reinstalling windows 10 after hard drive crash

will i be able to install windows 10 for free after i change mt hard drive/ it crashes?
 

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Last updated December 12, 2018 Views 84,763 Applies to:

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Hi, 

 

Welcome to Microsoft Community. Your interest in Windows 10 Technical Preview is much appreciated. 

 

Since Windows 10 is hardware specific. Any major change in the hard drive will leads to change in the product id as well. As it’s embedded in the system. Hence after installing Windows 10 it will ask for the activation. You won’t be able to get the free upgrade if you have performed any major hardware change.

 

Keep us posted if you face any issues on windows in future. We will be glad to help you.

 

Thanks & Regards,
AS

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Hello,

Had a situation today and luckily had a Win 10 backup using AOMEI backupper.  I'm going to plug this software since it may have saved me $119.

Windows 10 (previously Windows 8.1 until last week)  wouldn't boot and error was "boot device inaccessible." System would not auto-recover, and it was impossible to reinstall.  Had to format drive to confirm if drive was no good, but later once I pulled out another drive I was able to do a clean install of Windows 8.

After hours on the phone with 2 Microsoft agents, they weren't able to help me.  Last agent said I needed to pay $119 for a new Windows 10 license.  When he transferred me to the complaint line, of course the line became disconnected... very frustrating!!!

Paying for a new license seems a bit absurd in this scenario.  Is this in fact  the right policy?  I even had the PC registered on my Microsoft account, but he told me he had no access to that data.

Thank you

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If your hard drive crashes all you need to do is reinstall your original windows 7 or 8 system

(make sure it is activated), then you can update to windows 10 for free (up to 29th July 2016).

Even if you change memory, sound card and other items it will still activate.

If you change motherboard then you can call Microsoft and explain you had a faulty motherboard

and they will activate it again if you have a retail key.

If you change motherboard then you can call Microsoft and explain you had a faulty motherboard

and usually they will not activate it for you if you have an OEM key.

Only in this case will you need to buy a new copy of windows 10.

If it is an OEM version then you may need to contact your manufacturer of your computer (like Dell, Sony, HP)

and request reinstall media. If your OEM product key is embedded in the BIOS then you do not need the key

just reinstall your original windows and it will activate.

If you have a retail key then type your retail product key and activate your original windows system.

1. Use Microsoft Software Recovery to create installation media for windows 7
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-recovery

2. Create installation media for Windows 8.1
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/create-reset-refresh-media

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Proceed with caution, Max.  The new registration technology may not work the same way as the old activation technology did and the activation agents may have been briefed to handle it differently.  I experimented with my Windows 8.1 (retail) that was used to upgrade to Windows 10 to re-install on another computer and Microsoft told me "the product key was not available."  No slack.   There might be more bears in the woods concerning this new technology and how we used to work with the old.
Colin Barnhorst

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You have one month to go back to your original windows 7 or 8 after updating to windows 10.

Microsoft MUST activate your old system during this period or you can take legal action to honor their agreement.

Even after one month if you are still using windows 10 then you can reinstall windows 10 on a new hard drive

and it will activate or call Microsoft to activate.

Either way you DO NOT need to buy a new copy of windows 10 if your hard drive fails.

Please ask the person you spoke to in Microsoft to speak with their manager and confirm.

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Hi, 

Welcome to Microsoft Community. Your interest in Windows 10 Technical Preview is much appreciated. 

Since Windows 10 is hardware specific. Any major change in the hard drive will leads to change in the product id as well. As it’s embedded in the system. Hence after installing Windows 10 it will ask for the activation. You won’t be able to get the free upgrade if you have performed any major hardware change.

Keep us posted if you face any issues on windows in future. We will be glad to help you.

Please check with your manager.

You can change hard drives forever and you can reinstall windows and it will activate.

You are thinking of motherboards. Your license is NOT tied to your hard drive but motherboard.

It may use the hard drive to add to the ID but that never means you need to buy a new windows 10

license if your hard drives fails. Hard drives fail often.

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A motherboard is the most important part of the hardware hash because so many of the flags are set when it is upgraded.  But memory and the primary hard drive are components also, as is an NIC and graphics card whether separate cards or integrated.  The question is do we know the weightings yet? 

Repair replacements have always been allowed as long as the replacement is with the manufacturer's recommended replacement part, but upgrade replacements are not going to fly.  They never have.  This much we have all known. 

But this is a new method of activation and a new technology.  We can't assume the old rules work in this Registered Device scheme.  We have to wait and see.

Colin Barnhorst

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You don't have to wait just speak with someone in Microsoft (a Manager or paid support) who knows.

Hard drives fail all the time, they cannot expect someone to buy a new Windows 10 License

each time your hard drives needs replacing.


Please send a message if you have twitter to Gabe and check.

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Agreed.  I replaced a video card after upgrading to Windows 10 and did not suffer any consequence also.  But when do the combinations tip the scale?  We don't know and when it concerns licensing issues (legal), common sense doesn't always win.
Colin Barnhorst

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From my dealings with Windows OEM licenses was as follows;

Windows XP, Vista and 7 OEMs (both full and upgrade versions) were tied to the Motherboard of the first PC it was installed on (course there was a loophole with XP to circumvent that...but I digress). Upgrading/replacing "peripheral" devices.... aka harddrives/ssds, graphics cards, power supplies...etc does not affect you. Only if you replace the motherboard in which case then you had to purchase a new license.

Windows 8.1 changed the ballgame a bit. With the full version OEM, it is tied to a single activation. With 8.1 you can change any piece of hardware, INCLUDING the motherboard as well as transfer the license to another person or PC. You simply had to uninstall the OS from your PC then reinstall it on your new build. It will activate regardless of what PC its on, so long as its the only copy of that licensed software activated at any given time.

Windows 10 OEM seems to have reverted back to Win7 OEM agreements where its tied to your Motherboard. Its highly unlikely however, that small upgrades/replacements like storage devices would be tied into that license. While motherboards typically run for decades without failing, storage devices (HDDs/SSDs) fail far more often and other peripheral components like RAM and Graphics cards need upgrading more frequently to meet the demands of newer software continuously rolling out.

So you should be fine changing out your HDD/SDD and doing a clean install on the new drive.

Also if you use drive cloning software like Arconis, you likely wont even have to reactivate Windows at all.

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