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Hello all,

I was upgrading a Dell workstation to Windows 10 Pro + an SSD. This workstation was purchased with a Windows 8 Pro license and Windows 7 Pro pre-installed from Dell.

 I unplugged the old hard drive, plugged in the SSD, installed Windows 10, and Windows 10 was activated automatically when I logged in. I did not enter the new Windows 10 product key at any time.

As a side note, I did not use a Dell Windows 10 Pro installation CD. Rather, I used the official purple Microsoft CD that you get when you pick up a System Builder version of Windows 10. When I use this same disk to install on systems that I have built, I am always prompted for the key during installation. Additionally, I did not sign into a Microsoft account -- it loaded the local admin account I created during the installation.

So my questions are:

  1. Is this normal?
  2. Do Windows 8 OEM (in-BIOS) keys have upgrade rights to Windows 10?
  3. Is this workstation fully licensed to use Windows 10 Pro now, leaving me to install the new copy of Windows 10 on a different workstation that might not have upgrade rights?
Windows 10 activated automatically
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Rod-IT
Pure Capsaicin
OP
Rod-IT

It isnt valid.

The free upgrade offer has long since ended, but just because it activated, does not mean it is licensed.

Your key is valid for 8 and 7 (with downgrade rights), not 10.

21 Replies

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AceOfSpades
Ghost Chili
OP
AceOfSpades

Was Windows 10 ever installed on this PC in the past?  Activation would be normal if this was the case.

0
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jameskahre
Chipotle
OP
jameskahre

As long as you can go to control panel items\system and Windows Activation reads as activated, you are golden.

0
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jdgregson
Jalapeno
OP
jdgregson

AceOfSpades wrote:

Was Windows 10 ever installed on this PC in the past?  Activation would be normal if this was the case.

No, Windows 10 was never installed on this workstation. It came from Dell with a Windows 8 key embedded in the BIOS and Windows 7 installed, and that is all it has ever had.

0
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Rod-IT
Pure Capsaicin
OP
Rod-IT

Is this on a domain network with KMS or VAMT? If so they will license the device when it joins the domain

0
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Rod-IT
Pure Capsaicin
OP
Rod-IT

jameskahre wrote:

As long as you can go to control panel items\system and Windows Activation reads as activated, you are golden.

The license is for 8 as noted by the OP stating that's what it came with.

Being activated does not mean it's legal, it means it's activated.

1
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jdgregson
Jalapeno
OP
jdgregson

Rod-IT wrote:

Is this on a domain network with KMS or VAMT? If so they will license the device when it joins the domain

The workstation is on a domain network, but it had not been domain joined before activating. Additionally, there is no KMS, VAMT, or Volume Licensing of any kind in use on the network.

0
· · ·
Rod-IT
Pure Capsaicin
OP
Rod-IT

Then there is a chance and it's most likely it activated using the SLIC code (BIOS key), but as noted above, activated does not mean legally licensed - so long as you have a valid license I would change the key

3
· · ·
gilnov
Cayenne
OP
gilnov

Rod-IT wrote:

Then there is a chance and it's most likely it activated using the SLIC code (BIOS key), but as noted above, activated does not mean legally licensed - so long as you have a valid license I would change the key

^This^

Change the product key to the one from the OEM disc and you should be good to go...assuming you are giving/selling the machine to someone else (you aren't allowed to use an system builder license for your own computer).

0
· · ·
AceOfSpades
Ghost Chili
OP
AceOfSpades

jdgregson wrote:

Hello all,

I was upgrading a Dell workstation to Windows 10 Pro + an SSD. This workstation was purchased with a Windows 8 Pro license and Windows 7 Pro pre-installed from Dell.

 I unplugged the old hard drive, plugged in the SSD, installed Windows 10, and Windows 10 was activated automatically when I logged in. I did not enter the new Windows 10 product key at any time.

As a side note, I did not use a Dell Windows 10 Pro installation CD. Rather, I used the official purple Microsoft CD that you get when you pick up a System Builder version of Windows 10. When I use this same disk to install on systems that I have built, I am always prompted for the key during installation. Additionally, I did not sign into a Microsoft account -- it loaded the local admin account I created during the installation.

So my questions are:

  1. Is this normal?
  2. Do Windows 8 OEM (in-BIOS) keys have upgrade rights to Windows 10?
  3. Is this workstation fully licensed to use Windows 10 Pro now, leaving me to install the new copy of Windows 10 on a different workstation that might not have upgrade rights?

Just reread the OP.  The System Builder Media should be used to prep images, once installed the end user is supposed to enter their activation key from their OEM key.

So technically your current license state is invalid.

Here's a link to the steps required to prep.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/manufacture/desktop/system-builder-deployment-of-w...

0
· · ·
jdgregson
Jalapeno
OP
jdgregson

AceOfSpades wrote:

jdgregson wrote:

Hello all,

I was upgrading a Dell workstation to Windows 10 Pro + an SSD. This workstation was purchased with a Windows 8 Pro license and Windows 7 Pro pre-installed from Dell.

 I unplugged the old hard drive, plugged in the SSD, installed Windows 10, and Windows 10 was activated automatically when I logged in. I did not enter the new Windows 10 product key at any time.

As a side note, I did not use a Dell Windows 10 Pro installation CD. Rather, I used the official purple Microsoft CD that you get when you pick up a System Builder version of Windows 10. When I use this same disk to install on systems that I have built, I am always prompted for the key during installation. Additionally, I did not sign into a Microsoft account -- it loaded the local admin account I created during the installation.

So my questions are:

  1. Is this normal?
  2. Do Windows 8 OEM (in-BIOS) keys have upgrade rights to Windows 10?
  3. Is this workstation fully licensed to use Windows 10 Pro now, leaving me to install the new copy of Windows 10 on a different workstation that might not have upgrade rights?

Just reread the OP.  The System Builder Media should be used to prep images, once installed the end user is supposed to enter their activation key from their OEM key.

So technically your current license state is invalid.

Here's a link to the steps required to prep.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/manufacture/desktop/system-builder-deployment-of-w...

To clarify, I did not activate this workstation with the System Builder license key -- I simply used the installation media which came with the System Builder key. This system almost certainly activated using the Windows 8 key that it found in BIOS. My question is more or less asking if this should be considered valid licensing, and the consensus seems to be "no".

I have already acquired a retail key to activate this workstation, which I will use in the next couple of days if nobody can confirm that the licensing is valid.

0
· · ·
Rod-IT
Pure Capsaicin
OP
Best Answer
Rod-IT

It isnt valid.

The free upgrade offer has long since ended, but just because it activated, does not mean it is licensed.

Your key is valid for 8 and 7 (with downgrade rights), not 10.

0
· · ·
Lockout
Chipotle
OP
Lockout

Something doesn't sound right. I have never seen the local Admin enabled on a fresh build of WIN 10, regardless of version

0
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jdgregson
Jalapeno
OP
jdgregson

Lockout wrote:

Something doesn't sound right. I have never seen the local Admin enabled on a fresh build of WIN 10, regardless of version

It's like this: during installation you refuse to use a Microsoft account, you indicate that you intend to domain join in the future, and then it asks for a username, password, and password hint for the default user. This user is a local admin. You might be thinking that I meant *THE* "Administrator" account, but no, that is still disabled by default.

2
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John Krenn
Serrano
OP
John Krenn

Darkstar Computers is an IT service provider.

RodIt I think you're mistaken on this. Please check the link 

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12440/windows-10-activation

From what I read if it activates then it's legal. Because it "requires " a digital "license " to activate 

Activation helps verify that your copy of Windows is genuine and hasn’t been used on more devices than the Microsoft Software License Terms allow.

Depending on how you got your copy of Windows 10, activation uses either a digital license or a 25-character product key. Without one of these, activation can't continue, and one can't be substituted for the other.
A digital license (called a digital entitlement in Windows 10, Version 1511) is a method of activation in Windows 10 that doesn't require you to enter a product key. If you upgraded to Windows 10 for free from an activated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you should have a digital license instead of a product key.

Rod-IT wrote:

Then there is a chance and it's most likely it activated using the SLIC code (BIOS key), but as noted above, activated does not mean legally licensed - so long as you have a valid license I would change the key

I could be wrong on my interpretation but I don't think I am

Can somebody tag Chris in on this? For some reason I can't tag him

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s31064
Chipotle
OP
s31064

Rod-IT wrote:

jameskahre wrote:

As long as you can go to control panel items\system and Windows Activation reads as activated, you are golden.

The license is for 8 as noted by the OP stating that's what it came with.

Being activated does not mean it's legal, it means it's activated.

Rod-IT is correct in this.  I have more than several machines that are "activated" and very definitely NOT legal.  Now, in my case, these are all DEV machines that I play with, none of them are PROD, so if we were to get audited, I can destroy these systems in a heartbeat without a second thought so I'm not worried, but technically they are illegal.

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s31064
Chipotle
OP
s31064

John Krenn wrote:

I could be wrong on my interpretation but I don't think I am

Can somebody tag Chris in on this? For some reason I can't tag him

I believe Chris is still here in some capacity, but from what I gathered from one of his last posts, he is no longer with Microsoft.

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jdgregson
Jalapeno
OP
jdgregson

s31064 wrote:

John Krenn wrote:

I could be wrong on my interpretation but I don't think I am

Can somebody tag Chris in on this? For some reason I can't tag him

I believe Chris is still here in some capacity, but from what I gathered from one of his last posts, he is no longer with Microsoft.

Per this post it looks like we should be tagging Greg. Greg, do you have any insight on this?

2
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Gregory for Microsoft
Thai Pepper
OP
Gregory for Microsoft

Brand Representative for Microsoft

So from what I have experienced, especially with Dell systems, is they have a BIOS level key that will activate most system builder disks because they assume you are going to immediately sysprep and image. 

This initial system builder activation is really meant for you to be able to fully adjust the settings because without activation you cannot do things like adjust the display or modify the theme, etc, which you might want to do before imaging.

Using the Dell OEM Windows 10 disk will get you a similar experience with activating automatically using the BIOS key because it recognizes it is a Dell.

So if you are not going to image this to WDS or something similar for deployment then you should change out the key to one that is valid.

Let me know if that make sense and reply back with your thoughts so we can hash this one out.

3
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jdgregson
Jalapeno
OP
jdgregson

So you're saying that it would not have activated automatically if I had used a DVD or thumb drive that came with a Retail copy of Windows 10? I can see that being the case. I'll try to test with retail installation media next time I upgrade a workstation with an BIOS-embedded key. However, this workstation has already been re-licensed with a retail license and put back into production.

1
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Gregory for Microsoft
Thai Pepper
OP
Gregory for Microsoft

Brand Representative for Microsoft

yea something about that system builder version is very loose on activation, pretty sure it is by design...

report back your findings on the next round of upgrades so we can close this out with a solid answer.

1
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jdgregson
Jalapeno
OP
jdgregson

To the majority of people who are answering "Maybe it had previously been upgraded to 10" in the poll: No, this has never been upgraded to Windows 10.

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