Move your Windows 10 License to a New Computer

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If you plan on switching PCs – let’s say you just built a custom machine which is better than the Windows 10 PC you purchased recently – depending upon the type of Windows 10 license you have installed, you might be able to transfer it to the new computer. Nowadays, new computers often come preinstalled with an OEM license. There are many other channels that Microsoft distributes Windows, and these include; Retail, Volume License, Academic, and subgroups such as Upgrade licenses. In July 2015, Microsoft launched Windows 10, offering it to qualifying PC’s and devices running Windows 7 or Windows 8 for free, for a limited time.

How to check if your Windows 10 License can be Transferred

First, Find out what type of license you have installed

The Windows 10 upgrade cannot be considered as a full version in certain areas. Windows 10 free upgrade does have some restrictions.

  • If you upgraded from a retail copy of Windows 7, Windows 8 or 8.1, the Windows 10 license carries the retail rights from which it was derived.
  • If you upgraded from an OEM Windows 7, Windows 8 or 8.1 license, these are licenses that come preinstalled on a new computer from a manufacturer, and then your Windows 10 license maintains the OEM rights.

A lot of articles discuss that with the release of Windows 10 November update, 1511, Microsoft made modifications to the channel license. Prior to the update, you could identify the channel from which the licenses were derived by issuing a particular Windows command. The November Update now describes all licenses upgraded, whether full package or OEM as retail. Even though your free upgrade to Windows 10 from an OEM Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 is now identified as retail, it is still an OEM license.

This will affect the rights to what you can do with the license. If it is a retail license, you can continue to make hardware modifications to your system as much as you want such as changing the motherboard or move it to a different computer. But for an OEM version, if you change the motherboard, automatically, your free upgrade will be invalidated; meaning, now you will have to purchase a new full retail Windows 10 license.

Removing the License to Transfer to Another Computer

To move a Windows 10 retail license, or the free upgrade from a retail version of Windows 7 or 8.1, the existing license can no longer be in active use on a PC. Microsoft does not provide a deactivate option in any Windows version. Instead, you have two options to choose from:

  • Uninstalling the product key – this is the closest to deactivating License in Windows. However, this method does not inform the Activation Servers at Microsoft that the license is no longer in use on the particular machine. It will avoid conflicts in future if the Activation Servers at Microsoft were to detect the license in use on more than one system.
  • Format the computer – this option will ensure that the license is no longer in use on the computer. However, It will require you to remove everything from your PC. (Make sure you have your data backed up somewhere safe). To do so, you can use the convenient Reset option in Windows 10 do this.

How to Uninstall Windows 10 Product Key from the current computer

  • Press Windows key + X then click Command Prompt (Admin).
  • At the command prompt, enter the following command: vbs /upk

This command will uninstall the product key, which will free the license or the product key for use on another computer.

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Now you are free to transfer your license to another computer. From the release of the November Update, Microsoft made the activation of Windows 10 more convenient. You cannot activate it using just your Windows 8 or Windows 7 product key.

When you get a prompt during setup to enter a product key, click on “I don’t have a product key”. If you have a full version Windows 10 (license/key) bought at a store, you can enter the product key.

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Select the Edition You’re Licensed for:

Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Windows 8.1 Core: Windows 10 Home

Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, Windows 8.1 Pro: Windows 10 Pro

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You will be prompted again for a product key by Windows 10 setup, during the Out of Box Experience. Click on Do this later if you are using a Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 product key to activate Windows 10. If you have a full version Windows 10 license bought at a store, you may enter the product key for activation.

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To Reactivate the License follow:

Once you are at the desktop screen, you will be required to re-enter your product key.

  • Press Windows key + X then click Command Prompt (Admin).
  • At the command prompt, enter the following command:

slmgr.vbs /ipk xxxxx- xxxxx- xxxxx- xxxxx- xxxxx. 

  • Note: “x” represents you product key.
  • Hit Enter on your keyboard; you will receive a confirmation the product key was updated.
  • Close the command prompt and then proceed to reactivate by telephone or Contact Support.

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Since the Windows 10 license we are trying to use was previously in use on another computer, you will be required to reactivate by telephone or Contact Support.

  • Press Windows key + R then typeexe 4
  • Then hit Enter on your keyboard.

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You will now get an activation wizard. Choose your country and click Next.7

Call on the number that you see on the Activation screen or launch Contact Support to explain your situation to the Microsoft Answer Tech over the phone; She/he will ask for Installation ID that you see on screen and help you further in activation.

The agent will verify your product key, then provide a confirmation ID for reactivating Windows 10.

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With the new updates at Microsoft Support, it works smoothly especially with the new chat support option in Windows 10.

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Still stuck? Ask your question in our forum!
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