Some devices including laptops made by manufacturers such as Dell, don’t have a genuine product key sticker located on the device somewhere. So, if you wipe your device and try to install a fresh, you’ll likely come unstuck when it comes to activating. In most of these cases, the key is stored in the BIOS of the system, so when you’d use your restore media to reinstall Windows, the OS would automatically activate online without you needing to do anything.
- Windows 7 Home and Professional users running Service Pack 1
- Windows 8 Home and Professional users running the Windows 8.1 update ( with valid windows Product Key )
What the one year period doesn’t mean is that Windows 10 will start charging those who upgraded for free after one year. It means you’ll have to pay to upgrade to Windows 10 if you haven’t done within one year time.
Who Misses Out
Given the extent to which ‘Free’ has been thrown around with Windows 10, this is a surprisingly long list:
- Windows 7 Enterprise users (even those running Service Pack 1)
- Windows 8 Enterprise users (even those running the Windows 8.1 update)
- Windows RT
- Windows Vista
- Windows XP
- Users running pirated copies of Windows (Read following)
Update for devices with No License
Microsoft has now sent a statement to Polygon that says even if pirates do update their old non-licensed version of Windows to Windows 10, they will still be using an un-licensed software product. Here’s Microsoft’s new statement:
“We have always been committed to ensuring that customers have the best Windows experience possible. With Windows 10, although non-Genuine PCs may be able to upgrade to Windows 10, the upgrade will not change the genuine state of the license. Non-Genuine Windows is not published by Microsoft. It is not properly licensed, or supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner. If a device was considered non-genuine or mis-licensed prior to the upgrade, that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mis-licensed after the upgrade.”
Sources: Reuters, Windows Central, Microsoft,razan.wordpress.com