Best way to load Windows 10 on Older Laptops

Richard Schierer
Richard Schierer used Ask the Experts™
A client of mine has 10-15 HP laptops that are 3-4 years old, and have been taken off their books. The controller said that he is going to give away for about $50 each as is, no operating system. They had Windows 10 Enterprise loaded on them with an i5 and 8GB memory. Good little work horses.
The controller asked me to put together a package (as a consultant) to purchase enough Windows 10 licenses and install W10 on them and run the updates. It would then be sold as is, no warranties.

My questions are:

Which version of Win10 is best for this?
What is the most cost effective way of purchasing them?

Cost to purchase laptop + cost of license + cost of my services = Final Cost of Laptop to employee.

I am also going to include my business card with the final product and offer my services to them (as a consultant) to hopefully be able to support them.

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Distinguished Expert 2017

Windows 10 home.

Pre-ent what is did the systems vine with, COA?

Win10 is also digitally licensed.

You might get a better benefit by donating them and then getting the licensing through the non-profit to whom these are donated. Presumably you would need to purchase drives, small ssds...
Version of Win 10: Home is less expensive, Pro has a few more features, most importantly the ability to connect to a domain.  If the latter isn't needed, probably better to go with Home and save some money.

Price: I saw the OEM version of 10 Home for $96 on Amazon.  You'd have to confirm if this is a legitimate use of OEM.  You'll find it for significantly less some places, but VERY likely they are not legitimate.

I would make sure that I wiped the drives before I started to ensure that the old data can't be recovered.

You could install on one hd, run SysPrep, and duplicate the drives.  That could save a lot of installation time if the systems are similar hardware.  You would want to confirm whether or not the specific Windows license that you purchase allows that.  For 10-15 computers, if allowed, this could save you some significant time.  On the other hand, if you have all of the computers running at once, the installation process, done individually, isn't so bad.  As you are waiting for one computer to finish a process, you can move to the next one.

Arnold made a good suggestion about SSDs.  They could make a significant improvement in performance (if they presently have conventional HDs) at a very reasonable cost.  Your installation time will be less and the purchasers would have new drives, which are often the most likely part to fail.  You could also skip wiping the old drives if you gave them back to the original owner.
Top Expert 2016

become a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher and buy the licenses from Microsoft, no only do you get the software but the COA stickers to put on the machines.
Top Expert 2013

is there any reason to installa fresh windows10 Enterprise?  imo it should come up with a digital licence
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Did the Company purchase the machines with Windows 10 OEM installed by HP?
If so reinstall from the Current Windows 10 download at
You are able to transfer an OEM license to another user provided:

"The entire PC, however, may be transferred to another end user, along with the software license rights. When transferring the PC to the new end user, the following must be included:

    Original software media
    Manuals (if applicable)
    Certificate of authenticity (COA)
It is also advisable to include the original purchase invoice or receipt. The original end user cannot keep any copies of the software."

OEM activation should be automatic as the HP machines have OA3 keys built into the hardware.
Importantly understand that the machines will activate anyway, HP won't remove embedded keys it's not worth the time to them, however those machines will not have valid licencing for OEM even though the will activate.

(Because you're using Enterprise - none of these machines could have been used to add to your VL numbers as you can only reimage to the version supplied by the OEM so there are no other licencing implications for the buisiness)

If the Company bought the machines without an OEM system then the refurb suggestion by David is a good alternative but involves some extra work and initial cost for you but you can then redeploy systems cheaply to non-profits etc. going forward.

Otherwise you're looking at the best bulk retail offer for Home you can negotiate.
Richard SchiererOwner & Chief Technologist


My apologies for the delay in responding..
All the laptops had a COA for Win 7 Pro.
Corporate IT has their own 'tweeked' version of Win 10 Enterprise that they load on every computer after wiping the hard drive.
I downloaded the software from the suggested site to a USB stick.
The computer did not recognize the license automatically. Mostly I guess because I selected Win 10 Pro.
After the installation was completed, I used the COA that I found inside the battery compartment and activated the software by entering the keycode.
It worked great!
Thanks to all that submitted their advice.
As always you are my go to when I have questions.

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