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Rokkaholik

Windows 10 FREE Upgrade Version Reinstall

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On my vacation coming up, I'm going to be redoing my PC. The Windows 10 I have was the free upgrade version they had from 7, 8, and 8.1 a couple years ago, although I did download the ISO Image right from Microsoft and did a fresh install of it (not upgraded from 7), and then used my Windows 7 key to activate it.

 

Silly question....

 

 

When I redo it next week, Will my Windows 7 key still activate Windows 10 or will it throw a mild tantrum?

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Whenever I reinstall Windows 10 I just install it without a serial key and login with my Microsoft account. So if you linked your Microsoft account you probably won't need a serial key.

 

This might have the answer you're looking for: https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-windows_install/how-to-re-install-windows-10-without-a-product-key/523e6231-88bf-4764-8235-412f2bfc257e?auth=1

Edited by WhenKittensATK

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If you upgraded the same hardware you have now you can reinstall with the newest Windows 10 ISO and NOT use a key 99% of the time (just be sure to select the proper version) and it will activate when online giving a message of "Windows is activated with a digital license"

 

If you used the Windows 7 key on the same hardware that should still be an option again now, it may also work with dissimilar hardware assuming it was a retail Windows 7 key

 

If you use a Microsoft account that adds another layer of activation records that should allow you to activate the same hardware again.

 

Overall it's pretty straight forward and if you don't mind some extra hassle you can actually still do a free upgrade today, or at least it still worked last week for me.   It requires the original Windows 10 ISO upgrading over a legit windows 7/8/8.1 install with the internet disabled until the windows 10 upgrade is complete. 

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My Win 7 install was one from when I was in school back in 2009 (When 7 was released). I used it up until the last week Win 10 was being given for FREE upgrades and I finally did it. I didn't just "upgrade" the 7 that was installed, but rather went to the Microsoft site and downloaded the FULL version ISO and installed that and activated it using my Win 7 key. I remember it saying something like my new Win 10 was now associated to the key now and Win7 would no longer work, etc... blah blah blah...lol

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How did your reinstall go? Any tips/pitfalls encountered for people wanting to do the same?

 

I have a Win 10 machine too (upgraded for free from Windows 7). I'm thinking of getting a new mobo+CPU+RAM, but keeping all the other components (GPU, SSD, keyboard, mouse, monitor). Is there any chance I'd be able to keep using the same free Win 10 license?

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I held off because I won a new video card in the christmas contest. Once I get it, I'll reinstall everything new

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I've done multiple re-installs on three different PCs at home using ISOs I created from the Media Creation Utility.  These installs have included release versions 1511, 1607 and 1703.  Haven't tried it with branch 1709 yet though.  Regardless of the machine, or Windows 10 release version, every one of them has activated automatically without issue.  All three of these machines began life as Windows 7 Pro operating systems.  In my gaming machine I've even changed SSD Arrays and reinstalled Windows 10 without issue.

 

The only horror story I've personally experienced was with a motherboard replacement of a co-worker.  His upgrade of Windows 10 would not reactivate after changing the motherboard.  He even went as far as calling MS and was essentially told he was SOL in this situation.

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I've done multiple re-installs on three different PCs at home using ISOs I created from the Media Creation Utility.  These installs have included release versions 1511, 1607 and 1703.  Haven't tried it with branch 1709 yet though.  Regardless of the machine, or Windows 10 release version, every one of them has activated automatically without issue.  All three of these machines began life as Windows 7 Pro operating systems.  In my gaming machine I've even changed SSD Arrays and reinstalled Windows 10 without issue.

 

The only horror story I've personally experienced was with a motherboard replacement of a co-worker.  His upgrade of Windows 10 would not reactivate after changing the motherboard.  He even went as far as calling MS and was essentially told he was SOL in this situation.

 

I guess a motherboard change is considered too big a change, requiring a new OS license?

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I've done multiple re-installs on three different PCs at home using ISOs I created from the Media Creation Utility.  These installs have included release versions 1511, 1607 and 1703.  Haven't tried it with branch 1709 yet though.  Regardless of the machine, or Windows 10 release version, every one of them has activated automatically without issue.  All three of these machines began life as Windows 7 Pro operating systems.  In my gaming machine I've even changed SSD Arrays and reinstalled Windows 10 without issue.

 

The only horror story I've personally experienced was with a motherboard replacement of a co-worker.  His upgrade of Windows 10 would not reactivate after changing the motherboard.  He even went as far as calling MS and was essentially told he was SOL in this situation.

 

I guess a motherboard change is considered too big a change, requiring a new OS license?

 

 

I have no idea to what extent Microsoft collects your hardware data during the update and activation phases.  But I'm guessing that the data set is pretty extensive and activation is somehow closely tied to information that they have retrieved about the motherboard.  If this had been a retail copy reinstall I told my co-worker that I would have raised hell, but since it was the upgrade I wasn't sure there was much he could do.

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You will be fine as long as you have logged into your MS account from that rig. Microsoft have moved more into the data mining business and away from the straight software revenue model with strict serial key rules that used to cause issues with hardware upgrades.

 

FWIW, while not applicable to you since you have a valid copy, a lot of people do not realize Windows10 is basically "nagware". I have two rigs in my office running clean downloads of Win10 direct from Microsoft, never activated.  Been like that for months. They have the watermarks but there is no time limit, all updates and upgrades work as expected, and there is no loss of features like on prior versions. This makes it perfect for those who just need a spare rig for kids or an HTPC. Everything works besides a few quirks like "Personalization" menu is disabled for themes and such (but you can still change a wallpaper by opening the image and right-click>set as wallpaper), and the desktop/settings sync between devices are disabled so profiles and settings won't auto sync between your other W10 machines. Trivial things that do not limit the functionality. There are NO fullscreen popups or time gates bugging you to activate - just the faint watermark on the desktop, and once I got a tooltip notification but it never came back after clearing.

 

Older versions would not function after 30 days without a valid CD Key.

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