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Even free upgraders can install Windows 10 from scratch

by Mark Tyson on 5 June 2015, 13:36

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Windows 10

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacr2b

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HEXUS readers have overall welcomed the free Windows 10 upgrade being offered by Microsoft to owners of Windows 7 and newer versions of the operating system. However, as a highly technical community who probably install and re-install Windows on their hardware more often than the average member of Joe Public, many of you wanted to know about 'clean installs'.

Clean installs

Now, thankfully, senior Microsoft executive Gabe Aul has come clean and revealed the answer to this burning question. After apologising that the information on answers.microsoft.com wasn't clear enough, Aul announced that "Once you upgrade W10 w/ the free upgrade offer you will able to clean reinstall Windows 10 on same device any time".

Following up on his comment, after the inevitable tidal wave of what ifs Tweeted by followers, Aul added that "Once you've upgraded to 10 on the machine the license will allow you to reinstall at no cost." Furthermore he confirmed that either doing an upgrade to a refreshed/restored older system or simply installing 'clean' from a downloadable ISO would be fine.

You can forget your old Windows key

Adding some more detail on the process Aul, Microsoft's General Manager OSG Data and Fundamentals team, Tweeted that "Once you have upgraded to 10, you won't need your key again. Writing it down is good practice though." Unfortunately it wasn't made clear how Microsoft would verify you were reinstalling on the same device and what, if any, activation process users would have to go though.

Overall this is very good news to would be Windows 10 users, the software/hardware tinkerers and those who like the backup of a clean ISO from which to start again.



HEXUS Forums :: 37 Comments

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Gg ms
Unfortunately it wasn't made clear how Microsoft would verify you were reinstalling on the same device and what, if any, activation process users would have to go though.

Beg to differ: we've had this conversation already over in http://forums.hexus.net/windows/339815-windows-7-retail-upgrade-windows-10-a.html#post3478226 and from the rest of that twitter conversation it's pretty clear that Microsoft will harvest some form of machine identifying information and bind your license to that hardware configuration, which will be checked by the activation service each time you re-install.

There's also a tweet (that I don't have a link to) saying they'll publish details of how much hardware can be changed before it's not considered the same device at a later date. But presumably within the next 8 weeks ;)
Technically they do that already from Win XP onwards. In their Ts & Cs of OS installs, you're legally bound to only use that license key on that machines hardware only on the keys first install. You're not allowed to change the Mobo or CPU, peripheral components are fine. But a quick phone call/internet activation and they don't really care. I think I've used the same license key on about 5 rebuild generations of hardware and I haven't had the Microsoft SWAT team knock down my door.

It's probably still going to be the same.

Edit: Just scanned through 8.1s licensing agreement and can't see that clause, maybe they removed it. I'm probably wrong, been a long time
Tabbykatze
You're not allowed to change the Mobo or CPU, peripheral components are fine. But a quick phone call/internet activation and they don't really care.

IIRC they identify Motherboard, CPU, MAC address and C drive. Change any two you are OK, more than that needs a phone call. Only once have I actually spoken to a person on the other end (I had already changed the CPU and HDD and a new motherboard meant a new MAC address), all the others have been automated - a bit long-winded but easy enough, certainly MUCH easier than Adobe.
I'm not so sure they'll be so bothered. From what I understand; 10 is going to be an delivery device for their appstore. They're feeling a bit left out. AFAIK you need a ms account to into it. I never used it though BTW.

I've been on 10 for a while now as part of the insider programme. Updated from vista on my laptop and oh boy! Its been like getting a hardware upgrade of a couple of gens. It seems lower level unless you know where to look, similar in many respects to android.