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

A little over a month ago, I had the opportunity to upgrade a whole slew of Win 10 machines.

Back then, I wrote this article: Reactivating Windows 10 after a second major hardware upgrade

Now, I thought I had everything figured out in terms of re-activing Win 10 after a hardware upgrade.

However, it seems things have changed in even more ways than I thought.

SIGH (again)…

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Reactivating Windows 10 after a second major hardware upgrade

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.

SIGH…

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Upgrade your motherboard without reinstalling Windows 10

You’ve upgraded to Windows 10. All is well.

But then one day, you decide to upgrade your motherboard, processor, and RAM…

With Windows 7, you didn’t have anything to worry about. Most likely, Windows would reactivate after your upgrade, and if it didn’t, an automated phone call to Microsoft was all it took to get back up and running.

But then came Windows 10: You now have a digital entitlement, which then changed to a digital license, which means… ??? Furthermore, until recently your ONLY option was to reinstall everything.

So how the heck do you reactivate Windows 10 after a major hardware upgrade?

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Activate an Invalid Copy of Windows Without Reinstalling

What happens when you discover your copy of Windows is invalid? You probably will get a Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) notification informing you that you’re illegal, and you need to purchase a legal license.

This can happen for a number of reasons, and not simply piracy. Perhaps you bought a computer second-hand and were told your Windows install was valid, only to find out later that it wasn’t. That’s a pretty common scenario, and a darn annoying one. If you search the net and Microsoft’s web site for a way to activate your copy with a legal key you purchased, you may find yourself in a bit of a mess.

You see, it isn’t terribly obvious that you CAN in fact simply activate Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 with a new legal key – and without reinstalling anything at all. Finding the information on how to do this is rather difficult, and I’m not sure why.

Not to worry though – it’s a piece of cake!

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