Windows 10 (re-)activation trouble - not recognizing my digital license

Going mad her folks - and yes I have read the wiki articles etc.

- changed Motherboard/Processor/Ram two days ago
- before changing made sure that my digital license is attached to my microsoft account
- at that point was running 10.0.16226.1000
- today auto-upgraded to 10.0.16232.1000
- looking at my Microsoft account I can see both PCs, the one running the old motherboard and the one running

   the new as distinct systems
- went to Activation - Troubleshooting
- select "recently changed hardware"
- in the list of devices only my old mobo device is listed
- if I select this as the "current" device I get an activation error again

What I have done so far:
- contact MS chat support - "this is an insider problem we can not help you"
- "slui.exe 4" - not working (slui.exe obviously does work but no with parameter 4)

How can I transfer the digital license from the old mobo device to the new mobo device - I could just delete the old device
but I fear that would delete the digital license as well !

Help please

MG 

 

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Last updated May 18, 2018 Views 337 Applies to:

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This article by Andre Da Costa, who has a long history here in the Forums, describes the changes. He says: 

...with the release of Windows 10 November Update, 1511, Microsoft made modifications to the channel license. Previously, you could identify the channel from which, the license was 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, in spirit, it is still an OEM license.

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

So the former OEM status vanishes from our viewpoint and looks the same as a Retail or standalone license. Is it tracked on the Activation servers? Andre seems to believe so.

My PC came with Windows 7 Ultimate, and has no embedded Product Key. I upgraded it shortly after purchase to Windows 8 for about $15 under a Windows 8 promo for new PCs.

What I am still wondering is:

  • if someone actually clean installed Windows 10 version 1511 or later and entered a Windows 7 or 8 Product Key to activate it (rather than upgrading from Windows 7 or 8.1) would slmgr.vbs /dli show the generic Product Key or the Windows 7 or 8 Product Key that they used?
  • Do they have to re-use the Win 7 or 8 Product Key to activate a future clean install, or do they gain a Digital License that allows the generic key to remain in place, like the rest of us have?
Don

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Bother! Lost my work again, do not use Edge when composing long posts....posting Mk-II:

I am familiar with Andre's work here and if he says that it is no longer possible to tell OEM from Full then I believe it. This is the real bother and it is nothing but sloppiness from MS. Surely there is no security issue with having that flagged in the registry. (This would explain why you saw 'OEM' machines in that 'draw-from' list? No, it wouldn't Surely MS knows which is which).

As to your questions:

a) I don't think it would show your product key under any circumstances. It's an obsolete way of doing things. And one that has been breached. It is merely still there for backward compatibility.

b) MS certainly doesn't absolutely have use a product key to re-new a Machine<->License relation, so my guess is they don't. But it is possible that for practical purposes they still do use it. It would be easy for them to simply hide it somewhere else. I would give it long odds that it is not stored at all.

I guess I could find a) out for you by swapping licenses on my two machines. But even if the key does show up, then surely it would be wiped at the next CI.

Do you have a 'need-to-know'? If it's merely curiosity then I would of course rather not try that, but would extend the question with: How about Enterprise versions? Is it still in use there?

Founder of the STI Project

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Thank you. No, my only reason for the question is to know how to advise anyone who has actually used a Windows 7 or 8 Product Key to activate a Windows 10 clean install. I read about so many going through the steps of reinstalling and activating Windows 7 or 8.1 and then re-upgrading, in an attempt to get Windows 10 activated. But this has always seemed unnecessary to me. My Windows 7 and 8.1 upgrades were all done prior to November, 2015, when that method became available, so no Product Key was ever entered and they all show the generic Product Key, if I use a utility to read it.

New Retail Windows 10 installs, of course, actually use a Product Key to activate Windows 10. I assume that new OEM installs have an embedded Product Key in firmware, like Windows 8.1 had. It can probably be read with the command:

wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey

I believe that there is always a matching Edition Product Key. For most upgrades, it is a generic one from the list. In fact, there is a slmgr.vbs command specifically designed to clear the Product Key from the Registry "to prevent disclosure attacks": slmgr.vbs /cpky. If you remove the Product Key with slmgr.vbs /upk - you will lose Windows 10 Activation. But losing Activation does not mean the device itself is not still Digitally Licensed. The current Windows install is simply no longer activated.

Windows Software Licensing Management Tool

Usage: slmgr.vbs [MachineName [User Password]] [<Option>]
           MachineName: Name of remote machine (default is local machine)
           User:        Account with required privilege on remote machine

           Password:    password for the previous account

Global Options:
/ipk <Product Key>
    Install product key (replaces existing key)
/ato [Activation ID]
    Activate Windows
/dli [Activation ID | All]
    Display license information (default: current license)
/dlv [Activation ID | All]
    Display detailed license information (default: current license)
/xpr [Activation ID]
    Expiration date for current license state

Advanced Options:
/cpky
    Clear product key from the registry (prevents disclosure attacks)
/ilc <License file>
    Install license
/rilc
    Re-install system license files
/rearm
    Reset the licensing status of the machine
/rearm-app <Application ID>
    Reset the licensing status of the given app
/rearm-sku <Activation ID>
    Reset the licensing status of the given sku
/upk [Activation ID]
    Uninstall product key
/dti [Activation ID]
    Display Installation ID for offline activation
/atp <Confirmation ID> [Activation ID]

    Activate product with user-provided Confirmation ID

Don

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I think we share the same affliction: "I simply want to know! Who cares if I actually need to know?"

Well, it has always given me more pleasure than trouble (but not always |--), and I hope and trust it's the same for you.

For a little while I thought I'd find out soon enough as my (main) system's components are 4-5 year old. But you know, I looked and there's simply not that much better stuf available. A rough calculation has me spending $1000,-- or so to gain, say, 5-10% performance. Not worth it in any way, as my current machine is rarely using all it has as it is.

Thank you, I've enjoyed this little exchange, hope you did too. And I learned some things, hope you did NOT |--)

Regards,

Stephen

PS Which reminds me, whatever happened to the OP?

Founder of the STI Project

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Hi.

I used Windows 8 product key in a recent re-installation of Windows 10 Creators Update. I used it because I did an unattended installation using Autounattend.xml file. If I did not use a product key, unattended installation would halt to ask me for a product key. At that time I would have to use Skip/I don't have a key or use the generic product key. But that would kill the purpose of the unattended installation.

After installation, activation was a breeze.

I hope this is the answer to your question.

*** End of Post ***

You can't live a positive life with a negative mind.

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Hi Suat,

Thanks for that, good trick-of-the-trade, that. Well done.

But one question: What does the machine show on slmgr.vbs /dli?

[Edit] I mean in the Partial Product Key column

Founder of the STI Project

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Hi Stephen,

This is it:

*** End of Post ***

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Thanks, while I'm not familiar with the language, I clearly see 3V66T, which is part of the generic key even though the actual product key was entered on the machine. You are running Pro on that machine? Right?

This is what I expected to see, but it's good to know for (almost) sure (there is still the question of truly fresh installs |--).

Founder of the STI Project

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Yes. Windows 8 Pro was upgraded to Windows 8.1 Pro, which then was upgraded free to Windows 10 Pro.

And yes, the last five digit is part of the generic Windows 10 Pro product key. It is installed whether you use Windows 7/8 actual Product key or generic product key or click "I don't have a key". It is the digital license key.

*** End of Post ***

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Yes, that was indeed the uncertainty I had about using it in some software I am half planning...

I think I could use it as a reliable flag of what edition the User has installed. It does not say anything about whether you are actually Activated, alas.

Founder of the STI Project

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