15 January 2019
Windows 10 Reactivation after hardware upgrade: CONQUERED!

Regular readers are aware that I have been doing battle with re-activating Windows 10 after performing numerous major upgrades on various puters.

I had another opportunity recently to upgrade yet another machine… This time, the entire computer was replaced – except the graphics card and power supply.

Once again, I was confronted with an activation error after the upgrade.

Out of desperation, I tried something crazy… and it WORKED!

Backstory

If you’d like to read all the sordid details of my trials up to this point, see:

Episode 3: Reactivating Windows 10 after a major hardware upgrade (again)

Right. Now that that’s out of the way…

Victory at last!

This time, I did the old Microsoft Account trick, and once again, it didn’t work.

So then, I did something totally nutty: I switched back from a Microsoft Account to a local account on the upgraded puter.

And then I tried to reactivate with the same old Windows 7 product key that was originally used for the free upgrade to Win 10 on that particular machine.

Guess what?

It WORKED!

So, I guess MS is “blocking” the Microsoft Account Trick – even though their own support site says to use that technique. Whatever!

Keep it simple

Forget it. Just upgrade the machine, skip the MS account switchover before and after. When it comes time to reactivate, just go to Settings -> Update & Security -> Activation and click Change Product Key.

Enter the same product key, and Bob’s your uncle.

It appears that when Win 10 sees the new hardware, it resets the product key back to the “default” Win 10 key that will be used if you install the OS without one (yes, you can do that).

Re-entering the same valid Win 7/8 key that you used for your free upgrade to Win 10 then goes through without a hitch, and you’re re-activated… as long as you are logged in with a local account.

Hopefully this is the end of Upgrade Reactivation Madness…

VICTORY! Reactivate Windows 10 after a hardware upgrade
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