Win10 upgrade invalidated my key: no surprise there

The upgrade process from from Win7 to Win10 is a poorly planned mess, who would have thought it???

I make this thread to warn anybody who is wanting to upgrade to Win10: you need to be careful in the upgrade process. Here's what happened to me tonight:

I got a new, larger SSD and the old one I wanted to put in a different computer sitting behind me so it will be done and I can bring it to my father. Great, so I just need to move that first SSD over to that computer, upgrade, and boom, he has Win10. Meanwhile, I'll buy a second Win7 and install on the new SSD so I can upgrade via it to Win10 and that way I'll have a fresh, activated install and won't have to deal with any bullshit. Well, after downloading and burning Win10 to a CD, the upgrade on the first SSD in the other computer went smooth enough. I went with the wipe drive and clean install option, installed, logged in, and everything seemed to work fine with no "not genuine" errors.

So then I figure, hmm, might as well just take a new Win7 key and install Win10 with this CD directly and skip the whole Win7 then upgrade process. But the CD just... wouldn't... boot. Which led me to believe that yes, the format of Win10 that I downloaded and burned to the CD was intended to work on top of a current install of Windows. Ok fine, so I installed Win7, using the key, then restarted the computer, booting off the upgrade CD. I chose the advanced install again, why not, and it installed. But now... the desktop is working fine. But there's a lot of features that are locked off and I'm getting an error saying it's not activated. Trying to use the same, new key got me the error saying it's used by another computer... said computer being the SSD that Win10 is now on...

God damnit, Micro$soft... you spend a whole year preaching the gospel of Win10 being this easy upgrade that will transition seamlessly from either Win7 or Win8 and then your install process that specifically says "use 'I don't have a key' if you are upgrading. It will automatically be activated later" doesn't even pick up on it. And this is the third time I have been burned by your stupid "genuine software" security measures built into your OS. Twice before I have lost genuine codes and had to say "fuck it, I'm pirating this!" because your coders don't have a clue what they're doing. Can you get anything right? I've said it so many times before... if games worked on Linux, I'd never look at Windows again. I have a feeling that other install on the first SSD isn't going to actually be activated either. I'm about to power down this computer and hook up that one so I can find out.

Anyway, now that my rant is over... if any of you have had a problem like this and found a work-around, please let me know. Will Win10 work fine without activation, excluding the customization options (which I want, damnit)? Am I going to be pestered to pay for something I already have (and I refuse to)? Customer service is closed. So maybe I'll get someone who's not a tard later today and this whole issue will just go away.

This thread seemed to be about a very similar problem, but I couldn't find a solution for mine specifically.

I have had a similar issue upgrading. I tried to install Windows 10 off of a USB stick, on a Windows 8.1 system. I inputted my Windows 8.1 key, but it did not activate my copy of Windows 10. I contacted Microsoft regarding the matter, and they confirmed that this process won't work; giving me instructions to re-install Windows 8.1, then go through they download process of Windows 10. This worked, and Windows 10 was activated. After activation you can then perform a clean install of Windows 10 from USB/CD, if you want; I can confirm this as I have done this myself.

The best way to upgrade to Windows 10 is through the Microsoft website here:
That way you don't have to wait for the small icon to appear on your desktop, prompting you for the upgrade. Also, there is no need install any of the updates on the previous OS (7/8/8.1) before the upgrade either.

Hope this helps. Let me know how you get on.

So what you had to do was reinstall 8 and upgrade through the non-drive wiping route? I though that might work if I tried it... but the problem is I'm pretty sure that if I tried that I'd get an error saying that key was already used by another computer (the computer I'm currently on, used before Win10). Do you know about this? Will Win7 take that key twice?

Not sure i get it ? I have nuked win10 several times over and still reinstalled 8 with a valid key ? Did you get your key after the first upgrade for 10 before doing a clean install?

I'm not sure I get what you're asking with that last sentence.

When upgrading from 8 or .1 to 10 did you use something like belarc advisor to see what your key was.? Did you make a fresh install usb drive for 10 ? I upgraded from 8 to 8.1 then to 10 so the process may be different.

The best experience I've had with installing 10 was installing 7 Ultimate, and upgrading. Installing 10 straight up messes so much up for me.

Which version of Windows 10 ISO did you use?

The original build from August is commonly known not to accept Windows 7/8 keys, you need to install the old OS version first, activate, upgrade to 10. Then you can use a utility to find out what the converted keys are, for future clean installs.

They have removed this issue with new install media (Windows 10 version 1511). It now accepts old keys just fine.

If you used the old ISOs, and didn't complete the activation when you installed Windows 7, but did the upgrade to 10 anyway, and then tried to activate with Windows 7 keys, you would encounter the activation/wrong keys problem.

When I upgraded from 7 to 10 the first time it worked and activated fine.
I upgraded my motherboard, did a clean install of 7, upgrade to 10(using the same windows 7 key) and it would not activate it.
When I contacted microsoft support they ended up giving me a brand new windows 10 key to use, so now I don't have to go 7->10 if I ever change motherboards again.
It was still a pain but that key probably got flagged tied to my old motherboard or something so I couldn't use it on a new system.

Yeah, if you have Windows 7, you usually need to reactivate if you change the motherboard. If you used an OEM license, you used to be tied to that particular motherboard completely, but they changed it starting with Windows 8.

I'm not sure which version I used. I just downloaded some ISO from the Micro$oft page; it was the only download option I saw. So... what do you suggest? Reinstall Win7, activate, MAKE SURE it's activated, then try to just do an upgrade rather than clean Win10 install? Ugh... I don't want to spend another 2 hours on this shit. But if it will work, fine. But... I just hope it takes my Win7 key again.

No, I didn't use anything like Belarc. And I made an ISO CD of Win10 as the upgrade media.

How long did you use 10 ? Think is is some kind of time limit for rolling back.

If it's a possibility, call Microsoft and see if you can get them to help you activate it. Like @mobilewall said, it could also be an issue of switching drives from one computer to the other, but if you have legit keys, you can surely sort it out. That would also save you a lot of time.

If you decide to reinstall, you can get full ISOs officially from Microsoft from this link, without having to mess with the Media Creation Tool: I just checked, they're serving 1511 versions, so no need to install 7 first.

Ah, well, here's the problem... It's not a driver switch. The old SSD that I upgraded to Win10 had nothing to do with this current SSD and it's Win10 not working. I put Win7 on the new SSD then upgraded to Win10. No switch in drivers inbetween. So yeah, I probably should just try to have them activate it.

I meant drive as in ssd drive, not the driver, but yeah, if you did a clean install on both, not sure why it's giving you problems. Hope you solve it.

As you would be re-installing Windows 7 on the same system it should activate; it is normally only when switching systems when there would be an issue.

I forgot to mention in my original post that Microsoft now allow Windows 10 activation from Windows 7/8/8.1 keys. However, as Syanide said, if you are installing from an older build it won't work.

UPDATE: I called a tech support guy, we fiddled with some things, he said yeah, the only way to get this to work is via installing Win7 all over again and upgrading. He assured me that my key would work so... here I am now. Win10 is reinstalled again and... seems to be working fine. Except...

It seems to me that Win10 was improved over Win7 in so many ways and yet... so many stupid things I am noticing that I don't like. Why can't I have icons on my toolbar for more than one monitor with them acting independantly? Why can't I get rid of shit I don't care about, like Xbox? Why is this "new and improved" startmenu/all prgrams bar/etc a mess that I can't customize enough to fix their stupid designs?

Oh well, my complaints are now about the desktop, which I'm now working on and no longer about the keys. I believe it's fixed, but we'll see. Let this be a warning to anything wanting to upgrade lol

Glad you ended up getting it sorted, Tek_Elf.