and specifically states that, "Successful activation does not confirm that the software is genuine or properly licensed."
5. Authorized Software and Activation. You are authorized to use this software only if you are properly licensed and the software has been properly activated with a genuine product key or by other authorized method. When you connect to the Internet while using the software, the software will automatically contact Microsoft or its affiliate to conduct activation to associate it with a certain device. You can also activate the software manually by Internet or telephone. In either case, transmission of certain information will occur, and Internet, telephone and SMS service charges may apply. During activation (or reactivation that may be triggered by changes to your device’s components), the software may determine that the installed instance of the software is counterfeit, improperly licensed or includes unauthorized changes. If activation fails, the software will attempt to repair itself by replacing any tampered Microsoft software with genuine Microsoft software. You may also receive reminders to obtain a proper license for the software. Successful activation does not confirm that the software is genuine or properly licensed. You may not bypass or circumvent activation. To help determine if your software is genuine and whether you are properly licensed, see (aka.ms/genuine). Certain updates, support, and other services might only be offered to users of genuine Microsoft software.
You can drive a car without a license, but that doesn't mean it's proper or legal to do so.

There is no direct link between activating and licensing as licensing involves a non-software, paper trail as it were, which the activation process cannot validate to ensure whether your are properly licensed. Activating only validates whether you have a valid key or used another authorized method.

You could steal a valid key and activate just fine. It isn't your key, therefore you do not have a valid license.

You could use a VL key and activate just fine. If the company that paid for the VL key hasn't allowed it's use in this fashion, you do not have a valid license.

I'm sure there are more possible scenarios.

Microsoft is unlikely to close all avenues in which software activation will occur regardless of license status. The MCT (Media Creation Tool) is facilitated by users licensed under the CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) agreement to move to Windows 10, so not-allowing valid Windows 7 - 8.1 version keys to activate would cause endless headaches for Microsoft by preventing valid activations.

So, yes, you may have found a loophole in the activation process, allowing some to move their free Windows 10 upgrade (only a valid license if acquired during the 1 year upgrade window, or using the disability extension program within it's valid time window) from a machine licensed under OEM restrictions to one it is unlicensed for, and it will activate, but you shouldn't do that.

We should not promote methods of getting around proper licensing.

The EULA for Windows 10 is restrictive. Copies not allowed for in the licensing agreement are prohibited, except where local law says otherwise.
2. Installation and Use Rights.

c.
Restrictions. The device manufacturer or installer and Microsoft reserve all rights (such as rights under intellectual property laws) not expressly granted in this agreement. For example, this license does not give you any right to, and you may not:

(iii) transfer the software (except as permitted by this agreement);
I pointed out with my previous post, the copy / transfer allowances made by Microsoft. Nowhere in the Windows 10 licensing agreement is it specified a user may transfer a Windows 10 upgrade license based on preinstalled software.

Stand-alone software products, such as a Retail Upgrade, are specifically covered, and you may transfer the license after deactivating it on the machine it is currently installed on.

I'm open to reasonable counter arguments backed by actual licensing documentation if either of you care to provide it, otherwise my stance on this matter is unchanged. The OP is attempting to transfer his free and legally-obtained Windows 10 upgrade license in a manner that is outside the terms of it's licensing.

Choices available for the OP's new computer are, purchasing an OEM Windows 10 license, which will be permanently bound to that machine, or a Retail Windows 10 license, which he may deactivate on that machine in the future for the purposes of moving the license to another.
 
Reactions: AllanGH

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
A win 10 OEM that you purchase and install is indeed tied to that particular motherboard.
A Win 10 that is preinstalled by the system manufacturer is likewise tied to that system.

A Win 10 that was Upgraded from some previous valid OS, Win 7/8/8.1 is valid to move to different hardware, per Microsofts own instructions.
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/20530/windows-10-reactivating-after-hardware-change

Nowhere in that text does it say anything about OEM or otherwise.
It specifically refers to "digital license". This is linked to you and your Microsoft account, not specific hardware.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Specifically:
Associate your Windows 10 license with your Microsoft account

In Windows 10 (Version 1607 or later), link your Microsoft account to the Windows 10 digital license on your device. Then you can reactivate Windows using the Activation troubleshooter if you make a significant hardware change later.
 
The Microsoft page that quote comes from does not supersede the licensing agreement, nor does it appear to add or subtract from the original agreement. It makes no mention of transfering the license to a new device or PC. That was not the purpose of the article.

One of the purposes of linking the digital entitlement to your Microsoft account was to remediate the requirement of a new license when a motherboard change occurred in a PC, as was necessary with previous Windows editions under OEM licensing, and to facilitate more effective avenues of activation for Microsoft that don't involve telephone support.

Construing a new PC as being nothing more than a significant hardware change for the purposes of licensing seems nothing more than an attempt to game licensing requirements for new PCs.

Finally, at the bottom of the page it is clearly stated:
If you don’t have a product key or digital license
The OP did not have a product key or digital license for his new PC. Only his old one.
If you don't have a product key or digital license, you can purchase a Windows 10 license after installation finishes. Select the Start button, then select Settings > Update & Security > Activation . Then select Go to Store to go to Microsoft Store, where you can purchase a Windows 10 license.

If you need additional help reactivating Windows on your device, contact customer support.
These instructions are for reactivating devices that have a valid Windows 10 license. A new PC that has a valid Windows 10 license is not in question. A new PC that has no license at all can not reactivate a license it was never granted. Microsoft does not offer an upgrade license which doesn't requires a valid license to consume into it's own license. You don't lose license transfer restrictions just because you can get Windows to activate on a different PC.

Transfer rights are specifically laid out in the EULA for Windows, and nowhere does it say a preinstalled copy, non stand-alone, has any.
 
Reactions: AllanGH

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
There are no licenses anymore on consumer machines really. You are reading and referencing OLD documentation and agreements. There is ONLY digital entitlements now, and those are ABSOLUTELY transferable to a new machine so long as the digital entitlement is attached to your MS account and you are not trying to use the same license concurrently on multiple machines. That's the WHOLE REASON they allow you to attach it to an MS account now instead of tying it to the ID string in the BIOS like they used to do.

Get over it. If Microsoft didn't want this happening, it wouldn't be possible. It's THEIR policy, not a work around, crack, illegal loophole or any other type of tomfoolery.

All they care about is that as many people are using Windows 10 as possible. They don't really care how, on what or why. Case in point. The amnesty program. Second case in point, the attachment of the digital entitlement to yourself, rather than to any hardware, as USAFRet already linked you to. It's their policy, not some made up automagical internet urban myth.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
What is the definition of "a new PC"?
Changing the GPU? Adding RAM? Changing the CPU?

If I build from all new parts except the secondary HDD, is that a new system, a significant change, or is it the same system?

Generally, Microsoft considers the motherboard as the key component. Change that, and it is a 'significant change'.

The words you quote, "digital license" is the core factor here. That license is tied to a Microsoft account, not specific hardware.
They added this in with the v1607 release.
If Microsoft wants this function to not work, they can remove it from the OS functionality.

Not all Win 10 license types will report as a digital license.
Note that this does not work with Enterprise/VLK, Edu, or Win 7, or Win 8, or anything previous to Win 10 v1607.


Lastly, I'm not quite sure what your beef is with this.
Does Microsoft say this works? Yes
Does Microsoft advertise doing this? Yes, from the link above.
Does it actually work? Yes.

For whatever financial reasons they have, Microsoft allows this. It is apparently in their best interest to let people move that OS license and activation from System A to System B.
Rather than trying to force people to purchase a whole new license for any hardware change. Knowing that people would not do that, resulting in rampant piracy.
Said piracy resulting in a wider pool of virused up systems. Which would reflect badly upon Microsoft.

The same as the original published cutoff date for the "Free Upgrade from Win 7 or 8" is long gone. But it still works.
It is in their best financial interest to allow it.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Not to mention the fact that MANY of Microsoft's partners, whom Microsoft DOES sell licenses to, also sell hardware, and when they are NOT selling hardware because people don't want to have to buy another license, those partners get mad. At who? At Microsoft, because they know the reason many of those system upgrades or new hardware sales didn't happen (In the past, before the change of policy) was because nobody wanted a new motherboard to cost 300 dollar instead of 200 dollars, after you factored in the cost of a new Windows license.

The money they make through the licensing agreements with all these OEMs and hardware manufacturers is magnitudes more than anything they might ever make selling individual licenses to consumers. So, you do the math. Make pocket change and keep a tight leash, or loosen things up so our partners are all happy and willing to continue doing business with us. It is, aside from the idea that they want everybody on 10 so they can mine their personal data, at least a consideration in the reasons behind why policy had to change.

It's hard to live in a neighborhood when you know all the other home owners hate you.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY