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  • Transferring Windows 10 License to Another PC

    Posted on doneager Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Windows 10 version 1909 – November 2019 Update Transferring Windows 10 License to Another PC

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      • #2313862
        doneager
        AskWoody Plus

        I am in the process of deactivating my current Surface Pro 4 and transferring its entire contents to a newly-purchased Surface Pro 7. Pro 4 has a serious display bulge and separation from the bezel, likely due to a battery swelling, rendering it unsafe. Backup on Pro 4 and restoration on Pro 7 will be done using Acronis True Image 2021 via an external USB HDD containing an “Entire PC” backup. This process is supposed to delete everything on the Pro 7, including the OEM Windows 10 Home, and replace it with Windows 10 Pro (v. 1909), apps, settings, files, etc. from the backup. The Pro version is licensed and was purchased from the Microsoft Store. I have the Product Key. I am concerned about the OS replacement process.

        I have studied a document found online titled “How to Transfer a Windows 10 License to Another Computer.” I understand how to deactivate the OS on the Pro 4, which I’ll do as soon as I’ve completed the final backup. My question concerns what will happen when I try to boot the Pro 7 (into Windows 10 Pro) after the complete restoration. The previously-mentioned document advises that it is easiest to do a Home to Home or a Pro to Pro license transfer. This will not work for me. It goes on to say that the work-around is to use Settings>Activate Windows and manually enter the product Key. It has a screenshot of the All Settings screen showing at the bottom the message “Windows isn’t activated. Activate Windows now.” It is unclear as to whether this will automatically appear when I first boot into Windows Pro on the Pro 7 and what screens/prompts are displayed after clicking the message link. Further, it states that “if you use a Pro Product Key and to activate an installed copy of Home, using this method will upgrade to Pro automatically.” I’m not sure what that means. There may be some words missing here? The Windows Settings screen on the Pro 7 does not have an indication the installed Windows Home is not activated.

        Can someone PLEASE provide clarification and additional information on how this conversion may be expected to proceed? I don’t want end up with two inoperable Surfaces!

      • #2313981
        anonymous
        Guest

        Windows will operate, meaning won’t refuse to start, even if you don’t have a license.  It will give nag screens and gray out some features such as personalization.  Pro and Enterprise, AFAIK, are mostly contained in Home just locked out since upgrades can be done offline.  All of our Windows computers are either Win 10 Pro or Enterprise.

        I’ve done numerous clones, upgrades and OS transfers and licensing was not an issue except when I tried to transfer a Win 10 Pro that was originally upgraded from Win 7 Pro for free.  One of MS’s stipulations on the free upgrade was license transfer was not possible; who can remember that years later?

        The Settings upgrade function doesn’t know to what you’re upgrading until the key is entered, then it says something like “You are being upgrading to a new version of Windows.”  After rebooting (which you may have to do manually), the new version is installed while the blue update screen tracks your update progress.  When the desktop appears,  go to Start>Run, enter “winver” and your new version is displayed.  I’ve only done new installs with ISO’s and they always start as Home until the key is entered.  Disks are probably straight to Pro.

        You have to be online for the key to be validated, the rest works perfectly offline and should be done offline IMO.  After the first machine is deactivated, take it offline.

        So, if you understand what the Acronis utility does and trust it, transferring should be done correctly.  I’ve had good luck with Clonezilla; it’s simple and has good user manuals.  It’s all text based, no gui, a blast from the past.  I’ve always cloned disks vs. backups.  Backups are usually compressed and may not transfer well to a different drive, just be sure what the software is really doing.  You want to move everything: clone or image.   I did successfully transfer a drive once using Acronis, took a while to sort through the myriad functions spread out in their GUI.

      • #2314011
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        I’d backup the 7 before restoring the 4 software to it – just in case.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2314050
        doriel
        AskWoody Lounger

        When transferring with AcronisTrueImage you boot into Acronis and then create full backup?

        You should do one step before making complete backup – launch sysprep.exe (C:Windows-System32-Sysprep-sysprep.exe) sorry I dont know how to do backsklash here 🙂
        Select as it is shown on the picture – OOBE, Generalize ON, Shutdown after finished

        sprep

        After this is done, Turn on the PC, boot into Acronis DLC and create fullbackup of the drive.

        When you deploy this on your new Surface and you will run Windows for the first time, setup will customize your image for a new computer and load correct drivers as it is a new computer with fresh Windows installation.
        If you will not select Generalize, or not perform sysprep at all, the image will include drivers from your previous coputer.
        Make backup including recovery and OEM partition to transfer license too, but sometimes OEM are tricky to handle, cause its bundlede with hardware.

        Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

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

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by doriel.
        • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by doriel.
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      • #2314195
        doneager
        AskWoody Plus

        I’m still very confused by this process, particularly the timing of the various steps. I have an Acronis “Entire PC” backup supposedly containing EVERYTHING (including Win 10 Pro) from the Pro4 on an external HDD. My current understanding is that to transfer everything from my Surface Pro 4 to my new Surface Pro 7 I would do the following:

        1. Boot into the Pro 7 using the Acronis Bootable USB that I created on the Pro 4.
        2. This takes me to a CMD prompt and then executes a “stripped-down” version of Acronis True Image 2021 on the Pro 7.
        3. Mount the external USB HDD containing the Acronis backup from the Pro 4.
        4. Run the Acronis Restore process on the Pro 7.
        5. Theoretically, this should wipe the SDD on the Pro 7 (including Win 10 Home) and restore the setup from the Pro 4 (including Win 10 Pro v.1909).
        6. When the Restore completes, I exit ATI and then the CMD prompt.
        7. At the black screen, remove the Bootable USB and the Pro 7 should boot normally into Windows 10 Pro.
        8. Assuming this actually works, what if anything, do I need to do to transfer the Windows license? When do I need to de-activate Windows on the Pro 4? I hesitate to do this before I’m sure the Pro 7 is up and running correctly. At what point, where/how do I enter the Windows Product key for the Pro version?
        9. I’m not sure if ATI will be installed from the restore process or if I have to manually re-install it. They have advised that I have to uninstall it from the Pro 4, but again I’m hesitant to do this until I’m sure the Pro 7 is up and running correctly.

        Thanks!

        • #2314265
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          Hello and good day.

          You get it right, you describe the process of installation nicely. The are two problems that I see in your approach:

          I have an Acronis “Entire PC” backup supposedly containing EVERYTHING (including Win 10 Pro)

          Please be aware that backup is designed to be transfered on the same computer, on the same or replaced HDD/SSD. Your image includes all drivers from Surface 4. Which I consider as wrong, your new device will malfunction.

          Theoretically, this should wipe the SDD on the Pro 7 (including Win 10 Home) and restore the setup from the Pro 4 (including Win 10 Pro v.1909).

          It will wipe the SSD and create copy of your previous system. Its like you ut SSD from another PC into your new device, I think you shouldnt do that. If you understand what I mean.

          Assuming this actually works, what if anything, do I need to do to transfer the Windows license? When do I need to de-activate Windows on the Pro 4? I hesitate to do this before I’m sure the Pro 7 is up and running correctly. At what point, where/how do I enter the Windows Product key for the Pro version?

          Well, the license transport may not be possible. It depends on how you purcahsed the license. If it was bundled with computer, its called OEM license and these are not allowed to transfer. If you purchased your license separately, then it is possible.

          Does this help you?

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

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

      • #2314262
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Step 3.5: Image backup to the external HDD.

        Step 8: The license will be baked into the hardware so you should not need to do anything.

        Step 9: As long as you have a bootable USB you can uninstall ATI and still use it from the USB. And you still have a good backup, with it installed.

        cheers, Paul

        • #2314266
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          He cant transfer 1:1 SSD copy to different device, it wont work until image is not generalized and correct drivers are installed during OOBE.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

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

      • #2314306
        bbearren
        AskWoody MVP

        I’ve done this a number of times with TeraByte’s Image For Windows, and it works seamlessly.  I’ve moved a Windows 10 installation from a laptop to a desktop without difficulty.  As for drivers, every time Windows boots it scans for new hardware.  Every. Time.  If it needs to install new drivers, it will do that during the boot process.

        On occasion a notification will popup saying you need to finish installing hardware.  Click on the popup and it completes.  Since you’re going from Surface to Surface, there will be very, very little in the way of driver issues.

        Personally, I would make a full drive image of the new Surface before the restore from the old Surface (belt and suspenders), and Image For Windows allows this.  I’ve never used Acronis, so I can’t speak for that scenario, but with IFW, it just works.

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
        "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2314343
        JohnW
        AskWoody Lounger

        When you deploy this on your new Surface and you will run Windows for the first time, setup will customize your image for a new computer and load correct drivers as it is a new computer with fresh Windows installation. If you will not select Generalize, or not perform sysprep at all, the image will include drivers from your previous coputer.

        Sysprep should not be necessary with Windows 10 for moving the OS to new hardware. When Windows 10 boots it will load the new drivers it needs.

        I recently replaced the entire motherboard and CPU in my PC with hardware that was 6 generations newer, while using the same system drive and image.

        Then when Windows booted up it briefly said “please wait while new hardware is setup”, and the process completed without an issue. Then I installed the manufacturers latest drivers for the chipset, as well as the latest graphics and audio drivers.

        I did need to reactivate Windows 10, and all other 3rd party software that relies on the hardware fingerprint for activation, as this was just like using a new computer.

        The old drivers were listed (as grayed out) in “hidden” devices in Device Manager. I deleted those devices from there to clean things up and avoid any potential for conflict. But they didn’t appear to be causing any harm.

        The new system is running rock solid for a couple of months now.

        I think the reason that this worked so smoothly is that Microsoft is using a new HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) in Windows 10.

        Bottom line is that process was essentially the same as removing the Windows 10 system drive and plugging it in to a new computer. Windows hardly blinked and handled it very well! Very different hardware too! 🙂

        3 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2314346
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          Since multiple advices here say, that sysprep is not needed, I take my advice back and try to deploy full image to your new Surface. I had experiences otherwise from JohnW, Paul_T and bbearren.
          But I belive them it works for them, so fingers crossed and let us know.

          Bottom line is: But I at least recommend to turn off “fast startup” before creating full image.

          Fast Startup combines elements of a cold shutdown and the hibernate feature. When you shut down your computer with Fast Startup enabled, Windows closes all applications and logs off all users, just as in a normal cold shutdown. At this point, Windows is in a state very similar to when it’s freshly booted up: No users have logged in and started programs, but the Windows kernel is loaded and the system session is running. Windows then alerts device drivers that support it to prepare for hibernation, saves the current system state to the hibernation file, and turns off the computer.

          When you start the computer again, Windows does not have to reload the kernel, drivers, and system state individually.

          Source: HowToGeek

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

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

          2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2317850
        Kirsty
        Manager

        This topic is now closed, after another new topic was opened to continue (no, not in site rules).

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