Free Windows 10 Upgrade

sglee
sglee used Ask the Experts™
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Hi,
 
 I have Windows 7 computers upgraded to Windows 10 for free because, as we know, it is free until July 2016.
 My question is what happens if your computer hard drive is replaced after July 2016.
 
Thanks.
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Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
After a reinstallation, it should reactivate for free again.
However, MS has not yet documented what hardware changes a system may undergo to devalidate its Win10 license.

Author

Commented:
"It should reactivate for free again."
When I get a new hard drive, for example, should I install Windows 7 (that came with the computer) and seek Windows 10 upgrade? What is the procedure of restoring Windows 10 without the original Windows 10 DVD or Windows 10 on Restore partition on the hard drive?
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
You can download an ISO now or later using the free media creation tool.
That you can use to install win10 clean, skipping the key or entering your win7 key. When that machine was already activated before, it will reactivate. If exchanging the hard drive will invalidate the free win10 license, nobody knows, MS has not documented that yet. In tests (people have done that) it worked on different hard drives as well, but we don't know if after the promotion period ends, the activation servers will be stricter about that.
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Tyler CoheeCustomer Service Technician
Commented:
You'll want to use the Media Creation tool to make a backup copy of the Windows 10 install, which can be found here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

You can also extract the product key from BIOS that the computer is referencing using the tool found here: http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-recover-windows-88-1-product-key-from-bios/.  

I would also make sure you create the Windows 7 recovery media for your computer in order to restore to that if all else fails.

Author

Commented:
I believe MS will allow you to re-activate Windows 10 as many times as you want until July 2016.
My question is what happens after July 2016 when "FREE" upgrade period is over.
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
"I believe MS will allow you to re-activate Windows 10 as many times as you want until July 2016." - no, not until July 2016 but forever, until that device dies (its hardware dies). Question is: what happens if we exchange single components like the hard drive. (3rd time): MS has not documented that as of today.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
The license for Windows 10 is stored in an area of the Microsoft Store and as noted above, you can do a bare metal reinstall and Windows 10 will reactivate.  I have done this once.

So long as the hardware looks legitimate, it will reactivate "forever". I do not know (better than anyone else above) what happens if you change enough hardware components. Hard drives can be changed without issue.

Prior to Windows 10, when enough components change, I just do a telephone activation and that works.

I don't think we have anything to worry about.

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the information.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
You are very welcome and I was happy to help.

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