Windows 10: 8 -> 8.1 -> 10: The Evolution of Activation Keys

Discus and support 8 -> 8.1 -> 10: The Evolution of Activation Keys in Windows 10 Updates and Activation to solve the problem; Hi everyone I'll preface this question with a simple disclaimer: every Microsoft product I've ever used is legit, paid for, updated in a timely... Discussion in 'Windows 10 Updates and Activation' started by Mafman, Jul 4, 2015.

  1. Mafman Win User

    8 -> 8.1 -> 10: The Evolution of Activation Keys


    Hi everyone

    I'll preface this question with a simple disclaimer: every Microsoft product I've ever used is legit, paid for, updated in a timely manner, etc. I've also been using the same homebuilt PC all this time, so nothing has changed, physically. With that out of the way...

    Pre-ordered Windows 8 (Pro) directly from Microsoft for $39.99 back in the day and that came with a Product Activation Key. When Windows 8.1 was first released, I downloaded it through the Windows app store, and could not activate it with my 8 Pro key. The advice was to use a particular generic activation code (See Post #1 in THIS thread for an example. )

    Fast forward to today, where I've wiped my computer numerous times and am currently running Windows 10 (10162) with a generic activation number.

    Any ideas what I can do, or may have to do, in order to fully update and activate Windows 10 when it's released? To the best of my knowledge I don't have a unique 8.1 code, and my old Windows 8 isn't currently in use.

    The reinstall/upgrade path was tricky during some of the transitions these last few years. Worried about what sort of hoops I may have to jump through at the end of this month.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much,

    Mike

    :)
     
    Mafman, Jul 4, 2015
    #1

  2. My Windows 10 is asking me to activate it but it says my product key is invalid

    Is this a new purchase of Windows 10 or you upgraded from Window 7/8/8.1 to Windows 10 or Windows 10 came preinstalled on your computer?

    Also try Windows 10 activation troubleshooter

    Windows Key+I > Update & security > Activation > Troubleshoot
     
    E for Excel, Jul 4, 2015
    #2
  3. Activate Windows error after hard drive changes in Windows 10

    If you move Windows 10 to a new PC then you need to reactivate it:

    For paid retail Windows 10 just reinsert the Product key in Activation settings.

    For free Upgrade, confirm you have Version 1511 at Settings>System>About, then insert a
    retail Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 Product key at the link there.

    If the PC it was moved from came with Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 installed at factory or was Builder's OEM then it's Key cannot be used to activate on another PC.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Greg Carmack - Windows MVP, Jul 4, 2015
    #3
  4. Mystere Win User

    8 -> 8.1 -> 10: The Evolution of Activation Keys

    That's not a generic activation code. That's a generic *INSTALLATION* code, then you have to use your Windows 8 code to activate.

    The problem is that the installation program doesn't recognize Windows 8 codes, but the Activate dialog does. Your copy of Windows is still using your Windows 8 key.
     
    Mystere, Jul 4, 2015
    #4
  5. Mafman Win User
    Thanks Mystere, but I'm not certain I understand. Ultimately my Windows 10 was installed fresh and not as an update, so I never used my old Windows 8 key, and definitely not a Windows 8.1 key.

    With the newest 10 build(s), I had to use another, 2nd, key (as seen HERE) and a minor hack to activate, but even now, it shows my copy is activated (All Settings > Activation = Edition: Windows 10 Pro Insider Edition - Windows is Activated).

    Is my old Windows 8 key tied to my Microsoft account and keeping me activated? Or am I, at this point and time, misrepresenting my account through openly shared keys? That's where my initial concern/confusion lay.

    Sorry for being dense!
     
    Mafman, Jul 4, 2015
    #5
  6. Mystere Win User
    I was correcting you that you did not activate Windows 8.1 with a generic key. There's no such thing as a generic 8.1 activation key. There is a generic 8.1 *INSTALLATION* key, but this does not activate your copy of 8.1, it only allows you to get it installed. You then have to use your original Windows 8 key to activate your Windows 8.1. I said nothing about Windows 10.

    You are using the beta keys to activate Windows 10, and as long as you stay in the Windows Insider program, you can keep doing that. But if you want to install Windows 10 without staying in the program, you will need your original Windows 8 licensed copy to be upgraded.
     
    Mystere, Jul 4, 2015
    #6
  7. bagavan Win User
    Due to this very reason I reverted back to my original 8.1 using my system image.
     
    bagavan, Jul 4, 2015
    #7
  8. Mafman Win User

    8 -> 8.1 -> 10: The Evolution of Activation Keys

    Mystere,

    I get it now. I appreciate the fuller explanation. Now I'm looking forward to July 29th, the upgrade trepidation is gone.

    Thank you.

    Mike
     
    Mafman, Jul 4, 2015
    #8
  9. So one question I have is can you upgrade a current licensed version of 8.1 to the 10240 that has been released and it basically be the same as the update they are going to release on 7/29 or is it best to wait?
     
    rayman4449, Jul 21, 2015
    #9
  10. Mystere Win User
    We don't know... it may well be the same version. Or it might not... we'll have to see.
     
    Mystere, Jul 21, 2015
    #10
  11. swarfega Win User
    I suggest waiting, its not long now.
     
    swarfega, Jul 21, 2015
    #11
  12. frankws Win User
    I purchased win 8 for an old Dell laptop because it boots up so quickly.
    I updated it to 8.1 but do not remember having to use a key # to activate it.
    I recently updated it to the windows 10 insider addition and did not enter any key for that either.
    Do you only need a key if you are doing a clean install?
     
    frankws, Apr 5, 2018
    #12
Thema:

8 -> 8.1 -> 10: The Evolution of Activation Keys

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