Windows 10: Windows 10 hardware upgrade has major problem

Discus and support Windows 10 hardware upgrade has major problem in Windows 10 Installation and Upgrade to solve the problem; Warning: DO NOT upgrade the hardware on your Windows 10 machine. There is a serious issue with Windows 10 activation. Background: I upgraded my... Discussion in 'Windows 10 Installation and Upgrade' started by TRW, Oct 3, 2015.

  1. TRW
    TRW Win User

    Windows 10 hardware upgrade has major problem

    Warning: DO NOT upgrade the hardware on your Windows 10 machine.

    There is a serious issue with Windows 10 activation.

    Background: I upgraded my main system from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and it activated fine -- no problems. Last week I upgraded my hardware, from an old LGA-775 Intel quad-core to a new AMD 6350 with new motherboard and memory. I also upgraded the hard drive to an SSD.

    To transfer my system, I cloned the original hard drive to the SSD, installed the SSD in the new system, and booted it up. I did this to avoid having to locate and re-install all my applications (several days work) and everything works fine except that Windows is not activated. Fair enough -- I've changed the hardware and I understand that. I've been through this with previous versions of Windows and all I had to do was phone Microsoft and report the change and they activated my new system.

    It seems that with Windows 10, this has become impossible. I've called Microsoft support a couple of times and the bottom line seems to be that I have to re-install Windows 7 and then re-install the Windows 10 upgrade. Then I have to find all the apps I had installed and re-install them -- many days work!

    Also, I have several different Windows 7 machines which have all been upgraded to Windows 10 and I would have a hard time figuring out which Windows 7 license goes with which system. All machines had been running Windows 7 since soon after it first came out, so it's hard to remember. It seems that the Windows 10 upgrade wipes the Windows 7 license, so how am I supposed to figure out which Windows 7 to use?

    So unless I can find the Windows 7 license key within Windows 10 (and I haven't found any way to do that), I don't know which Windows 7 license to use! What Microsoft is asking is difficult, if not impossible.

    It seems that Microsoft haven't thought this through. Will they still expect Windows 10 users to go through the re-install two years down the road? At that point no-one will have any idea where the original Windows 7 license is, and will probably have thrown out their Windows 7 DVD. Plus Windows 10 will no longer be a free upgrade, so good luck with getting the re-install done without buying a Windows 10 license!

    On the other hand, If Microsoft has a plan to permit hardware upgrades two years down the road, why can't they implement that plan now?

    I understand that Microsoft is concerned about piracy, but they need to accommodate genuine users too.

    In summary, even if I could figure out the license mess, I really don't want to re-install everything, and I'm sure there are many others who feel the same way. Time for MIcrosoft to admit they messed up and fix the problem. And quickly. If I have to try to do this Microsoft's way, I'll be investigating Linux desktops first. At least they upgrade cleanly with minimal issues.


  2. Windows 10 major hardware changes.

    I recently was informed that while on windows 10 if any major hardware changes are made, there could be problems that follow. Now from what I read, no one said anything about GPU's. So is it safe to upgrade my gpu while in windows 10 or should I downgrade
    to Windows 7 and then upgrade back to windows 10?
    BigToastZT, Oct 3, 2015
  3. BulldogXX Win User
    Windows 10 Update

    The Professional version of Windows 10 allows you to delay receiving updates for months, however updates are part of Windows 10 - not something extra that's being 'forced' on you - so they can't be disabled.

    If you have the Home version of Windows 10, congratulations, you're a beta tester. A hundred bucks will upgrade you to Professional.

    The ability to delay updates is vital for (at least) two reasons:

    1- The common wisdom has always been to delay installing major upgrades for several months to allow early adopters and corporate testers - and fools - an opportunity to uncover any initial problems, and allow Microsoft an opportunity to fix them (or cook
    up an excuse.) Windows 10 gets two major upgrades per year.

    2- Since upgrades are part of the operating system, it's only a matter of time before hardware ages out of manufacturer support and stops working properly, or at all. The opportunity to delay upgrades gives us time to try to replace the unsupported hardware
    with replacements that manufacturers still support or, ultimately, to buy a new computer.
    BulldogXX, Oct 3, 2015
  4. NavyLCDR New Member

    Windows 10 hardware upgrade has major problem

    If you Windows 7 product keys were for OEM licenses, then it is illegal to move those Windows 7 to your new computer anyway....

    Use Showkey plus from this forum. It will tell you the license key of the OS that the Windows 10 was upgraded from.

    And Microsoft is making it difficult, if not impossible, to move your Windows 10 to a new computer because they never offered to give you Windows 10 for a new computer for free. They only promised to upgrade an existing computer running Windows 7/8/8.1 to Windows 10 for free. They are getting better at enforcing the EULA.
    NavyLCDR, Oct 4, 2015
  5. hawkman Win User
    As the system is a self build ,its unlikely that its an OEM license,
    I have also seen a post on this forum which was "lifted" from an Official MS source, that even motherboard changes are now deemed acceptable.

    hawkman, Oct 4, 2015
  6. NavyLCDR New Member
    People buy OEM licenses for home built systems all the time because they are cheaper.

    Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit SP1 Full Version Upgrade Win 10 | eBay

    A motherboard replacement with the same type done as a repair for a failed motherboard is an entirely different matter than making a new computer with a new motherboard, new CPU, and new RAM - even if other used parts from an older system is used.
    NavyLCDR, Oct 4, 2015
  7. Normal hardware upgrades should not be an issue. Swapping Video cards, RAM, hard drive etc. Swapping the motherboard CPU to an entirely different chip-set is almost always going to affect activation. Regardless of the version of Windows installed. Failed activation should not have been a surprise in this situation. The digital entitlement you got through the free upgrade is tied to your other hardware. Basically you took your hard drive from one PC to another. There is no record of activation for that new hardware on the activation server so it will fail activation. As mentioned, you need to redo the free upgrade on the new hardware, or buy a new license for Windows 10 on that PC.
    alphanumeric, Oct 4, 2015
  8. TRW
    TRW Win User

    Windows 10 hardware upgrade has major problem

    Let me reply to a few of these posts:

    1. My licenses are not OEM licenses, and I'm not, of course continuing to run the old PC.

    2. I have not read the entire EULA recently (who has?) but my understanding is that a Windows license is a license to run Windows on one computer -- not one specific computer. So long as the license is being used on only one computer at a time, it's valid. Thus issues about changes to hardware are irrelevant. This has always been the case in the past (except for OEM licenses, as noted) and Microsoft implicitly agrees with this by their suggestion that I do a clean install of Windows 7 on the new machine and then upgrade it to Windows 10.

    3. As my original post stated, I fully realize that changing the hardware will require a re-activation. I've done this several times before with no problems. I go back to Windows 3.1, and DOS before that. I was not surprised that the upgraded system required reactivation. My objection is that Microsoft's policy is totally out to lunch.

    Microsoft's solution would force me to re-install all my applications, which is what I'm objecting to. There has to be a better way and Microsoft is going to tick off a lot of customers if they continue to insist on this procedure. Also, as I pointed out previously, this procedure will not work (except if you buy a new Windows 10 license) once Windows 10 is no longer a free upgrade and this is going to tick off even more customers.
  9. NavyLCDR New Member
    Run winver (either from a command prompt or run dialog). Click on the link for Terms and Conditions or Licensed to, can't remember which. Read paragraph 4.b of the EULA. Call Microsoft and point that out to them and ask them to honor it and see what they say. Keep moving up the Microsoft chain until you get someone that acknowledges that you are right.
    NavyLCDR, Oct 4, 2015
  10. spapakons Win User
    Well, I have successfully transferred earlier Windows installations from an old machine to the new, but the new machine was similar to the old. This means you upgrade your old Pentium 4 to a new Core i3, but both the old chipset and the new chipset are Intel (same OEM), both CPUs are Intel (same OEM) and the disk stays the same. Your upgrade was completely different hardware! Different chipset OEM, different CPU OEM etc! This was basically like cloning your activated Windows 10 hard disk and give it to a friend and expect to work! It wont! In earlier Windows versions you would get a nice BSOD that no repair could be done to fix it, unless of course you had some way to remove all devices from the system and let Windows identify the new devices (that was the case in Windows 95, 98 and XP). Windows 10 has built-in drivers for most hardware hence you don't get a BSOD but you cannot legaly activate it, unless you activate by phone and can convice Microsoft that your old Intel system died and you bought a new AMD one.

    So it is a good idea to upgrade to a new computer and keep your Windows installation in order to avoid all the trouble involved with a clean install, but beware not to make the new computer too different from the old! If it is Intel, keep it Intel, the same goes with AMD. The less pronounced the difference the greater chance you have to make your old Windows installation work without changes (apart from installing new drivers, of course). I speak of experience.

    End result: Of course you can upgrade your old computer but don't change it completely! Keep chipset and CPU manufacturer the same (from Intel to Intel or AMD to AMD). Keep changes to the minimum. If possible connect the old disk and activate Windows before cloning and replacing it with a new disk.
    spapakons, Oct 4, 2015
  11. CountMike New Member
    Starting with Windows 10, license is tied to MB/BIOS and is kept at MS. That's why they insist on upgrading from eligible Windows version. Free, limited time offer to upgrade from 7/8.1 does not need serial numbers to be entered even for Retail version, it's tied up to your "major component", meaning MB/Bios. I agree that MS should have made it easier to transfer full retail license to another computer/major component but that's how they chose to do it.
    Good part of it is that you don't need any additional steps to cleanly reinstall OS on same machine because data is kept on MS server.
    You can skip full W7/8.1 installation by using this guide: Clean Install Windows 10 Directly without having to Upgrade First - Windows 10 Forums[2]=Installation%20and%20Setup
    You'll still have to reinstall all of your programs of course.
    My opinion is that it should be preferable way in your case because of very different HW you are installing on and your old Windows may have hard time to adjust to it. There are also multiple problems reported when upgrading so clean install is much better way to go albeit more work.
    MS policy in that matter may change after free upgrade offer expires and/or enough people badger them into it.
    CountMike, Oct 5, 2015
  12. TRW
    TRW Win User
    Well I finally got it fixed. Thank you, NavyLCDR for pointing me to the Showkey plus application. I was able to use it to find my Windows 7 key, and with that and a (finally) helpful Microsoft rep., I finally got Microsoft to issue me a new Windows 10 licence and get my Windows copy activated.

    It's not an easy process and I'm amazed (well not really) that Microsoft support don't make it any easier -- they apparently don't know about Showkey plus and weren't able to tell me how to find the Windows 7 key.

    As an aside, I had googled how to find the Windows 7 key, but had not come across Showkey plus. I also searched the registry for the key, but could only find the Windows 10 key. I wonder where they keep the old Windows 7 key. Maybe it's encrypted.

    Finally, I have to say that most of the responses to this thread were unhelpful and/or just wrong. I'm continually surprised (well not really) at the number of people who speak so authoritatively about things the know little about or haven't bothered to understand the actual problem.
  13. NavyLCDR New Member

    Windows 10 hardware upgrade has major problem

    Microsoft is working to fix the situation. With insider build 10565, they are allowing activation by manually entering a Windows 7/8/8.1 Product Key. Hopefully this gets incorporated in the major Windows 10 update release they are saying will happen in November.

    Glad I could help solve your problem. Showkey Plus has several unique features that other product key sniffers do not have - the ability to read the product key that was previously used for an upgrade, the ability to read a product key from a back-up image, and the ability to manually enter a product key and it will tell you what version of Windows 7/8/8.1/10 it is for.

    Superfly gets all the credit for Showkey Plus. He's pretty amazing when it comes to Product Key stuff.
    NavyLCDR, Oct 16, 2015
  14. spapakons Win User
    Microsoft knew about Showkey, but since such utilities can be used to discover a legit key and attempt to use it in another Windows installation, they certainly don't want you to know. An other way would be to use Aida64. It is a utility that shows a lot of info about your hardware and software. The key (along with much more information) is displayed at the Operating System section. I frequently use it to identify unknown hardware, so I can download drivers for it. It is very helpful as it can identify all devices without having to install drivers first.
    spapakons, Apr 4, 2018

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