How to Transfer Windows 10 License to New Computer, Hard Drive, or SSD.
Windows 10 license is not free, whether home or business user, you have to pay for it. This is why most people want to transfer their Windows 10 license to a new hard drive or computer. There may be many reasons for this. Your old hard drive is damaged. You bought a new computer or laptop and sell the old one. To complicate matters further, Microsoft sells its license through different channels, such as the OEM license used by manufacturers who sell a pre-installed licensed copy of Windows with their laptops, retailers such as Amazon, academic institutions with student licensing, and corporate licensing.
Another question arises? Do you want to transfer just your Windows 10 license or the entire Windows 10 OS along with all apps and files intact? If it’s just a license, keep reading. If this is the first, read this post.
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Transfer your Windows 10 license to a new computer
1. Any transferable license
We know Microsoft loves to complicate things. They also like to sell their licenses through different channels and media and in different ways. Here’s the inside story.
- You can only migrate your Windows 10 license once if it was upgraded from a retail version of Windows 8.1 or earlier.
- A Windows retail license bought directly through open market channels such as e-commerce sites can be redeemed as many times as you like because, well, you paid a heavy price for it.
- Windows 10 OEM licenses, the ones preinstalled on your laptop when you bought it, are non-transferable
- If you used Easy Upgrade, you can transfer your Windows 10 license through digital licensing.
I told you it was difficult.
2. Remove Windows 10 license
The first step is to remove the Windows 10 license from your current computer. To do this, press the Windows key + X keys on your keyboard to display the hidden menu, and press Command Prompt or PowerShell with the administrator listed in parentheses.
Now enter the command below and hit Enter. This will remove the Windows 10 license (product key) from your computer. Make sure you have your product or license key written down in a safe place before performing this step.
slmgr.vbs / upk
If you do not have access to the license key, enter one of the following commands to find it.
(Get-WmiObject -query ‘select * from SoftwareLicensingService’). OA3xOriginalProductKey
wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey
Please note that these commands may or may not work on every computer, but they are worth trying. You can also find your license or product key in the welcome email or sticker on the back of your purchased Windows installation CD. Once you receive the keys, use the above command to remove the Windows license from your PC.
Also Read: 9 Best Windows 10 Privacy Tools
3. Install Windows 10
This method will work with both hard drives and solid state drives, so you at least don’t have to worry about this part. Here we will perform a fresh and clean install of Windows 10, however you can also use this method to update your version of Windows to version 10.
To get started, you need to download the Media Creation Tool first. Please visit Microsoft’s official web page to download it instead of using a third party site for security purposes. You can either create installation media on a flash drive or DVD, or create an ISO image, or you can also use it to update an existing version of unregistered Windows 10 on a PC. We do not recommend that users continue to work with an unregistered or jailbroken version of Windows. You will not receive critical Windows updates that fix numerous bugs and vulnerabilities that are often found when your data is stolen.
I’ll be using a flash drive here for simplicity, but you can use any one. You will need at least an empty 16GB flash drive, however Microsoft only offers 8GB. This is because my installation media was over 8GB and luckily I used a larger flash drive for my own installation. Run the downloaded installation file from the media and accept the licensing terms.
Things will move slowly, so be patient. On the next screen, select Create installation media. If you are doing this on a computer that already has a version of Windows and you need to upgrade to Windows 10, select Upgrade this computer now.
On the next screen, your default language, Windows version, which should be 10, and architecture will already be selected for you based on the computer you are using, however you can uncheck the recommended options to manually select a different option. Make sure you know these details for sure if you are driving on a manual highway.
You will now select either USB stick or ISO file. I always use a USB stick because I prefer manual drives. They are easy to use.
On the next screen, you will select the USB drive letter if it is not automatically detected or if more than two USB drives are connected.
Click Next and just sit back and relax, maybe make yourself a coffee because it will take a while. Make sure your computer is connected to a power source. You should see a progress bar.
Wait for it to reach 100%. As I said earlier, while Microsoft says you only need an 8GB flash drive, my installation media uses 10.6GB. This is why I recommend all my readers to use a 16GB flash drive or CD instead.
Now, you just reboot the computer you want to install Windows 10 on, but reboot from the flash drive, not the hard drive. Here’s a detailed guide on how to boot from USB, regardless of your computer make and model. This is easier than it sounds.
After you restart your computer from a USB drive or CD, if you’ve created installation media on it, you will see this screen on the computer you want to install Windows 10 on.
Select the installation language, time zone and keyboard input based on your location and preference. Click Next.
Click “Install” on this screen to begin the Windows 10 setup process. This will take a while, so make sure you are connected to a power source again. If your computer shuts down due to a lack of power during the installation process, it might corrupt your files, and you don’t want to.
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for when you enter your Windows 10 license or product key into a new system. After the installation is complete, you will be prompted for a key. Do this.
You may need to select your Windows version at this point. You have a Windows Home or Pro license. Make sure you select the correct edition to continue with the installation process, otherwise activation will fail and you will have to start over.
This will take you to the setup screen where the file transfer starts. To continue, you need to accept the license terms.
And now for one more important part. You will see two options here. Upgrade or Custom. If you are performing a fresh install of Windows 10 on a new computer, select Custom. If you are upgrading from a previous version of Windows (8.1 or earlier), then you will select “Update” here to avoid damaging your previous files and applications.
Does your hard drive have more than one partition? If so, you will be prompted to select a partition to install Windows 10. Most people choose the C drive, but this is not required, and you can choose any. Don’t choose a USB stick! Note that there are many free tools available on the market to help you manage or even modify disk partitions and easily allocate other space to them.
Select the drive that has unallocated space that will now be allocated for Windows 10 installation files.
Just hit Apply and OK and proceed. The installation will take a while, after which the computer will restart and you should see that Windows 10 is activated on the new PC.
Windows 10 license transfer
You are now familiar with the whole process. You can remove the Windows 10 license from your old computer, install Windows 10 on a new computer, or even upgrade from an earlier version of Windows 10, and finally transfer your Windows 10 license from your old computer to your new one.