Windows 10 Fresh install

ImToppen

Commendable
Jun 2, 2016
7
0
1,510
0
3 months ago i got a pc and got windows 10 on it, didnt give any key and it was kinda "free" and now im fresh installing windows 10 when im upgrading my cpu motherboard and ram. and since the free upgrade is over do i have to get a key now?
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
If your previous installation was correctly activated on your motherboard, the license key should have been linked to your motherboard's signature and you shouldn't need the activation key.

When in doubt, install on a spare HDD/SSD to test it out so you can revert to your old HDD/SSD if something goes wrong.
 

The Techmeister

Commendable
Oct 25, 2016
123
0
1,760
36
No, it should auto automatically activate since it was pre-installed. If not, check inside your PC of on the bottom for a label. It should have a key on it for activating Windows. If there is no key whatsoever, you can buy a Windows license on Kinguin for $30.
 

Barty1884

Titan
Moderator


Possibly.
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/20530/windows-10-reactivating-after-hardware-change

Ensure you're on build 1607 or greater, and tie your Digital Entitlement to your MS account.

Once you replace the CPU/Mobo/RAM, resinstall the OS, skip where it asks you for a key & log in with the same MS account. You'll probably have to use the 'activation troubleshooter'.

No guarantees, as it's still about as clear as mud - CPU/MOBO/RAM used to constitute a new 'system', and it may or may not today.

Best case, you follow MS's guide, and it activates (probably after using the troubleshooter).

Worst case, you have to buy a new license.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
Oh, wait, you bought a pre-built PC three months ago and you are changing everything already? The pre-installed Windows would be OEM, tied to the original motherboard and be no good to you. OEM licenses die with the original motherboard, although people have had some degree of success with having OEM copies re-activated by phone by claiming that the new parts are due to a repair.
 

Barty1884

Titan
Moderator
I don't think that's strictly true any longer IE?

For example, OEM W7 licenses became 'digital entitlement' after upgrading to W10 - no different than a prebuilt, retail etc.
At the time Windows 10 launched, it was pretty clear than the upgrade would take on the rights of the original (so OEM W7 became OEM W10 etc), but that hasn't proved to be strictly true - as you can still upgrade the motherboard and activate with an OEM license.

Looking at the link I provided earlier too (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/20530/windows-10-reactivating-after-hardware-change) there's no distinction there - W10 is W10 after build 1607 (assuming Home/Pro etc is consistent) - but a "significant hardware change" could mean all bets are off. Mobo/CPU/RAM is about as significant as you get - you'd be pretty hard pressed to claim it's the same 'device'
 

Colif

Titan
Moderator
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-3164428/windows-build-1607-activation.html

1607 ties Digital entitlement to Email address, not hardware.

Win 7 retail upgraded to win 10 just became home, that was a bit unfair.

OEM just lets you swap more hardware but retail is still better if you want to move it completely. If anything, it should not have that restriction about significant changes, you should be able to swap whatever you like on the retail copy - I don't have one to test.
 

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