How to regain free version of Windows 10 after changing computer hardware

Wait, what have you done? Did you just change your computer’s hardware and hoping to regain your free Windows 10 license? Planning to change your Windows 10 computer’s Motherboard, Hard Drive, Processor,  GPU or Transfer your Windows 10 license to a new Computer? Well, you’re out of luck, or maybe we’re just joking, keep reading to find out.

Here’s the thing, your free Windows 10 license is tied to your computer, so using it on a different computer is not so easy. But what if you change a particular component or hardware in your computer, would you still be able to regain your free license?


Activate Windows 10 free license after changing computer hardware

Microsoft doesn’t give much information about this because the company wants to keep pirates in the dark as much as possible. However, doing this only confuses legitimate users.

The free Windows 10 license vs. paid license

This is simple really. Microsoft doesn’t give users a product key with the free license, but this is done with the paid version. Because the free version of Windows 10 is linked to your computer, changing a specific hardware could be troublesome, because there’s isn’t a product key to get around the problem.

We do know that should you change the Hard Drive, Processor or the GPU, everything will be okay, but the real issue comes up if you have to replace the Motherboard.

It is like replacing a person’s brain with a freshly made brain from Walmart. He or she will be a different person because this new brain does not contain the same memory of the old.

Read: Windows 10 licensing – Acceptable changes in hardware.

How to successfully move past this issue

Install Windows 10 normally and skip the part where it wants you to add a product key. After installation, Windows 10 will attempt to activate itself and will fail in the process. You will now have a system that is saying you have a non-genuine version of Windows 10.

The activation screen will ask you to activate or purchase a key from Microsoft.

Now, according to Gabriel Aul, Vice President of Engineering for the Windows & Devices group at Microsoft, users who are facing this problem can simply contact support from within Windows 10 and explain to them what is going on.

You can contact Customer Support after you’ve made a hardware change to regain entitlement, said Gabe.

From here, Microsoft will make sure to activate Windows 10 for you.

This would have been an easier process if Windows 10 was tied to a Microsoft account. Still, it might help if you signed into the same Microsoft account after installing Windows 10 on a system with new hardware attached.

Transfer your Windows 10 license to a new Computer

If you have changed your laptop or desktop computer and want to now transfer your Windows 10 license to the new computer, you could try the following:

  1. Uninstall the Windows Product 10 Key from the old computer
  2. Install this Windows 10 Product Key on the new computer and Activate it.

If you face activation problems, Activate Windows 10 by Phone . Else you should contact Microsoft Support and explain your situation. The Windows Support agent will verify your Windows 10 Product Key and then give you an ID for activating Windows 10 on the new computer.

Now read: Digital Entitlement and Product Key Activation methods in Windows 10.

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Vamien McKalin possesses the awesome power of walking on water like a boss. He's also a person who enjoys writing about technology, comics, video games, and anything related to the geek world.