Transfer your Windows 10 upgrade license


Software: Windows 10 | Last modified on 2018-06-18


If you replaced the motherboard, only a RETAIL product key will work with the steps that are noted below.


A guide on how to transfer your free Windows 10 upgrade license after replacing hardware or purchasing a new computer.

[Solution 1] Attach & transfer the digital license


  • If you upgrade from an OEM version, it carries the rights of an OEM version.
    If you upgrade from a RETAIL version, it carries the rights of a RETAIL version.
  • Your Windows 10 upgrade license is tied to your Microsoft account after the anniversary update (build 1607).

Sign-in with your Microsoft account in Windows 10 before replacing hardware.

  1. Open the Settings app and click Accounts.
  2. If you see your email address noted, it means you're already signed in with a Microsoft account and you can continue to the next step.
  3. If you do not see your email address, click Sign in with a Microsoft account instead and follow the steps indicated in the window.
  4. Open the Settings app and click Update & Security.
  5. Click Activation and check if it states 'Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account.'
  6. If you see the above text, it means that you can now safely replace the hardware in the computer.
  7. If you don't see the above text, click Add an account under Add a Microsoft account and follow the steps.
  8. After you've replaced the hardware, restart or reinstall Windows 10 depending on what parts you've replaced.
  9. Sign back into Windows and a notification will appear at the right-bottom side of the screen, stating that Windows requires activation.
  10. Open the Settings app and click Update & Security.
  11. Click Activation and select Troubleshoot.
  12. Let the troubleshooter finish the process and a new option will appear: 'I changed hardware on this device recently.'
  13. Follow the steps, sign-in with your Microsoft account and Windows will activate with the digital license.

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