Jack

Administrator
Staff member
Verified
Now that Microsoft has finally started offering the free Windows 10 upgrade to users across the world, we’re seeing quite a lot of people trying to clean install the new operating system and thus avoid the painful process that the upgrade could turn out to be in case of compatibility issues or any other problems experienced during download and install.

And while the clean install worked for every single version of Windows released in the past, it doesn’t work for Windows 10, so you must not attempt to clean install Windows 10 without upgrading first!

The reason is as simple as it could be: the product keys you have for Windows 7 or 8.1 won’t work in Windows 10 and in order to benefit from the free upgrade, you need to perform the direct upgrade first.

How Windows 10 activation works
Microsoft explains how exactly this process works:

“Once your device upgrades to Windows 10 using the free upgrade offer and activates online automatically, an entitlement is registered to your PC’s hardware for your edition of Windows 10. (If you go to Settings >> Update & Security >> Activation says ‘Windows is activated’.) Now you will be able to clean install (i.e. boot from media and install Windows 10) the same edition of Windows 10 seamlessly without having to enter a product key.”

In other words, once you perform the direct upgrade to Windows 10 and the operating system is activated, you can perform the clean install how many times you want, as the generic product key that’s being users for your system is then automatically re-used to activate it once again when you get back online.

“You CANNOT activate Windows 10 using a Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 product key. Upgraded Windows 10 PCs do NOT use unique product keys for Activation – all upgraded Windows 10 PCs use the same generic product key that activates ONLY if you launched upgrade while booted in your Windows 7/8 system,” Microsoft adds.

Read more: http://news.softpedia.com/news/windows-7-and-8-1-users-don-t-try-to-clean-install-windows-10-without-upgrading-first-488315.shtml
 
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Deleted member 2913

There was confusion on generic & unique keys.
So its a confirmed info that all upgraded Windows 10 gets generic & not unique keys?
 
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Deleted member 2913

once UPGRADED you will have a unique key
I am getting further confused.
Many users on other threads have reported atleast 4 keys...these are the keys upgraded users are getting. So these are generic keys & users are getting same keys.
So what do you mean "you will have a unique key"?
 

jamescv7

Level 61
Trusted
Verified
@yesnoo: For upgrading implementation, computers came from Windows 8/8.1 are bound to be unique since it binds on hardware.

For Windows 7 a key from your sticker should validated as unique, now if it turns out a generic key then for sure its a Microsoft fault. ;)
 
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NikolayfromRussia

Level 16
Verified
Actually, I don't care about Microsoft instructions as I have a Windows 10 Pro retail key. I want to install it tomorrow as the second OS with windows 7 pro. Currently, I installed Windows 10 on a virtual disk (vhd) but it works slowly as expected.
 
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Deleted member 2913

@yesnoo: For upgrading implementation, computers came from Windows 8/8.1 are bound to be unique since it binds on hardware.

For Windows 7 a key from your sticker should validated as unique, now if it turns out a generic key then for sure its a Microsoft fault. ;)
Here---
Original system - Vista Home Premium - OEM
Got a free Windows 7 Upgrade Disc from HP - Guess this upgrade disc also OEM, right? It had the key on the back of the cover.
So upgraded to Windows 7 & later did a clean install & activated with the key on the back of the cover of Windows 7 Upgrade Disc.
Now with Windows 10 ISO did an upgrade from with Windows 7 i.e run setup.exe. Upgrade & automatic activation was successful.
Did a clean install of Windows 10 with bootable ISO. Install & automatic activation was successful.

Checked with produkey. The key it shows is the same as users have mentioned here on malwaretips i.e on other thread users have posted 4 keys that users are gettings after upgrade...I too have got 1 of those keys... This is correct i.e I have got correct key i.e 1 of those 4 keys, right?
 
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Deleted member 2913

I performed the upgrade (not a clean Install) and have a unique product key in Windows 10.
I too performed an upgrade & not clean install.
I performed upgrade as mentioned by Umbra in one of his config page.

I got generic key.
To get unique key I have to again reinstall Windows 7 & upgrade again?
 

LahiruTarz

Level 3
From my understanding:
Unique key is available in Microsoft servers and it's bonded with system hardware. You cannot view/change it at the moment.
Generic key is used during Clean Installation.( or just skip it)
 
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Deleted member 2913

From my understanding:
Unique key is available in Microsoft servers and it's bonded with system hardware. You cannot view/change it at the moment.
Generic key is used during Clean Installation.( or just skip it)
I too cannot view my key i.e when I click change product key it shows space to put new key & nothing else.
 

Purshu_Pro

Level 29
Trusted
Verified
Hi, I have upgraded to Windows 10, now I am planning to perform clean install of it through the reset option provided by Windows 10. My doubt is, should I update Windows 10 again after the clean install ? What are the other steps I should note to do after the clean install?
 
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Deleted member 178

clean install > update > backup > install security apps
 

vishwa

New Member
Windows 10 licensing program is horrible and a bit confusing. Instead of issuing keys Microsoft detect hardware for licensing the OS. So, In future if you made any major hardware changes or replacements than it will create a problem for you to verify your OS.