How to upgrade 1511 from Home to Pro?

I'm not having any luck figuring out how to upgrade from Home to Pro with an existing key.  My system has been running Home and is currently running version 1511.  I've decided to go ahead and use an existing key to upgrade to Pro.  I did a clean install, expecting to be asked to specify a version and provide a key during install, but was never asked for either.  The installer simply formatted the hard drive and installed Home and activated it, with no input from me after the install started other than agree to the terms and tell it my language.

OK, no problem I thought, I'll just go to the Activation setting and give it the new key from there.  However, if I tell it I want to change the key it comes back and says the key I'm giving it can only activate Pro and I'm running Home.  If I go the Store route and tell it I already have a Pro key, it gives me the same message - it tells me my key is for Pro but I'm running Home.  Nowhere along the way does it offer to take my key and give me the upgrade, rather it implies that I must somehow magically upgrade it myself before changing the key.  And that would be fine if I could figure out how to do that.

Anyone know how to force an install of Pro when the installer automatically installs Home with no option given to change it?

Volunteer Moderator/MVP Edit 4/21 -

One must insert the Generic Version Key to first change to Pro.  After Version 1803 if you don't yet have a Digital License for Pro it will not change to Pro version by inserting the default Version key.  So access Action Center at right end of task bar to turn on Airplane Mode to go offline, copy and paste the Generic Pro Key VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T in Settings > Update & Security > Activation > Change Product Key which will change Home to Pro, then go back online and it will activate with your Pro Product Key or Digital License.

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Create Windows 10 Installation Media for Pro version   to do the preferred Clean Reinstall Windows 10 Upgrade.

Leave the Product Key blank to skip Next and Do this later during install. Afterwards use your WIndows 7 Professional retail or Anytime Upgrade key to activate as specified in the Version 1511 FAQ section in Activation in Windows 10 - Windows Help.

The OP who started this thread was trying to change from WIndows 10 Home to Pro by inserting a Windows 7 Pro Product Key but this is not supported as the only way to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Pro via the link to Store in Activation settings to gain Digital Entitlement to then own both versions for the life of the PC,  or to use a Windows 10 Pro Product Key. 

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Create Windows 10 Installation Media for Pro version   to do the preferred Clean Reinstall Windows 10 Upgrade.

Leave the Product Key blank to skip Next and Do this later during install. Afterwards use your WIndows 7 Professional retail or Anytime Upgrade key to activate as specified in the Version 1511 FAQ section in Activation in Windows 10 - Windows Help.

The OP who started this thread was trying to change from WIndows 10 Home to Pro by inserting a Windows 7 Pro Product Key but this is not supported as the only way to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Pro via the link to Store in Activation settings to gain Digital Entitlement to then own both versions for the life of the PC,  or to use a Windows 10 Pro Product Key. 

So since you can point out what I did wrong you obviously have a bit of knowledge about how it works, so why don't you tell me how to do it correctly?

You say "create Windows 10 Installation Media for Pro version" but as of 1511 there is ONLY ONE installation media.  There is no longer a separate installer for Home and Pro, with them now sharing the same ISO.

And then you say "leave the product key blank" but if you have an embedded key it doesn't ask you for a product key.  Even MS themselves say the installer will choose the version (Home or Pro) based on the embedded key.  That being the case, how do I get the other version to install?

The 5th item down on the list of activation methods is the option I intended to use, in the event the activation wasn't automatic (as it was on a previous clean install of Pro):

You upgraded to Windows 10 (Version 1511 or higher) and activated it using a Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1product key.

So how do I do that?  My Windows 7 key is for Ultimate, but the installer will NOT allow me to install the Pro version of Windows 10 because my system also has an embedded OEM key for Home.

The same page that you reference is where MS themselves say:

On some devices that came pre-installed with Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, the product key is provisioned in the device firmware. On these devices the product key will be verified during setup, and then the appropriate edition of Windows 10 will be installed.

So again, my original question still stands.  How do I install Pro and activate it with a Win 7 Ultimate retail key on a system with an embedded OEM Home key, when, as the above MS quote says, the edition that gets installed is determined solely by the installer based on the embedded key regardless of any other key that I may possess and want to use?

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Darren -

I am testing this now on a laptop that came with 8.1 Home embedded and 10 Pro entitlement, using both Media Creation Tool and Tech Bench  ISO download and will get back to you with what I find. 

 In Media Creation tool did you tick the box to "Create Media for another PC" and then uncheck the box to "Use the recommended settings for the this PC?"  That latter setting likely scans the OS you're using to confirm and force its version.   But they are contradictory.

I do not think the installer scans the BIOS for embedded Product Key, and haven't seen that it even activates from old OS Product Key in v.1511 until after install when/if you introduce it into the Change Product Key box as per the 1511 FAQ in Activation in Windows 10 - Windows Help .

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Darren -

I am testing this now on a laptop that came with 8.1 Home embedded and 10 Pro entitlement, using both Media Creation Tool and Tech Bench  ISO download and will get back to you with what I find. 

 In Media Creation tool did you tick the box to "Create Media for another PC" and then uncheck the box to "Use the recommended settings for the this PC?"  That latter setting likely scans the OS you're using to confirm and force its version.   But they are contradictory.

I do not think the installer scans the BIOS for embedded Product Key, and haven't seen that it even activates from old OS Product Key in v.1511 until after install when/if you introduce it into the Change Product Key box as per the 1511 FAQ in Activation in Windows 10 - Windows Help .

Yes, I selected to create media for another pc and then unchecked the box to use the settings for my current pc.  I then created a usb installer with both the 32bit and 64bit versions.  I used that installer to upgrade my 32bit tablet, then did a clean install on my 64bit laptop (dual boot Home and Pro).  The problem came when I got to Pro and only had Home after the install with no apparent way to get it back up to Pro.

I have no doubt that the installer is scanning the BIOS for the key.  That was my initial impression even before I found the statement from Microsoft saying it does exactly that.  Why do you think it doesn't scan it when Microsoft themselves say it does?  I assume you read the very last paragraph of the section about activating with a Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 key in the expandable list at the bottom of the page you link to.  That paragraph says that on embedded systems the product key is verified during setup and then the appropriate edition will be installed.  It plainly says the embedded key is scanned during setup, not during activation, and then even clearly says that's what determines the version that gets installed.  The point of activation is too late to determine which version gets installed, so if the embedded key determines that, as that paragraph says, it must read that key before it begins the install.  If not, everyone would be getting the Home version and using another key that qualified for Pro would always be an after-the-fact upgrade - and you've already said that can't be done.  Surely that's why the installer is not giving me an option and is not asking me for a key - because it already scanned the embedded Home key and therefore is automatically installing Home based on that key.

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Thank you for pointing that out as I don't always have time to read everything in real time and also keep up with a caseload that receives a reply email every few minutes around the clock.  I am only a volunteer.

But I've spent several hours tonight testing this, discussing it with a colleague by phone, and am preparing to elevate it to the Windows 10 Team via our MVP Communications channel tomorrow.  Hopefully there will be a solution soon.

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Thank you.

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Hello,

Under Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows 7, I recall it being possible to "force" the installation media to prompt you to select which edition of the operating system would be installed by creating a file named EI.CFG on on the installation media.

From looking at a Windows 10 v1511 .ISO downloaded via the Media Creation Tool, I am wondering if you could try adding an EI.CFG file to your USB flash drive to allow for edition selection at install time.

Try plugging the USB flash drive into the computer as you normally do, navigating to the x:\x64\sources directory (where x: is the letter of the USB flash drive) and creating a new text file there named "EI.CFG" using Notepad (or whatever your favorite text editor is) with the following two lines in it:

[Channel]

Retail

and then try booting from the media to install the Windows 10 v1511 upgrade. 

Be sure to save the file with an extension of .CFG and not .TXT or it will not work (you can rename it after you have created it in Notepad).

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

Aryeh Goretsky, ZCSE
Distinguished Researcher, ESET
Microsoft MVP (Windows & Devices for IT)

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Thanks, Aryeh. 

It's actually the removal of ei.cfg that unlocks all versions.  I tested the fix suggested and got no version menu.  It seems they've hidden it another way. 

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Hi DarrenC1,

We are going to make these steps more visible and easier to find for folks.  Sorry that has not been the case.  The process is not really straight forward; I guess we were hoping folks would upgrade their 8 PCs to Pro and then upgrade to 10.  Well we have lots of people and lots of scenarios and lots of folks want to start fresh.

From your Windows 10 Home running Version 1511, enter the Windows 10 Pro Default key under change product key.

VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T  This default key will not activate the system, just take you to Pro so you can activate using a valid Pro key that you will provide.

Once you have done this, the system will go through an upgrade process from Home to Pro, but will not be activated on Pro.  You can now enter your Windows 8 Pro key into your Windows 10 Pro system and it will activate.

I hope this helps

Charles

CharlesE

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Hi DarrenC1,

We are going to make these steps more visible and easier to find for folks.  Sorry that has not been the case.  The process is not really straight forward; I guess we were hoping folks would upgrade their 8 PCs to Pro and then upgrade to 10.  Well we have lots of people and lots of scenarios and lots of folks want to start fresh.

From your Windows 10 Home running Version 1511, enter the Windows 10 Pro Default key under change product key.

VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T  This default key will not activate the system, just take you to Pro so you can activate using a valid Pro key that you will provide.

Once you have done this, the system will go through an upgrade process from Home to Pro, but will not be activated on Pro.  You can now enter your Windows 8 Pro key into your Windows 10 Pro system and it will activate.

I hope this helps

Charles

This did work.  The upgrade completed with the default key and the activation was successful with my Win 7 Ultimate key.

Thanks to everyone for their help with this.

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Last updated September 7, 2021 Views 110,403 Applies to: