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  • Cheap Windows 10 product keys — Are they legit?

    Posted on Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Cheap Windows 10 product keys — Are they legit?

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      • #2265416 Reply
        Tracey Capen
        AskWoody MVP

        WINDOWS 10 By Richard Hay No. Nope. Not even on Fridays. That could be the end of the discussion, but I wouldn’t want to leave you hanging. So let’s d
        [See the full post at: Cheap Windows 10 product keys — Are they legit?]

        4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2265446 Reply
        MikeLyno
        AskWoody Plus

        Hate to break it to Richard Hay but I’ve bought many legit Windows 10 keys on ebay and they all worked. Article is misleading. Just go on youtube and see countless video of people’s experiences buying cheap legit Windows 10 keys that do indeed work. The worse thing that could happen is a key didn’t activate, and then all that is needed is to call Microsoft and you will be given a code to activate. Microsoft is way too busy to get involved dealing with keys that may or may not activate. They are not even going to question you about it, it’s way easier and cheaper for them to just activate it. That article to me was a scare tactic and it wasn’t accurate. Sorry author but I’ve activated enough Windows systems to know what’s up.

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by MikeLyno. Reason: adding information
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2265456 Reply
          woody
          Da Boss

          “Key works” is not the same thing as “legit.”

          I’ll stick with what Rich says.

          3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2265736 Reply
            GoneToPlaid
            AskWoody Plus

            I agree. And there are other issues, such as if the seller provides a non-Microsoft download link for the OS ISO, or if the seller also ships supposedly “authentic” DVDs for the OS.

      • #2265463 Reply
        woody
        Da Boss

        This is from Karl Wester-Ebbinghaus:

        Another speculated “source” is abandoned Win10 systems. But a Win10 OEM key is tied to the original PC — and only that machine*. You can’t transfer it to a replacement system. (Retail versions of Win10 may be transferable.)

        Karl notes that this does not include Enterprise versions, and goes on to say:

        Basically there is still fuss from the point that inplace upgrading from 7 and 8.1 to 10 is legit – while it works – reading the EULA of Win 7 / 8.1 which applies first, you need to have a license to upgrade to 10. As the base license is only 7 / 8.1 you may not upgrade – again reading the EULA / Use Rights. Not saying it is not possible.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2265468 Reply
        alQamar
        Guest

        Karl notes that this does not include Enterprise versions, and goes on to say

        No even more: I meant this more general so especially for Home and Pro

        Ent  / Edu cannot even be upgraded without a license. They need Pro as a base license.

        A key, unfortunately, is no license. it just activates the OS. I hoped Microsoft would be more clear about this. COA is a license -it has a key printed on it.

        These resellers, even I use one of them regularly offers only keys but many of them do not send you a COA.

        Another speculated “source” is abandoned Win10 systems. But a Win10 OEM key is tied to the original PC — and only that machine*. You can’t transfer it to a replacement system. (Retail versions of Win10 may be transferable.)

         

        This paragraph does not apply to any EU customer. We can transfer OEM Licenses. Even more since Server 2019 Microsoft in the PUR (Product Use rights) and EULA even specificially names that some contries are allowed to transfer OEM licenses to other machines given the previous is taken out or getting a different license and key assigned

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2265766 Reply
          Carl D
          AskWoody Lounger

          Not sure about Windows 8/8.1 or Windows 10 but I do know that OEM keys for Windows 7 (and presumably earlier) would activate and stay activated on a completely different PC if more than 120 days have passed since the key was last activated.

          In other words, the activation data on Microsoft’s servers would be deleted after 120 days.

          Not actually legal but Microsoft didn’t seem to be too concerned about it.

          I’m referring to OEM versions that you bought from a computer shop, etc. when you built your own PC or bought hardware like a new motherboard, etc. (some shops would even sell you an OEM copy of Windows if you just bought a new mouse or keyboard and I know of one shop here that used to sell you an OEM copy without buying any hardware at all). But, I believe this “practice” was stopped some time back.

          Gigabyte GA-B250M-D3H Motherboard, Intel i5-7600 CPU, 32GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Graphics Card, 1x Samsung 860 EVO 250GB SSD, 1x Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD, Windows 10 Professional 2004 64bit.

          • #2265878 Reply
            Kathy Stevens
            AskWoody Plus

            Newegg sells Windows 10 Home and Pro 32 and 64-bit OEM versions as standalone purchases.

      • #2265474 Reply
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        Well if my $40 key is defective I will know to look for one of the $10 ones, thanks Rich!!

        I for one find it hard to believe that M$ would let a company be an on going concern for years selling bad keys without getting a lawyer to send a cease and deist order.

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2265475 Reply
        cgilley
        AskWoody Plus

        Mike, I’m with you.  I need clean virtual machines for my development work and testing.  If a family member needs to upgrade to windows 10, it’s always off to ebay I go.  They’ve always worked.  Are they legit from MS’s point of view?  No idea, but they register.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2265476 Reply
        John
        AskWoody Lounger

        I buy upgrade keys from these types of online places all the time. Never had a issue, and most sell other Microsoft licenses as well. If they were all counterfeit how come Microsoft doesn’t appear to do anything about them? I never bought one key that ever had a issue activating. I’m sure there are some real scams out there, but I think there are also some legitimate deals with these licenses.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2266744 Reply
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          You know, if you have approx 90% of users with your operating system, you dont need to chase 15% of them, who “stole” that OS. Enterprise companies will never do frauds, they will always have legal OSes.
          Source of income is ensured and you have like 90% market share. And even people with non legit OS can spend money in MS store. Who cares about few wretches, who desperately try to save 100$ on their PC. I would not be surprised if MS does have list of “cheaters”.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, WX 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

      • #2265518 Reply
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        Appreciate all the commentary so far. My intent was to ask about the legitimacy of the keys and if they properly license a Windows 10 system for use.

        Keys are legit if they activate your system however, that does not make it legit from a licensing standpoint.

        Yes – they are available everywhere it seems and as I mentioned in the article – many work to activate a system and that system remains activated – that does not mean the system is licensed legitimately.

        I know it seems like splitting hairs, but licensing and activation are two vastly different things.

        5 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2265617 Reply
          WinObs
          AskWoody MVP

          My earlier reply is from a now dead account – will continue keeping an eye on this from this newly configured account.

          Rich

          4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2265542 Reply
        woody
        Da Boss

        This in from Günter Born:

        I’ve covered that story in a long article series for Europe law, that’s the reason, why the articles are only available in German.

        https://www.borncity.com/blog/2019/10/17/microsoft-klagt-gegen-lizengo-wegen-billig-lizenzen-teil-9/

        All nine articles are cross linked. The beef:

        – most offers are not valid
        – but there are ways to buy used software in EU legally
        – Microsoft Germany is taking legal actions against a German dealer of such keys.

        4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2265543 Reply
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        if ms says it is licensed i can only agree

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #2265583 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Why buy a key at all.

        Simply go to an old windows 7 Pro or Windows 10 Pro machine, copy the key number off of the Windows sticker on the side of the box, and enter the key number into the machine you want to run as under Windows 10 Pro.

        I have used Lenovo codes on HP machines and visa versa.

        I have used this approach on both Lenovo and HP machines.

        And it works.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2265591 Reply
          Kathy Stevens
          AskWoody Plus

          Using a Windows Pro Key from an old PC is a violation of the Windows terms of use that the owner agreed to while setting up the old PC!

      • #2265596 Reply
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        If you have the appropriate edition (e.g. Pro) of Windows 7 already installed, you can still use your Win7 installation key even for a clean install. Curious to hear your take on that method.

        • #2265602 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          But if you purchase an new Windows 10 Home machine you can upgrade it to Pro by using a Pro license key from an old machine.

      • #2265603 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        If you have the appropriate edition (e.g. Pro) of Windows 7 already installed, you can still use your Win7 installation key even for a clean install. Curious to hear your take on that method.

        You can use an unused Windows 7, 8 key to clean install Windows 10.

        • #2265613 Reply
          Kathy Stevens
          AskWoody Plus

          What do you mean by unused?

          If I retire an old Windows 7 Pro machine and it is sitting on a shelf “unused” can I use its Pro key to upgrade a newly purchase Windows 10 Home machine to pro?

          • #2265618 Reply
            PKCano
            Da Boss

            Only if it is a RETAIL key can you move it to another computer.
            If is is an OEM key (installed by the mfg of the computer as new) it is licensed to that ONE computer only (legally).

            3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2265637 Reply
        sieler
        AskWoody Plus

        Richard never answered the question about the keys: are they legitimate or not … if not, HOW DO THEY EXIST?  Did the sellers figure out how to counterfeit them?

        If they are legit, *why* are they so cheap?  He offered, and struck down, one explanation.

        All in all, this article should have had editing to ensure the author answered his own, and the obvious, questions.

         

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2265638 Reply
          PKCano
          Da Boss

          I think the first line of the post answered the question.

          No. Nope. Not even on Fridays.

          2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2265973 Reply
        woody
        Da Boss

        More from Karl Wester-Ebbinghaus:

        first off I am not a licensing expert, there are people / whole companies that do nothing else but giving, most reliably, advice on licensing. They cannot be held liable, also not much the resellers, as licensing is the matter of the customer. A crux.

        In my role as senior specialist I try hard to understand the licensing of Microsoft during the past months and it is a book with 7 seals (proverb in Germany). The initiate reason was pity controversy about Windows 10 upgrades – mostly seen from a business perspective.

        The thing is that only the EULA / PUR apply that do apply at the time of purchasing the product license and they CAN change without notice. This makes it extremely difficult to track as portals like VLSC only link to a generic document per version, not at time of purchase, expecting they have not changed.

        Then there are different rights for Home / Pro another different for VLSC open, again different ones for EDU, Enterprise Agreements and so on. It is a jungle in fact. And it is one of the reasons why sometimes “subscription” licenses are the easiest way to go, not the cheapest at all, but relicensing is expensive and can put a company and CEO at risk.

        So far, I really hate that Microsoft 365 (Apps) for Home / Family does not include a Windows 10 Pro license for the same conditions as it does for W10 Enterprise, all would be fine, no questions about whether we are eligble or not to upgrade, while we technically can.

        I still do it aswell, and stick with what Richard says, if the time comes, then for home use we might think over. For companies upgrading on a Win7/8.x to 10 is a high business and legal riskstaying on 7/8.1 is aswell.

        Microsoft = please insert coins

        As I’ve said and anonymous in post  https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/cheap-windows-10-product-keys-are-they-legit/#post-2265518

        activation is not licensing. even though the message in Win10 says “your license is digitally activated.” Seems Microsoft has not eaten their own stuff…

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2265995 Reply
        alQamar
        AskWoody_MVP

        Thanks wasn’t able to post anything. The refered anonymous post was made by someone else, just wanted to agree on the point of view.

      • #2265996 Reply
        alQamar
        AskWoody_MVP

        Only if it is a RETAIL key can you move it to another computer.
        If is is an OEM key (installed by the mfg of the computer as new) it is licensed to that ONE computer only (legally).

        only outside EU. But again upgrading from 7 / 8.x to 10 is not licensed.
        you need a windows 10 license to be entitled to upgrade after the official free offer has ended.

        I have no idea how MSFT is supposed to distingush that, as the technical ways and activation are still unchanged, for bare metal or upgrades.

        • #2266024 Reply
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          only outside EU

          I dont know why think so, its valid in EU too.

          OEM key is for specific computer and only this one. Its somehow dependent on hardware. If you reinstall such PC from scratch (even if you wipe all disk partitions), it can be ractivated just by connecting to internet.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, WX 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

      • #2266001 Reply
        alQamar
        AskWoody_MVP

        What do you mean by unused?

        If I retire an old Windows 7 Pro machine and it is sitting on a shelf “unused” can I use its Pro key to upgrade a newly purchase Windows 10 Home machine to pro?

        no the Win 7 pro license is only for Win7, it is a license for Win10 pro

        If you have the appropriate edition (e.g. Pro) of Windows 7 already installed, you can still use your Win7 installation key even for a clean install. Curious to hear your take on that method.

        You can use an unused Windows 7, 8 key to clean install Windows 10.

        you can use but you are not allowed to. That’s the point.

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by alQamar.
      • #2266006 Reply
        alQamar
        AskWoody_MVP

        here is the source for all this mess:
        Windows 7 EULA:

        https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwierOLxxdHpAhVMDewKHaRRBXEQFjABegQIAxAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fdownload.microsoft.com%2FDocuments%2FUseTerms%2FWindows_7%2520Professional_English_9bd24b38-f65d-48f8-8014-1fe3a0c8dd00.pdf&usg=AOvVaw0Sx6ybGULvEzmeJm5xrXJF

        refer

        14. UPGRADES. To use upgrade software, you must first be licensed for the software that is eligible
        for the upgrade.
        (remark: the new version you upgrade to)

        Upon upgrade, this agreement takes the place of the agreement for the software you
        upgraded from. After you upgrade, you may no longer use the software you upgraded from.

        16. PROOF OF LICENSE.
        b. Windows Anytime Upgrade License. If you upgrade the software using Windows Anytime
        Upgrade, your proof of license is identified by
        · the genuine Microsoft Certificate of Authenticity label for the software you upgraded from, and
        · the genuine Microsoft proof of purchase label from the Windows Anytime Upgrade Kit

         

        so for laymans and users: now that the free offer for upgrading from 7/8.x has expired (no matter how Microsoft will really technically distinguish this or if they will ever pursue home users done otherwise) you need to buy a Windows 10 license (which usually includes a key).
        This license can be used to upgrade from 7/8.x to 10. Or can be used for a fresh install.
        (no matter that Microsoft has not locked their activation process to still accept older keys for being converted into Windows 10 digital licenses, best stored in an (optional) Microsoft account.

        Why they are not clear about this? Who knows, I suspect: Windows 10 is for “free” because it is the foundation to sell any on top services like Microsoft 365, Azure etc. so same as MacOS they adopted the idea of upgrades “for free”. This is my understanding, why they do not fight home users doing something that they decline from a license perspective.

        However, the guys at Microsoft reponsible for licensing (legal, fraud, etc) are mostly not the team that is responsible for selling, marketing. So even with subscription based licenses you can still cause violations that are based on

        “you can use it all, but no one checks if are allowed to / you are licensed beforehand”.

        This is an old mantra, stands mostly unchanged.

        Example: most domains out there are target of being underlicensed with the following items:

        Business examples:

        RDSH Licenses

        reason: every domain that was originally founded in 2000/2003 and upgraded through the way, suffers a bug where the RDSH license property cannot be written to an user Active Directory account anymore, means you have no effective usage check again the RDSH license server.

        Reviewing logfiles will alert you for this issue.

        Ofc there is a KB and powershell fix for this but in most domains this fix is not applied and affects all user accounts that have been created before domain level 2008R2.

        CALs
        There is instance where you have to “install” CALs for Server, Server Products (SQL, Exchange etc)

        re-imaging / sysprep
        Although it is not a good practice some still do this, but many not have a license to do so, yet the tools exist and are free to use with no license check.

        Home use:
        I cannot find anything but the Windows upgrade topic at the moment, but I think there were some regulations that even home users could do things that they are not allowed by licensing terms. The mentioned re-imaging right is one of these.

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by alQamar.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2266021 Reply
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          re-imaging / sysprep
          Although it is not a good practice some still do this, but many not have a license to do so, yet the tools exist and are free to use with no license check.

          This method is pain in the *ss. It has lots of problems with provisioned packages for different users. And if you dont tick the “generalize” chceckbutton, you end with “unactivatable” system – you end with the product key, which was already acticated, thus you wont be able to do nothing else, but purchase new product key. This is just for backing up one specific PC.

          Also.. When upgrading W10 to Enterprise version, you SHOULD first activate Home/Pro license and THEN, activate Enterprise. But.. If you take your PC out of box, connect to your PC into domain, you can activate Enterprise immediatelly (found out by accident).
          So its very unclear and hard to keep up with all these changes, updates, WAAS, licensing.

          For our production, I began to purchase LSTC license – solid product for 10 years of support. No annual fees, no “framwork agreenment”, just MY operating system.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, WX 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2266064 Reply
        alQamar
        AskWoody_MVP

        ” I began to purchase LSTC license – solid product for 10 years of support”

        That is a bad decision for several practical reasons:

        1. It is not supported for Office workers
        2. OEMs and vendors regularly stop supporting LTSC way earlier with drivers and firmware (Dell etc.), some even decline support at all.
        3. LTSC except 1809 is far from being useful. 1507, 1607 have a lot of issues that #wontfix, by design, as LTSC does not encourage any bugfixes as long not being “critical” whatever that means for Microsoft so in the first place only security update.
          If an update is not compatible with your drivers or you cannot print anymore > bad luck. See Patching speed in Server 2016 / Windows 10 LTSC.We had all of this before. 1507 had a known issue with loading printers in control panel eternally, it had not yet printers in settings feature complete > result users cannot control their (default) printers.
          Microsoft to us as Microsoft partners:
          ticket closed, it is a bug but nothing they will fix as
          even though we brought a lot of evidence from other customers on the net this is not a local issue. Reason, see #1.
        4. LTSC only supports the hardware that is out for the time of release. If you have a hardware cycle you end up you cannot install the LTSC on newer CPUs.
        5. The 10 year support is a pity thing, support is no root cause analysis and no guarantee to a fix. See #3
        6. no backports, ever. MS has improved a lot of things, esp. update handling over time. Some of the changes have been successfully backported till 1703 (supported or not).
          This also applies to things like MSIX, Winget (in future), etc.
        7. Many drivers are now DCH drivers means they faciliate a modern driver model + fetching apps via Microsoft store (finally something to manage via Intune etc),
          The drivers include security related fixes, too. LTSC has no support for Microsoft Store, so you will have issues. Some Lenovo drivers do not work correctly when the Store app is not installed. The only way is to use outdated and more insecure drivers.
          Examples: Intel, Nvidia, Dell, Lenovo

        LTSC is designed for things like: shopping display, computers with long term software like machines, non office use (medical, ATMs, power plants etc).

        I can only advocate to not use LTSC for other things as declarated by Microsoft Docs.
        It is not a joke. for me LTSC is just hindering. It does also apply to Server LTSC, but there we have no other chance, as SAC again is not recommended for most purposes I would install Server Core naturally.

        reference:
        https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/whats-new/ltsc/
        https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Windows-IT-Pro-Blog/LTSC-What-is-it-and-when-should-it-be-used/ba-p/293181

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by alQamar.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2266325 Reply
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          Thank you for your insight. My LSTCs are not for our office workers, they have 1809 Enterprise. Its for production PCs – imagine, that you have for example Advantech touch display, with scpecially crafted application. And you DONT want your system updating, changing fundamentals, suddenly stop responding, change drivers without warning, etc.
          The backwards compatibility is just not guaranteed! LSTC is just what I wanted, as you stated:

          LTSC is designed for things like: shopping display, computers with long term software like machines, non office use (medical, ATMs, power plants etc).

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, WX 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

      • #2266079 Reply
        steeviebops
        AskWoody Lounger

        As part of my work I have an Excel sheet from VLSC with every product key from the company’s IUR scheme. In theory there’s nothing stopping me from selling these keys on eBay (obviously I have not done this!) and that’s probably where a lot of these come from. Leaked from VLSC or MSDN subscriptions.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2266089 Reply
          alQamar
          AskWoody_MVP

          That is true Steevie. When I buy “keys” I always check them with the following tools:
          VAMT 3.1, Microsoft, part of ADK 1903 or later.

          PID Key Checker (3rd Party, uses MS servers)
          to be sure what they are.

          I read from trusted source it is legit to sale keys from a volume license contract (except, EDU, Dreamspark, Government, Healthcare or other rebated per use license models) that is per fact overlicensed. Only the seller can know.

          But this means the seller has to keep an eye on the total activation “forever” and does risk his key getting overlicensed / overactivated.

          Yet, there are a lot of dealers that sell depleted VLSC keys or even Dreamspark or MDSN keys (forbidden).

          If I face this I return them and claim my money back which was mostly not a problem. If one of these sellers is giving troubles, or act like they “don’t know what you’re speaking about” giving them a hint to this link proves a to be working method:
          https://www.microsoft.com/de-de/howtotell/cfr/report.aspx

          They know their business.

          This tool is hard to get. Another public method is using VAMT to check the key and activation limit left.

          The issue with VLSC keys and sorta is that you never know exactly, if it can be trusted. Means if a company is getting closed or transferred, this might also affect the licenses to vanish with this company.

          Hope this helps all readers to check if their keys are “legit” or not. Buying used keys including licenses is possible. But it is challenging at times at has many caveats.

          • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by alQamar.
          • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by alQamar.
          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2266080 Reply
        alQamar
        AskWoody_MVP

        only outside EU

        I dont know why think so, its valid in EU too.

        OEM key is for specific computer and only this one. Its somehow dependent on hardware. If you reinstall such PC from scratch (even if you wipe all disk partitions), it can be ractivated just by connecting to internet.

        Hi Doriel please check Windows 10 Terms of Use.

        https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/useterms

        They do vary based on how you obtained a license and your country.

        For Germany it is this:

        Windows = Windows 10
        4. Übertragung
        “Jede Übertragung der Software und des Nutzungsrechts richten sich nach dem anwendbaren Recht.”
        source: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/UseTerms/Retail/Windows/10/UseTerms_Retail_Windows_10_GermanGermany.htm

        Means based on the applicable laws it is okay to transfer a license. For DE /EU this laws applies locally.

        In opposite Windows 10 Terms of use, outside EU:
        4.      Transfer. The provisions of this section do not apply if you acquired the software in Germany or in any of the countries listed on this site (aka.ms/transfer), in which case any transfer of the software to a third party, and the right to use it, must comply with applicable law.
        source:
        https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Useterms/Retail/Windows/10/UseTerms_Retail_Windows_10_English.htm

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by PKCano.
        • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by alQamar.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2266328 Reply
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          Hello again 🙂
          Interesting, in Germany, they have some privileges we dont? transferring OEM licenses? 🙂

          Im from Czech Republic, we are in EU too, but for us…
          OEM license cannot be transfered to another computer.
          Retail licenses can be transfered.

          I think that formulation in German EULA means, its dependent on laws in specific region of Germany. You know that germany consists of more smaller “federal republics”, which have their laws? I think, that parts like Baden-Wurttemberg, Bremen, Bavaria,.. have its own laws.
          This does not necessarilly mean, that you can transfer OEM license. You can always sell two things together – PC and OS, in which case you put the right of using Windows to another person – with valid contract.

          you know lot about this and I appreciate your posts, but I think you get this “EU thing” wrong.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, WX 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2266102 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        My main thing with this is that Microsoft themselves don’t really seem to care if your valid key is legitimately licensed. And I don’t mean just because they rarely go after people. I mean that they know of all of these ways that get a licensed version and do nothing to stop it. Not only do they let you upgrade from any legit copy of Windows 7, despite that offer having ended, but they also let you use an OEM Windows 7 license on other hardware, and even will activate if you used a pirated copy of Windows 7.

        But even more telling is how little they do if you don’t activate. There are very few restrictions–and that’s a reversal from previous versions.

        No, it seems that Microsoft thinks that having people use Windows 10 is more important than stopping individual users from using unlicensed copies.

        So we have a situation a lot like with Let’s Plays, memes, or even YouTube in general. Those who have the ability to go after people largely don’t, thus giving tacit permission. If you’re okay with those other things I mentioned–then I don’t see why you’d not be okay with using unlicensed Windows 10.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2266115 Reply
        DRW
        AskWoody Lounger

        Aren’t most of these unused keys from a group license that somebody is selling off illicitly? I remember looking up the legitimacy and discovered that if the company with the group license finds themselves coming up short, they can easily deactivate a license–which might turn out to be yours.

      • #2266364 Reply
        alQamar
        AskWoody_MVP

        Hello again 🙂
        Interesting, in Germany, they have some privileges we dont? transferring OEM licenses? 🙂

        Im from Czech Republic, we are in EU too, but for us…
        OEM license cannot be transfered to another computer.
        Retail licenses can be transfered.

        I think that formulation in German EULA means, its dependent on laws in specific region of Germany. You know that germany consists of more smaller “federal republics”, which have their laws? I think, that parts like Baden-Wurttemberg, Bremen, Bavaria,.. have its own laws.
        This does not necessarilly mean, that you can transfer OEM license. You can always sell two things together – PC and OS, in which case you put the right of using Windows to another person – with valid contract.

        you know lot about this and I appreciate your posts, but I think you get this “EU thing” wrong.

        Hi Doriel, thanks for outlining your usecase for LTSC, so in your case the usage is correct. Excuse that I assumed a wrong use, as I did not ask for this. Mostly I read things like we’re going LTSC route because we do not have to upgrade every 18 to 30 months.

        About the EU license and transferable OEM license, it is in fact possible and Microsoft does this. Even the Microsoft activation hotline in Germany is sometimes picky, but calling the US guys (5 pm CET or later) the are always helping you in case the activation limit has exceeded or you want to transfer the OEM license to a different device.

        At the moment I cannot find a better source but this transfer paragraph should apply to all EU countries, have you checked the link?

         

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2266365 Reply
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          I checked the link in German (and use translator, I am beginner), Czech and English. To be honest I am not a lawyer and I sometimes really do not understand what are they trying to say..
          I know, that with our KMS server, we can activate as many Windows 10 Enterprise as we want and we are charged for it annually.
          The second thing I know is, that searchig web for “free” Windows 10 keys and using that license is not legit use.

          About the EU license and transferable OEM license, it is in fact possible and Microsoft does this.

          Once I tried to do this by creating sysprep non-generalized image of OEM machine (W10 PRO). I deployed that to another computer and no matter what, I could not activate the system via internet. I had to purchase one retail installation of W10 PRO on USB and install it manually. Maybe If I called them as you wrote, maybe that could do the job.
          Thanks for the tip, Ill keep that in mind.

          But here is one more final question:
          I wonder how MSFT can really tell if you are in country, that allows transfer or not? I thought the activation is “by design” same for all users all over the world.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, WX 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

          • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by doriel. Reason: oh grammar
          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2266369 Reply
        alQamar
        AskWoody_MVP

        I checked the link in German (and use translator, I am beginner), Czech and English. To be honest I am not a lawyer and I sometimes really do not understand what are they trying to say..
        I know, that with our KMS server, we can activate as many Windows 10 Enterprise as we want and we are charged for it annually.
        The second thing I know is, that searchig web for “free” Windows 10 keys and using that license is not legit use.

        About the EU license and transferable OEM license, it is in fact possible and Microsoft does this.

        Once I tried to do this by creating sysprep non-generalized image of OEM machine (W10 PRO). I deployed that to another computer and no matter what, I could not activate the system via internet. I had to purchase one retail installation of W10 PRO on USB and install it manually. Maybe If I called them as you wrote, maybe that could do the job.
        Thanks for the tip, Ill keep that in mind.

        But here is one more final question:
        I wonder how MSFT can really tell if you are in country, that allows transfer or not? I thought the activation is “by design” same for all users all over the world.

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by doriel. Reason: oh grammar

        KMS client keys (except the KMS host keys, no one will ever sale) have no activation limit.

        What they are selling are MAK keys, or OEM, or retail keys, which have an activation limit (MAK limit based on the volume licensing contract).

        I can greatly recommend to use VAMT 3.1 for your license management, it looks old but is awesome. Recently contributed on the doc to update the installation description.

        Please know: Technically you don’t need classical KMS servers anymore, with Windows 8/2012, Office 2013 or later but may want to use ADBA with VAMT that is way easier to manage. MAK keys only for special purpose like a firewalled machine VLAN or DMZ that shall not access the Active Directory or a legacy KMS server.

        How they can tell I don’t know, Windows Installation ID (OS locale, perhaps involves the IP / Region who knows. Same as I question how can they see if one uses an old Windows key to activate Win10, after the upgrade offer is expired.

        What I can say is that the german activation support hotline is pretty nitpicking most of all times. I do not call them anymore.

         

        Once more about tranferability of OEM licenses. The problem is that the internet is full of half true or wrong stories and information.
        Microsoft.com/licensing is your only source you can trust.

        see
        https://h20195.www2.hpe.com/v2/GetPDF.aspx/4AA4-3787ENW.pdf
        especially the 2019 Server OEMs are now eligble to be transfered with the latest Terms of Use. It was such a radical change that Sven Langenfeld (Senior Commercial Category Lead at Microsoft) even shared a youtube video for this change. I do not suspect that something that is possible for Servers in version 1809, can be hold different with Windows 10 1809 or later.

        Believe me he would be the last person to spread false information about licensing.

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by alQamar.
        • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by alQamar.
        • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by alQamar.
        • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by alQamar.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2266458 Reply
        alQamar
        AskWoody_MVP

        Hi everyone,
        just got notified about this article. It is worth a read, including its sublinks and Q/A

        https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/windows-10-free-dominique-c%C3%B4t%C3%A9/

      • #2266483 Reply
        alQamar
        AskWoody_MVP

        Offtopic:
        p.s. don’t take their recommendation for granted about you need a new PC for Windows 10. What you need is a SSD for sure for your OS drive.
        Win10 is awful on HDDs. There are tools around to clone your HDD to an SSD, sometimes even from the SSD vendor.
        Then it does still run well on an aged Core2Quad with 4 GB (x64) or more (x64). This does especially apply for laptops.

      • #2266741 Reply
        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        non legitimate agreed but, it makes MS marketshare graphs look good to shareholders.

        | Win8.1 Pro x64 | Linux Hybrids x86/x64 | Win7 Pro x86/x64 Offline |
      • #2266819 Reply
        a0395335
        AskWoody Plus

        Is there anyway to find out what my License key is?  My Windows 7 OS we preloaded, and I never received the key.

        Jimmy

      • #2266830 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Is there anyway to find out what my License key is?  My Windows 7 OS we preloaded, and I never received the key.

        Jimmy

        Usually the license in on a sticker at the bottom of your laptop or in the battery compartment.

        20 Best Free Product Key Finder Programs

      • #2266850 Reply
        a0395335
        Guest

        Fantastic!  Look in the battery compartment; who knew!!!  Obviously not me.

        Thanks for the spot on information!

      • #2266894 Reply
        Kathy Stevens
        AskWoody Plus

        Be careful when using low-cost Microsoft keys.

        Several years ago, we wanted to upgrade to a newer version of Microsoft Office Professional.

        We did an Internet search and came up with an extremely competitive price for Office Professional keys.

        We went to the vendor’s website, selected the licenses we wanted, made payment via a credit card, downloaded the keys, and installed Office.

        All seemed well until we got our credit card statement. While we had done due diligence with respect to the vendor – checked its location (USA) and did not find any negative reviews.

        But when we opened our credit card statement, we learned that the transaction had been conducted in Canadian not US dollars. The first indication of a problem.

        We called the vendor re the Canadian $ charge and they were less than non responsive. Asked for a refund and were told to forget about it.

        But it worked. We had installed Office Professional and it was working.

        Then, a year or so later, we received a notice from Microsoft that the license had expired.

        We tried to contact the vendor but they were nowhere to be found.

        Apparently, the vendor was selling access to a corporate license and when the master license expired so did our access to Microsoft Office Professional.

        In short, if it is to good to be true it probably isn’t.

        Since then, we only purchase software licenses from vendors with whom we have had a long-established relationship.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2267139 Reply
        clutz
        AskWoody Plus

        MSN keeps asking if I want to update Windows 10 I keep saying no,  Didn’t read entire newsletter yet but curious if MSN is legit or , , , ,

        • #2269244 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          MSN being?
          If it’s a Microsoft site / product then it’s legit.

          If you are running W7 there is no need to update to 10, if you have W10 you should be installing updates when we see DEFCON 3 or above – see the forum heading.

          cheers, Paul

      • #2268963 Reply
        doriel
        AskWoody Lounger

        Interesting, today on BleepingComputer by Mayank Parmar.

        Bleeping Computer

        Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, WX 1809 Enterprise

        HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

        • #2268969 Reply
          PKCano
          Da Boss

          The article says you can still upgrade to Win10 for FREE.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2270518 Reply
        Simon_Weel
        AskWoody Plus

        The answer to the question of this topic is probably: It depends.

        As several repliers noted, there’s EU legislation that allows for endusers to sell software licenses they no longer use. As long as it is a perpetual license for a software product. So it has to be pepetual. And it has to be a product. Question: is Windows 10 a Product or a Service? If it’s a service, the end user cannot and may not sell it.

        The same applies ofcourse to other software licences. Are they Products of Services? It’s a grey area in my opinion. Nevertheless, there are numerous resellers of second-hand / used / refurbished software around in the EU. And Microsoft et all doesn’t seem to actively pursue them, which makes it look, at least, like they don’t know how to deal with this….

         

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2270769 Reply
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          Microsoft will not pursue individuals, although they have appropriate tools. In the end, numbers look really good, when your OS has 85-90% market share.
          But for enterprises (big companies) there is different approach – you dont want to mess with Microsoft. No big company will ever risk using “second-hand” Windows keys.

          It’s a grey area in my opinion.

          Well said.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, WX 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

          1 user thanked author for this post.
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