I recently ran into a little problem: I upgraded a puter that had Windows 10 on it, and Win 10 refused to reactivate afterwards!

Now, you might have read my guide here: Upgrade your motherboard without reinstalling Windows 10

Well, it works.

But… It appears there is a limit to the number of times you can upgrade the hardware in your puter before M$ will insist on a call to their beloved Tech Support line.


First things first

I should note that the particular puter I upgraded (motherboard, processor, and RAM) had already been upgraded once already since the free original Win 10 upgrade was installed.

So, this would be the second major hardware upgrade.

Also, the time period since the last upgrade was only 18 months, which isn’t terribly long.

Unfortunately, no one seems to know how many times you can re-activate Win 10 using the MS Account Trick outlined in my above-linked article.

In this case, the answer was: once!

And that’s with upgrading to Win 10 Pro from a retail version of Win 8.1 Pro.

Speaking of Product ID Keys…

Now, I could have called Microsoft’s tech support line and yelled at them.

But as it happens, I have a few extra copies of Windows 8.1 Pro (retail version) that I never used.

So, instead of calling M$, I decided to click the Change your Product Key link when re-activation failed after this recent upgrade.

I entered one of the other never-used retail keys for Windows 8.1 Pro… and then I clicked the Activate button in Win 10.

Whattaya know?! It worked!!!

So in short, this means a couple of interesting things:

  1. Don’t expect to upgrade your mobo more than 1 time before you’ll have to call M$
  2. Old Win 8 product keys for retail versions of the OS – that were never upgraded to Win 10 – can apparently still be used to activate Windows 10!

In other words, even though the free upgrade to Windows 10 period ended long ago, it appears that you can still install Win 10 on any puter, and if you have a valid Win 8 retail product key, use that as your product key for Win 10 – and you should be all set.

Isn’t that a daisy?

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