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Win 10 Linking to Account

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Apparently windows are stopping free upgrades to 10, but more interestingly for me will tie the windows key to your account rather than the motherboard.


This could save me £109 as my current laptop has a fault on the motherboard, and I'll either be replacing it or getting a new one this summer.

However, my current key is a Dell OEM key. Does anyone know if when this change happens, I'll be able to change from a Dell laptop to another dell, or even to a different manufacturer?



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I Think this is a good idea.  There is a major flaw that occurs when embedding the OEM key into the BIOS, one that I came across in a recent project that I was in charge of.  I was tasked with deploying a Windows 10 custom image I had created to numerous Lenovo tablet devices, which had UEFI firmware and the OEM key embedded in the BIOS.  During the process, I found that Windows 10 was failing to activate on the devices to which I had deployed the custom image.  The reason being that, in order for the OEM key to successfully activate Windows, you have to boot the device with its originally installed operating system, complete the Out-of-box experience, and activate Windows at least once in order for the key embedded in the BIOS to activate other custom installs.  Since I already had a custom image which contained the OS, apps, and configurations I wanted, I performed a clean install without ever booting the original operating system, which resulted in Windows failing to activate.  However, there is also a very easy solution, which I was able to automate thanks to AutoIT (isn't this scripting language great?!?!).  First, I obtained the OEM product key retriever tool from Neosmart located here (which displays a simple GUI with an edit control containing the embedded oem key for the machine running the application), embedded it in an AutoIT compiled script, had the script launch tool, read the input generated by the tool, and then plug that value into the command line commands to set the product key then activate windows

RunWait ( @ComSpec & " /c " & 'slmgr.vbs -ipk ' & $productkey )
    RunWait ( @ComSpec & " /c " & 'slmgr.vbs /ato' )

It had a 100% success rate (regardless of what the message prompts actually said: even if it generated an error, checking activation status in settings always showed Windows activated).  But I wouldn't expect the average user to know about something like that, so assigning a Windows license to a user account rather than embedding it in the BIOS seems like a good resolution, but I am left wondering HOW that will be implemented.  It will be very interesting to see.

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  • 7 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...
On 2/27/2017 at 6:50 AM, johnfox said:

If I understand correctly, if I have a Microsoft account and installed the Windows 10 that I can swap parts on a laptop for free??? ))

I highly doubt that is how it will work.  What they will probably implement is something similar to how corporation purchase and obtain their volume license keys by logging into an online portal.  The only difference being that it will be your microsoft account (which is associated with your license) that will activate your windows installation when you import it to the machine.  If the version of windows you have installed doesn't match a license associated with your account, then it won't.  This is all conjecture at this point, as I have no better idea than you, but that would be nice.

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As always, it depends on whether you purchased an OEM license (most common) or a full retail, or got it through the upgrade process. As of the Anniversary Update, the key is tied to your MS account as mentioned. You can re-implement the key even after a hardware change, even a motherboard, depending on your situation. Here is a good article:


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