Question about windows account activation

Its taken me longer than I wanted to get windows 10 working on my desktop, but I finally got it installed. I log in to my windows account, I have a windows 10 key burned in to my account so I just log in and it activates. It was something I had from college.

Anyways, I have both of my laptops registered with 10 pro, but my desktop doesn’t want to register. I realize I could just as easily walk into best buy and just get a picture of a key off of a machine, but I’d rather use my key that I own.

Is there a reason my key isn’t applying? Is it that I hit a max? IDK! Any help appreciated.

Is the key registered to your account from another machine?
As far as I remember, a key will register to one pc, and create a hardware profile.
So it won’t transfer to another pc, and to many hardware changes on a desktop might trigger windows to demand a new license key.

I think ltt did a video on this subject acually.

It’s been a while since i watched it, but it’s about activation etc.

2 laptops and a desktop. Do you have 3 license keys? If you only have 2, then theres your problem :slight_smile:

I got a multiple use key a long long time ago when 10 was in early early release. I don’t really know why it works, but I know it registered more than only one machine. I did my MSI and my thinkpad days apart from each other, and both are registered. /shrug?

Unless you got a volume license somehow or one of your other computers had a license embedded in the UEFI (which is very likely for a laptop), you just got lucky. Each license is for exactly one computer.

If you have an old windows 7 or 8 license from back in the day, that will activate win10.


I guess.
Ruffalo is probably on the money, that so far you have been lucky.
But M$ must have set a limit for how many pc’s that multiple use key can activate.
But it seems that you’ll have to head to their store or a reseller for a new key.

Its been pretty great as a refurbisher to get windows 8 systems and just install windows 10 and have it auto activate. Saves a whole lot of money.

If your desktop was running 8/10 it should activate when reinstalling windows, but if you changed the motherboard you are probably out of luck.

Pro can be volume licensed. While I do not condone piracy or for a better reason the forum does not like discussing it. That is a route microsoft keeps making easier (They obviously dont care)

Now you can get cheap ebay keys. That said Did you change the motherboard or anything significant enough to change the HWID?

Was it an OEM key?

The DTop is a mac pro.

Actually the installer was insanely hard to even get running. I had to get an older installer on DVD to get it working, and even then it took like 20 minutes to get up and running. I still had to leave it all day to install.

So was it activated and just stopped all of a sudden or you reinstalled?

My guess is actually that the laptops have a key embedded in their UEFI so they autoactivate. It’s difficult to buy a laptop without an embedded key.

I cleared a linux install for a windows 10 install, and while my other machines registered just fine, the mac pro did not.

The MSI completely possible, but the thinkpad came with W7. I don’t think it was embedded?

So it never had windows on it? If thats the case you will need a key to activate. Don’t have much experience with installing windows on a Mac so my knowledge is limited on that end.

It almost certainly was. You can check with some slmgr command, it’s on Google.

I read awhile back that even the Dell XPS “developer edition” laptops coming with Linux preinstalled had Windows licenses in their UEFI, because it was cheaper to pay Microsoft than take them out due to their contract.

That’s true.
And if that’s the case, then his early access volume key probably expired a while ago.

Is there a way to pull a key off a machine I own then? I technically own those keys right?

You can reuse a retail key freely, and while it technically isn’t permitted you can reuse a separately purchased OEM key too. I do that myself. But embedded keys can’t be transferred without hacking through or emulating the UEFI, that’s actually how pirates do it. They go to extreme lengths to save thirty bucks.

That sounds annoying I love it.

Seems like you should be able to pull the key off tho.

You can but there’s no reason to, because every HP Elitebook X42z (or whatever) has the exact same embedded key. To use it on a non-HP Elitebook X42z you have to use those pirate tools to emulate the UEFI. And then you’re stuck running a morally-sound but technically illegal OS that could break at any time, and who needs the aggravation to save thirty bucks?


I didn’t think OEM keys were transferrable.

Be me, run unactivated :sunglasses:

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