Windows 10: Re-installing Windows 10, Licence/Activation question?

Discus and support Re-installing Windows 10, Licence/Activation question? in Windows 10 Updates and Activation to solve the problem; So I have Windows 10 Pro on my main PC, I got it via the free upgrade as I was previously on Windows 7 Ultimate. Now I have purchased a SSD so need... Discussion in 'Windows 10 Updates and Activation' started by H3X1C, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. H3X1C Win User

    Re-installing Windows 10, Licence/Activation question?

    So I have Windows 10 Pro on my main PC, I got it via the free upgrade as I was previously on Windows 7 Ultimate.

    Now I have purchased a SSD so need to re-install Windows 10 how would I go about doing this? or can I not as the free upgrade window has closed?

    H3X1C, Sep 9, 2016
  2. suat.cini Win User

    I build my PC's - what happens when I want to upgrade to a new motherboard and want a fresh installation of Windows?

    As far as I know, after installing and activating your Windows 10, replacing motherboard will violate your licence and you will have to buy a new licence Replacing the HDD/SSD will not violate the licence and you will continue using your already-activated Windows
    10 freely even if it is re-installed ( because it will re-activate ).
    suat.cini, Sep 9, 2016
  3. Windows 10 activation.

    I had an activated Windows 10 Pro 64 machine.

    The motherboard died, and I bought another machine, itself with an activated licence (also Windows 10 Pro 64).

    I expected to swap over my old boot disc into the new hardware, and for it to be re-activated with the new licence.

    It refuses to do that. My old boot disc has lots of applications I don't wish to re-install.
    NormanAdlam, Sep 9, 2016
  4. Grizzly Win User

    Re-installing Windows 10, Licence/Activation question?

    Since you got it for free, your PC is registered with Microsoft under the "Digital Entitlement". All you have to do is install your system but skip the license key. At the end it will be automatically activated..


    Change of a HDD should not be an issue with the activation
    Grizzly, Sep 9, 2016
  5. AndreTen Win User
    Hi H3X1C!

    As Grizzly mentioned, you have activated Windows 10 and that license is granted.

    You have two basic choices for transferring Windows to new SSD: imaging old hard drive (Macrium reflect is often recommended here) or performing clean install. You can get Windows 10 media on Microsoft site (look for tutorial here) or check your drive for installation files.
    I would prefer clean installation.

    Good luck.
    AndreTen, Sep 9, 2016
  6. H3X1C Win User
    Thanks allot, that's surprisingly simple, il give it a go on my new drive but keep my old install for a while just to be sure it's all working *Smile
    H3X1C, Sep 9, 2016
  7. shimshom Win User
    Also just in case see below from an article I found a while ago

    If you have the windows old activated just copy




    And reboot.

    Extra steps
    Here is some information about how to successfully backup and restore Windows 10 activation when installed through what Microsoft calls "digital entitlement", i. e. having used the free upgrade offer from a previous Windows version.

    It is mainly intended for advanced users with interest in and basic knowledge about how Windows activation works, and to understand everything you should be familiar with the registry, command line and access rights.

    As you may already know, having once activated Windows online with a digital entitlement you can always do clean installs through a Windows 10 DVD afterwards without entering a product key, and when connecting to the Internet Windows verifies that it was installed on the same hardware and automatically activate again.

    There is however a way to backup this activation information and after a clean install restore it completely offline, without the need of going online once.

    Those who have already experimented with methods that were valid on earlier Windows versions up to 8.1, or used activation backup and restore tools for these versions, will have come to the conclusion that these methods do not work with Windows 10's digital entitlement - Windows always insists on connecting to the Internet once for activation.

    Still the files that contain activation information and need to be backed up and restored are:

    The trick is now that in Windows 10 there is an additional registry key that needs to be backed up and restored as well - and also this key is not accessible by normal means.

    The key in question is:

    When you run Regedit and navigate to said key, you will get an "Access denied" message. Furthermore you will be unable to take ownership or change permissions of that key.

    To see its contents and be able to backup and restore it, Regedit must be run with SYSTEM access rights. This can for example be done by downloading the PsTools from Microsoft, then on the command line execute: psexec -i -s regedit.exe
    Now you will be able to access the above key and its subkeys, and export it to a .reg file.

    After doing a clean install (on the same hardware!), the procedure to restore activation information is:
    - Stop the software licensing service on the command line: net stop sppsvc
    - Copy back the three .dat files to their respective locations
    - Run psexec -i -s regedit.exe again and import the previously backed-up .reg file
    - Restart the computer.

    Now test if it works by either going to Windows Activation in PC settings, or by executing the following command on the command line: slmgr /xpr
    If all went well Windows will tell you it is permanently activated.
    shimshom, Apr 5, 2018

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