1. rushmere's Avatar
    Hi all,

    Laptop details as follows:

    HP DV8-1250ea which came with Windows 7 Home Premium
    Upgraded to Windows 8 Pro using the discounted upgrade scheme a few years back and subsequently updated to 8.1 Pro
    Took advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro (as coming from Windows 8.1 Pro)

    I have recently upgraded both the RAM and Wifi Card (along with a BIOS Firmware upgrade) which triggered the Windows 10 reactivation - called the self help phone system and my activation was denied - went through to customer services and was told that because I used the discounted Windows 8 Pro upgrade, the licence wasn't valid for upgrade and that I am only valid for Windows 10 Home due to my base licence being Windows 7 Home Premium. Advisor told me I am to reinstall my whole machine down to Windows 7 and re-upgrade.

    I am not too happy about having to do this as no where during the Windows 10 Upgrade process was I told this, and if I hadn't have changed the hardware once the year's free upgrade expires, I would have had to pay out for a licence.

    I am also concerned that a number of people I know used the discounted upgrade to Windows 8 from XP/Vista a few years back - are you telling me that should they ever encounter the Windows Re-Activation they are going to be told they need to pay for a licence as XP/Vista didn't qualify for the Windows 10 upgrade even though they came from Windows 8.1 Pro?

    Has anyone else encountered this?
    10-20-2015 10:55 AM
  2. Tumultus's Avatar
    I know it is inconvenient but since you made some changes to your hardware, stuff like this can and will happen. After all, your computer gets activated based on a hardware profile stored at Microsoft. If those don't match your existing hardware, the reactivation will be triggered.

    On the bright side: Once you do perform the upgrade again to W10 from 7, you do not have to worry about product keys and such.
    10-20-2015 11:12 AM
  3. rushmere's Avatar
    I know it is inconvenient but since you made some changes to your hardware, stuff like this can and will happen. After all, your computer gets activated based on a hardware profile stored at Microsoft. If those don't match your existing hardware, the reactivation will be triggered.

    On the bright side: Once you do perform the upgrade again to W10 from 7, you do not have to worry about product keys and such.
    Thanks for the reply,

    I totally agree that hardware changes should trigger re-activation, what my point is that I have a valid Windows 8.1 Pro licence (albeit an upgrade one) that isn't accepted as a way of obtaining a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, even though the automated process allows it (it didn't give me the option of having Windows 10 Home)

    This isn't documented online at all, and I know a good number of people who will be upgrading to Windows 10 from the discounted 8 Pro licence (that have come from either a Win 7 Home, Vista or even XP licence). What will happen when after the years free upgrade is no longer available, for whatever reason they trigger re-activation and it fails, will they be charging customers because they have 10 Pro installed when they should have 10 Home?

    This of course wouldn't be a problem should they have originally came from a Win 7 Pro licence.

    Hope I make sense
    10-20-2015 11:50 AM
  4. Tumultus's Avatar
    Not really! The problem is that you daisy-chained your upgrades: W7 Home -> W8.1 PRO -> W10 PRO. Officially, you would have to install W7, then W8.1, then the upgrade to W10. However, you can simplify your life a bit:

    1. Perform a clean installation of Windows 8.1 Pro on your laptop
    2. Ignore any prompts for product keys and activation. If you're prompted to enter one and the installer doesn't let you proceed, google for a product key that lets you run the installation. (Activation will fail later but it doesn't matter for now.)
    3. Once you completely installed a clean version of Windows 8.1 Pro, make sure that all your hardware drivers are installed. Don't bother to load up all your software and files.
    4. Now, open a command prompt as Administrator and type the following command without quotes: "slmgr.vbs -ipk 00000-00000-00000-00000-00000" whereas all the 0s need to be replaced with your Windows 8.x upgrade key.
    5. On above step, make sure you have an active internet connection since this will automatically activate your Windows 8 installation.
    6. Restart your computer and you're good to go for an immediate Windows 10 Pro upgrade.
    7. It would be wise to make a backup of your entire Windows 8.1 disk / partition, so, in case you have to start over from 8, you won't have to do all of the above steps anymore.


    Now would be the time to think about hardware upgrades. This will minimize the risk of repeating your current dilemma. If you still feel like you're not entirely happy with your RAM and whatever (hard drives don't affect your activation), upgrade your hardware components before you upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.

    If you're anything like me, you'll sit down and take a minute to think about your computer needs for the upcoming 2 to 5 years when upgrading. Don't do the overkill; if Windows 8.1 was running fine, Windows 10 will fly and you probably don't need much more.

    Now you're ready to run your Windows 10 upgrade! :)
    After the upgrade, run the system for a couple of days to ensure that Microsoft indexed your device's hardware. If you feel up to it, perform a clean installation of Windows 10 afterwards. That way, you get rid of any Windows 8.x left-overs that may cause problems or system slow-downs. If you do go with the clean install, make sure you do not enter any product keys. They aren't needed, so, use the skip function during installation and first start afterwards.

    I know the above doesn't really addresses your main concern "What if I have to change vital hardware components after the Win 10 upgrade" but at least it cuts down the amount of work you have to do in case you ever need to reinstall it again. If essential activation-related hardware fails, you're just out of luck! Naturally, you have a new computer in case you replace the CPU. I have changed network cards on my Windows 10 systems as well as RAM and hard drives, I didn't have to reactivate my computers at all. Probably, the hardware finger print differs from system to system, so, only because I didn't have to worry, doesn't mean that someone else's computer won't get deactivated either.

    I hope this helps you a little bit?
    If anything goes wrong after the 1-year free upgrade, just go to Amazon and buy a Windows 10 Pro for System Builders copy. It costs only around $100.00 - $150.00 but it is a small investment if you want to keep your system alive after massive hardware changes.
    EricandSuebee likes this.
    10-20-2015 12:22 PM

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