Windows 8.1: The OEM or Retail License and Product Activation - Windows 11 Installation Guides (2022)

I start with a brief introduction into Window licensing andhave put together my recommended mechanisms for downloading Windows installation media and activating your product depending on your license type.

There are some more in depth notes which explain in more detail how to determine your license type and explain how the activation mechanisms and if necessary workarounds work.

For all intents and purposes Windows 8.0 Service Pack 1 is Windows 8.1 so anything mentioned below that applies to Windows 8.1 also applies to Windows 8.0 unless specifically differentiated.

The older revision of this page got extremely popular due to previous issues where I compiled a working convoluted set of workarounds that are no longer necessary, Microsoft have simplified their Windows Deployment and hence made installation of Windows 8.1 far easier.

Brief Introduction – Windows Licensing

Microsoft Windows 8.1 issold via many different channels and there are a number of different activation mechanisms for Windows 8.1depending on the type of license you are utilising.

There are 5 different license types:

  • Major OEM License – Windows came licensed with your Dell, HP, …
    • DownloadWindows 8.1.iso*Won't work for BingEditions
    • Activate Windows Online
  • Retail License – You Bought a Full Windows 8.1 License
    • DownloadWindows 8.1 .iso
    • Activate Windows Online
  • Retail “Upgrade Only” License– You Bought a Full Windows 8.0 Upgrade License
    • Download Windows 8.1 .iso
    • Activate Windows Online
  • OEM System Builder License– You Bought a WindowsOEM System Builders License
    • Download Windows 8.1 .iso
    • Activate Windows Online
  • Volume License – You are using your organisations Volume Licensing and you should contact your IT department.

In Depth– Windows Licensing

  • Major OEM License
    • Determining your Edition from System
    • Determining your OEM SLP Key
    • Legacy Issues with Installation Media
  • Retail License andRetail “Upgrade Only” License
  • OEM System Builder License
  • Volume License

Major OEM License

The Windows 8.1 OEM license should be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 for a promotional period of 1 year after its final release.

Because no installation media is provided for Windows 8.1 RT (a crippled version of Windows 8.1 essentially equivalent in functionality toWindows Phone) and Windows 8.1 with Bing or Windows 8.1 SL with Bing. I do not recommend purchase of any of these devices.

The Microsoft Windows 8.1 OEM licenses uses OEM 3.0 system locked preinstallation keys for activation. OEM 3.0 SLP activation inputs a unique 25 digit product key into the systems UEFI BIOS and hence has no need for a COA which have been removed due to piracy issues and due to the multiple problems users had when they peeled off or faded.

This part mainly concerns OEM product keys as there are more Editions and the product key (SLP key) resides in the UEFI BIOS.Many that will advise you on Windows installation on Microsoft Answers will say the choice is very easy and that there are only two "Editions" to choose from in accordance to your sticker and are wrong… there are actually 8 OEM editions users have made me aware of…

Unfortunately there is no way for the user to distinguish between some of these Editions and it should be stressed that are not interchangeable:

Windows 8.1 (Core/Home) ≠ Windows 8.1 N (Core/Home)≠ Windows 8.1 SL (Core/Home)≠ Windows 8.1 with Bing≠ Windows 8.1 with Bing SL≠Windows 8.1 Professional≠ Windows 8.1 Professional N

Home Editions

(Video) Upgrade Windows Home to Pro with oem or retail activation key

If you have this sticker which says "Windows 8" you likely have one of the following three editions:

Windows 8.1: The OEM or Retail License and Product Activation - Windows 11 Installation Guides (1)

  • Windows 8.1MostCommon
  • Windows 8.1 Single Language Common
  • Windows 8.1 N Rare

In the vast majority of cases the "Home Edition" is "Windows 8.1" or "Windows 8.1 Single Language". If your system has this sticker try downloading these two .isos and if one of the .isos takes you to the license agreement during installation you have the correct "Edition".

The "N" Editions are rare so try these only if the regular .isos don't work.

Home with Bing Editions

I had a look at a few shops BestBuy, PC World, Staples in the US, CA and in the UK. I checked the sticker at the base of the system and compared this with the Edition in system properties. I was looking in particular for a difference in the with Bing systems. Although all the systems have a sticker which just says "Windows 8" similar to the other 3 Editions which the Media Creation Tool Supports it wasa different sticker.

If you have this sticker which looks like the following you likely haveone of the withBing Editions which are unfortunately not supported by the Microsoft Windows 8.1 Media Creation Tool:

  • Windows 8.1 with Bing Most Common
  • Windows 8.1 Single Language with Bing Common

Pro Editions

If you have this sticker you likely have one of the following 2 editions:

Windows 8.1: The OEM or Retail License and Product Activation - Windows 11 Installation Guides (4)

  • Windows 8.1 Pro Most Common
  • Windows 8.1 ProN Rare

In the vast majority of cases the "Professional Edition" is "Windows 8.1 Pro".If your system has this sticker try downloading this.iso and if the .iso takes you to the license agreement during installation you have the correct "Edition".

The "N" Editions are rare so try these only if the regular .isos don't work.

(Video) Activate Windows 11 Using Windows 10 Product key Or OEM Digital License

RT Edition

If you have this sticker you have Windows RT:

Windows 8.1: The OEM or Retail License and Product Activation - Windows 11 Installation Guides (5)

A Windows RT device hashardware in particular a processor that is non-Intel/AMD using instead Arm processors. These devices were made to compete with Chrome Books as budget devices and prolonged battery life.

However in reality Arm processors do not scratch the potential ofIntel/AMD processors because of the magnitude of third party applications written using either the Intel x86 or AMDx64 architectures (Intel and AMD have an agreement – Intel use AMD x64 and AMD use Intel x86).

These means the overwhelming majority of third party applications will run fine on Windows 8 but not onWindows RT. This gives Windows RT essentially the capabilities of Windows Phone…

This Edition was terribly marketed and sold often by shops as Windows 8. As a consequence of being sold and marketed as a broken variant of Windows 8 with the end user seeing it as a device with Windows 8 butwith nothing working, Windows RT was highly unpopular. In turn as it was unpopular, developers never felt the urge to write programs which would run on Windows RT therefore making it redundant.

Windows RT isunfortunately unsupported by the Windows 8.1 Media Creation Tool and you have to procure installation media from Dell.

Determining Edition from System

If your system is working you can determine your Windows Edition and the easiest way of determining what edition your product key is for is by right clicking the start button (or pressing [Windows] and [x]) and then selecting system:

Your Windows 8.1 Edition will be listed at the top.

Determining your UEFI OEM SLP Product Key

The product key can be obtained using RWEverything but this is unecessary if the correct installation .iso is utilised from the Windows 8.1 Media Creation utility:

(Video) How to find product key for Windows 11

To find out the OEM BIOS Embedded System locked Product Key select ACPI Tables and the MSDM tab, copy down your product key.

Note RW-Everything is the preferred utility to obtain your BIOS embedded product key because it will give you the product key regardless what version of Windows is installed. Other utilities can give bogus keys from the Windows registry.

For example this can be important if you have downgraded to Windows 7 and wish to migrate to Windows 8.1.

Legacy Issues with Installation Media

Important note, in the past Microsoft had asubstandarddeployment of both Windows 8.0 and 8.1 but listened to user feedback. Older installation mediahad the following problems and even if you have procured them from Dell I recommend never using them:

  • Discrimination between Windows 8.0 and Windows 8.1 Product Keys
    • Windows 8.1 media rejected 8.0 keys
    • Windows 8.0 media rejected 8.1 keys
    • Could be bypassed by use of Generic Keys and Change Key after installation.
  • Windows 8.0 involved a convoluted forced upgrade to Windows 8.1 via the Microsoft Store. This was problematic at best. The download is practically the same size as the full .iso.
  • Windows 8.1 media with this fault did not contain update 1. The update to update 1 was also problematic.

Use the Windows 8.1 Media Creation Utility to get Windows 8.1 with Update 1 Media.

Retail and Retail Upgrade

The Windows 8.1Retaillicenses should be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 for a promotional period of 1 year after its final release. This is not applicable to Vista or XP licenses.

If you purchased Windows separately from your computer:

  • Windows 8.0 is "Upgrade Only"
  • Windows 8.1 is "Full"

However Windows 8.0 → Windows 8.1.

These licenses will come with a unique 25 digit product key affixed to the box with the installation media or were sent to you via email. Its recommended to email yourself a copy of the 25 digit product key in case you misplace the boxed media.

The Full version of the license can be installed and transferred from one computer to the other without any problems provided that it is only installed on one computer at a time.

“Upgrade Only” installation media as the name suggests only lets you install on top of an old Windows version. There are two main problems with this:

  • This method of installation always leads to detrimental performance
  • Many users have lost their installation media for their old license or didn’t get installation media for their old license if its OEM.
    • TheOEM will be unable to ship installation media for the original Windows XP license as its reached End of Life.
    • The cost of procuring media for an out of Windows Vista system is higher than a new license.

It is therefore recommended you toss any Windows 8.0 installation DVDs in the bin.You may download aWindows 8.1 .iso using the Windows 8.1 media Creation Tool and this does not discriminate between Windows 8.0 and 8.1.

(Video) Windows 8.1 X64 oem 3in1 part 1

For the Retail Full licenses input your product key during installation and it should automatically activate online.

The Retaillicense is supported by Microsoft and not Dell. Dell may therefore not provide drivers for systems users have upgraded themselves but Windows 7 drivers will suffice in most cases. I have some additional notes mentioned here regarding system drivers:

Windows 8.1 retail can be evaluated by use of generic product keys:

  • Core/Home=334NH-RXG76-64THK-C7CKG-D3VPT
  • Core/Home N=6NPQ8-PK64X-W4WMM-MF84V-RGB89
  • Core/Home Single Language=Y9NXP-XT8MV-PT9TG-97CT3-9D6TC
  • Professional=XHQ8N-C3MCJ-RQXB6-WCHYG-C9WKB
  • Professional N=JRBBN-4Q997-H4RM2-H3B7W-Q68KC
  • Professional with Media Centre=GBFNG-2X3TC-8R27F-RMKYB-JK7QT

OEM System Builder License

This is easily the most understood license because Microsoft’s intended use of the license was different to the bulk number of cases where the license was used.

This license is designed for smaller system builders to sell e.g. for local computer shops to purchase that build custom systems and sell them on to the end user with preinstalled Windows and installation media. Because such shops only sell a low volume of systems (compared to Dell or HP) there is no custom BIOS to include the markers for OEM SLP activation. The computer shop are meant to be the ones to support the license and since they can only support their own configuration there is the same OEM inability to transfer the license; it is tied to the original mainboard.The installation and activation for this license type is therefore more similar to a retail license. Phone activation may be required if Retail media is used for installation however.

In reality however it is seen by the end user as a cheap “Retail” license and users purchased it as it was significantly cheaper than the Retail Full or Retail “Upgrade Only” licenses. Experienced endusers accepted that they got the license for cheaper and their only limitation was that they couldn’t transfer the license or get Microsoft support. Naturally less experienced users also followed this trend and didn’t understand the limitations.

Volume Licensing

The Volume License is essentially a volume “Upgrade Only” License although it can be utilised for clean installation.

The point is organisations purchase maybe >25 or more systems with OEM licenses from Dell. IT departments will struggle deploying custom Windows installations on possibility 100’s or 1000’s of systems with OEM licenses.

The Volume License gives them the flexibility to deploy Windows throughout their entire organisation without having to waste time phoning Microsoft to activate every system or separately clean install each system with a Dell Windows 7 OEM Reinstallation DVD.

If you are the end user, you likely have a dedicated IT department handling this. If you are the dedicated IT department and want to know more about it, then contact Microsoft who will give you a custom quote:


Can I use Windows 8 product key for Windows 11? ›

If you have a device running Windows 7, 8.1, or 10, you will likely be able to upgrade and activate Windows 11 for free. If you are wondering, yes, you can activate an installation of Windows 11 with a Windows 7 product key. Therefore, you can also use a genuine Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 key.

How can I upgrade my Windows 8.1 to 11 for free? ›

To upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 8.1 with an ISO file, use these steps:
  1. Download Windows 11 ISO file.
  2. Right-click the ISO file and select the Mount option.
  3. Click on the mounted drive from the left navigation pane.
  4. Double-click the Setup file to begin the Windows 11 upgrade process.
5 Jul 2022

Can you upgrade directly from Windows 8.1 to Windows 11? ›

The good news is that you can directly upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 11. Plus, you won't be losing any of your data and apps as the upgrade is non-destructive. However, it's always a good idea to use a Windows backup app to create a full backup before proceeding.

Is Windows 8.1 better than Windows 11? ›

Performance. When comparing Windows 8.1 vs Windows 11, we found some significant differences in the way each one performed. In general, Windows 11 is faster overall, with fewer background processes. The OS is optimized to run on low-end PCs, but it still uses a fair bit of system resources.

Can I use OEM key to activate Windows 11? ›

Windows 10 OEM keys works with Windows 11, there is no Windows 11 license keys , those are fakes even Microsoft not selling Windows license, it is a free upgrade from Windows 10.

How can I tell if Windows 8.1 is compatible with Windows 11? ›

Check for compatibility

Go to your PC and download the PC Health Check app to see if your PC can run Windows 11. Screens simulated.

How can I upgrade to Windows 11 if not compatible? ›

If you have a computer with unsupported hardware, you may upgrade to Windows 11, but not through Windows Update. Instead, you will have to use a bootable USB flash drive or ISO file to perform a clean install or in-place upgrade manually.

How can I upgrade my laptop from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 for free? ›

To upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, open Media Creation Tool, select “Upgrade this PC now,” and click Install. Yes, you can still upgrade for free since the Windows 8.1 product key will activate Windows 10. Although files and apps will be preserved, you still want to create a backup of your computer.

How do I force upgrade to Windows 11? ›

Windows Update in Settings (recommended)

If you're upgrading from Windows 10, we recommend you wait until you're notified through Windows Update that the upgrade is ready for your device. To check if Windows 11 is ready for your device, select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates.

How much does it cost to upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 11? ›

(Windows 11 is free for Windows 8 users.) After downloading and installing Windows 10, search and select Windows Update Setting and select Windows Updates. When a Windows 11 update is found, download the Windows 11 file and follow the prompts to install the new operating system.

Can I put Windows 11 on an old computer? ›

Microsoft doesn't want you to, but you can actually install Windows 11 on your old PC if you really want to.

Is Windows 8.1 end of life? ›

Support for Windows 8.1 is discontinued, but the software will continue to function. However, after January 10, 2023, your computer running Windows 8.1 will no longer receive security updates.

Why does Windows 11 need 8th gen? ›

Why won't Windows 11 run on 7th generation Intel processors? According to MS reason is missing TPM support. Starting with 8th gen Intel added TPM like device inside CPU called PTT - Platform Trust Tech. AMD Ryzen (starting with Ryzen 2000) also has it and calls it fTPM (firmware TPM).

Why does Windows 11 only support 8th gen? ›

And the requirement is simple, because only 8th Gen and newer support TPM 2.0, which is a core part of the improved security of Windows 11. Can Windows 11 run on an Intel Core i3?

Is Windows 11 much faster? ›

In short, updating to Windows 11 means a more snappy experience where apps load faster and your PC wakes from sleep with ease. Windows 10 fast, but Windows 11 is just a bit faster.

Can I use the same product key twice for Windows 11? ›

You're allowed to reuse such a key on different computers. (However, you can't use a single license on multiple computers simultaneously.) So if you build a whole new PC, you can move the license over to it with no hassle.

Can I install Windows 11 without product key? ›

If you have a digital license for your device, you can reinstall the same edition of Windows 11 on this device without entering a product key. Make sure that Windows 11 is activated before you try to reinstall it. To find out, select the Start button, and then select Settings > System > Activation .

Is OEM key legal? ›

Yes, OEMs are legal licenses. The only difference is they cannot be transferred to another computer.

What happens if you install Windows 11 on a incompatible device? ›

If you proceed with installing Windows 11, your PC will no longer be supported and won't be entitled to receive updates. Damages to your PC due to lack of compatibility aren't covered under the manufacturer warranty.

Why does Windows 11 say my system isn't compatible? ›

If you saw that your PC is not compatible with Windows 11, it may be because your system doesn't have two security settings turned on, Secure Boot and TPM 2.0. Here's how to do it. Microsoft started a phased rollout of Windows 11 earlier this year with a preview version of its flagship OS.

How do I know if my Windows 11 is manually compatible? ›

How to check if your device meets Windows 11 system requirements after changing device hardware
  1. If you haven't yet, install the PC Health Check app here.
  2. Press Windows logo key + S or select Search, type pc health check, and select PC Health Check from the list of results.
  3. Select Check now.

How do I install Windows 11 without TPM and Secure Boot? ›

You'll need a tool called Rufus which can be downloaded from GitHub.
Just follow these three steps:
  1. Open Rufus and click Select to select the ISO file.
  2. Go to Image options and choose “Extended Windows 11 Installation (no TPM/ no Secure Boot)” from the list.
  3. Press Start and wait for the process to complete.
10 Mar 2022

How do I install Windows 11 on an unsupported computer without losing data? ›

Directly click Settings and select Update & Security > Windows Update, then tap on Check for updates, you will see all the available update including Windows 11. Click it and start the installtion.

How do I upgrade my laptop from Windows 8 to 11? ›

To check if Windows 11 is ready for your device, go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and select Check for updates. If the upgrade is available for your device and you want to proceed, download and install it.

Can I directly upgrade from Windows 8.1 to 10? ›

ZDNET Recommends

As a result, you can still upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 and claim a free digital license for the latest Windows 10 version, without being forced to jump through any hoops.

Can I upgrade Windows 8 OEM to Windows 10? ›

technically the upgrade should be possible. But you need a Windows 10 Home license for the upgrade. Attachments: Up to 10 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 3.0 MiB each and 30.0 MiB total.

How do I choose which Windows 11 to install? ›

How to Force Windows Setup to Show the Windows 11 Editions During Clean Install. As discussed above, you can place a tiny ei. cfg file inside the bootable media folder to force Windows Setup to show the select edition screen during installation.

Will Windows 11 receive updates on unsupported hardware? ›

Meanwhile, the company has spread the message that installing Windows 11 on an unsupported PC means it won't be supported and won't be entitled to receive updates in the future.

Is Windows 11 upgrade free forever? ›

Once you complete the upgrade, your Windows 10 license will be converted to a Windows 11 license. So yes, you will always have it and will not be asked for extra fees.

How much is a copy of Windows 11? ›

Buy Windows from Microsoft: $139 - $199

You can get Windows 10 Home (opens in new tab) or Windows 11 Home for $139 (opens in new tab). And you can get Windows 10 Pro (opens in new tab) or Windows 11 Pro for $199 (opens in new tab). You can get these either as downloads or on USB drives.

Is win10 faster than win11? ›

Windows 11 is faster than Windows 10. Processing performance and RAM distribution are notably quicker with Windows 11. What is the big difference between Windows 10 and Windows 11? Speed and design are the two main changes between 10 and 11.

How many GB does Windows 11 use? ›

RAM: 4 gigabytes (GB) or greater. Storage: 64 GB* or greater available storage is required to install Windows 11. Extra storage space might be required to download updates and enable specific features.

What is the oldest computer that can run Windows 11? ›

A PC from 2017. with 8th gen Intel core, or Ryzen 2nd gen. 8GB of RAM and HD display.

How long does Windows 11 take to install on a laptop? ›

How Does It Take to Install Windows 11. General: Between 10 and 20 minutes. On different devices, Windows 11 is installed at different times. For example, it only takes about 10 minutes to update on the latest SSD.

How long can I use Windows 8.1 without activation? ›

Hi Raja, I would like to inform you that Windows 8 will last without activating, for 30 days. During the 30 day period, Windows will show the Activate Windows watermark about every 3 hours or so. It also shows the build version of Windows 8 at the bottom right hand corner of your desktop.

Is Windows 10 or 8.1 better? ›

Winner: Windows 10 corrects most of Windows 8's ills with the Start screen, whilst revamped file management and virtual desktops are potential productivity boosters. An outright victory for desktop and laptop users.

Is Windows 8.1 faster than Windows 7 on older computers? ›

Windows 8 Starts Up faster than Windows 7. Windows 8 took 18 seconds while windows 7 took 27 seconds. Calculated diff1erence is 8 seconds.

Why is Windows 11 so strict? ›

The reasons for the strict Windows 11 minimum system requirements are performance- and security-based, according to Microsoft. The company's testing found that devices that did not meet minimum requirements experienced 52% more kernel mode crashes, aka the blue screen of death.

Is SSD compulsory for Windows 11? ›

Microsoft's most current (opens in new tab) list of hardware requirements calls for a '64 GB or larger storage device' for Windows 11, so an SSD isn't a minimum requirement for a standard install.

Can 4gb RAM run Windows 11? ›

According to Windows 11 system requirements, my 4 GB ram is enough to upgrade my pc from windows 10 to windows 11.

Does Windows 11 support 8th gen? ›

Need to determine if a system with Intel® Processor is eligible for installing Windows 11*. All Intel® Core™ Processors that are 8th Generation and higher support Windows 11*.

Will Windows 11 run smoothly on 8GB RAM? ›

Is 8GB RAM enough for Windows 11? Windows 11 RAM requirement is 4GB. 8GB RAM can run Windows 11 and some other basic software. But if you want to run some productive software, 8GB is not enough.

Is Windows 11 better than Windows 8? ›

When comparing Windows 8.1 vs Windows 11, we found some significant differences in the way each one performed. In general, Windows 11 is faster overall, with fewer background processes. The OS is optimized to run on low-end PCs, but it still uses a fair bit of system resources.

What are the disadvantages of Windows 11? ›

With that said, below is our selection of the top complaints users have about Windows 11.
  • Windows 11's Hardware Requirements Are Too Stringent. ...
  • Changing Default Apps in Windows 11 Is Too Hard. ...
  • You Have to Sign in to a Microsoft Account to Use Windows 11. ...
  • Windows 11's Start Menu Is Less Usable Than Windows 10's.

Does Windows 11 use more RAM? ›

Yes, Windows 11 uses more RAM than earlier versions of Windows. This is because Windows 11 includes a lot of new features and programs that require more memory to run. On average, Windows 11 uses about 4 GB of RAM.

Is Windows 11 better now 2022? ›

Dubbed the Windows 11 2022 Update (and referred to as version 22H2 on your PC), the free download has started rolling out to users in more than 190 countries, says Microsoft. It comes with several new features and improvements offered to those on laptops, desktops and tablets. Is it worth the upgrade? Absolutely.

Is my product key valid for Windows 11? ›

Can I use a Windows 10 product key to activate Windows 11? Yes, users can activate Windows 11 using a Windows 10 product key. If your system already has an assigned digital license for Windows 10, it should automatically activate.

Can I use my old Windows 8 key on a new computer? ›

It depends on whether the Windows 8.1 Product key is retail or came preinstalled on the PC (OEM). Retail keys can migrate to new hardware, but OEM cannot - and the Upgrade inherits both the rights and restrictions.

Is a Windows 8 key valid for Windows 10? ›

You can also still upgrade Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro by using a product key from a previous business edition of Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 (Pro/Ultimate).

Do you need a new product key for Windows 11? ›

You'll need to use a valid product key to activate Windows 11 on a device that has never had an activated copy of Windows 11 on it. You'll also need to use a valid product key if you're installing an edition of Windows 11 that wasn't previously activated on the device.

How much does a Windows 11 license key cost? ›

The easiest but most expensive way to get Windows is to buy your key directly from You can get Windows 10 Home (opens in new tab) or Windows 11 Home for $139 (opens in new tab). And you can get Windows 10 Pro (opens in new tab) or Windows 11 Pro for $199 (opens in new tab).

Why does my Windows key not work Windows 11? ›

If Filter Keys is turned on, it could be causing the Windows key to stop working on Windows 11. To make sure Filter Keys is disabled, open the Start menu and select Settings. From there, press Accessibility > Keyboard. In the Keyboard menu, make sure the Filter keys option is set to off.

Can I use OEM key for install Windows on another computer? ›

OEM versions of Windows installed on a computer can't be transferred under any circumstances. Only personal-use OEM licenses purchased separately from a computer can be transferred to a new system.

Can I transfer a Windows OEM key? ›

From an OEM Windows 7, Windows 8, or 8.1 licenses upgrade, these are licenses that come preinstalled on a new computer from a manufacturer, and then your Windows 10 license maintains the OEM rights – cannot be transferred. If you have a full retail copy of Windows 10, you can transfer it as many times as you want.

Can I use same product key for 2 computers? ›

Whether you have a product key or digital license for your copy of Windows 10, you can only install and use it on one computer at a time. If you want to install Windows 10 on other computers, you'll need to buy a new copy with its own product key for each one.

Can I activate Windows 10 with a Windows 8 OEM key? ›

Please note, you can also use your OEM product key too if Windows came preinstalled on your computer. If you are running an OEM preinstalled Windows 8/8.1 license, Windows 10 setup should automatically detect the product key and install it automatically.

How do I find my win 8.1 product key? ›

Locate your product key for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1

Generally, if you bought a physical copy of Windows, the product key should be on a label or card inside the box that Windows came in. If Windows came preinstalled on your PC, the product key should appear on a sticker on your device.

Is Windows 11 license tied to motherboard? ›

When installing Windows 11, the digital license associates itself with your device's hardware. If you make significant hardware changes on your device, such as replacing your motherboard, Windows will no longer find a license that matches your device, and you'll need to reactivate Windows to get it up and running.

How long can I use Windows 11 without a key? ›

What are the limitations of Windows 11 if it's not activated? If you installed Windows 11 without a product key and it's not activated, Microsoft allows you to use it forever.

How do I bypass the product key when installing Windows 11? ›

If you are installing Windows for the first time on a new machine, a screen shows up that says— Enter key to activate Windows. On the same screen, you also have the option that says I don't have a product key. Select this, and Windows installation will continue.

How can I activate my Windows 11 for free? ›

Activate Windows 11 CMD (with KMS)
  1. Launch Command Prompt as an administrator in Windows 11. ...
  2. Install a license key: type the command slmgr /ipk kmsclientkey and press Enter. ...
  3. You need to set a KMS server by using the command slmgr /skms yourserver. ...
  4. Type slmgr /ato and press Enter to activate Windows 11.
14 Jun 2022


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