Is Microsoft limiting use of 7 & 8 product keys on 10?


I built a new computer over the weekend and attempted to activate it with an unused Windows 8.1 pro product key. I have several that I’ve stockpiled over the years, and to date, I haven’t had a problem using any of them on Windows 10. Just out of curiosity, I installed and successfully activated an install of 8.1 with that key to confirm that it worked automatically, and it did.

The only difference between this and previous installs I’ve done is that in this case I was installing and activating 1703. I followed my normal process: installing with the default Pro key and then changing the product key to my desired key. It didn’t give me any reason why the key couldn’t be used.

One final curiosity was the Activation Troubleshooter: When I ran it, it stated that it found a valid Windows 10 S license for my PC. Being that my build was definitely not an OEM system that should have come with 10 S, I found it odd that the troubleshooter insisted that the appropriate license for the system was a SKU that isn’t available for purchase.

Comments (6)

6 responses to “Is Microsoft limiting use of 7 & 8 product keys on 10?”

  1. Polycrastinator

    I'm not sure what you mean by default/changing key. As far as I know, for a year now the only way to get Windows 10 to activate using a 7 or 8 key is to enter it during the install process, otherwise it won't activate. I believe this still works.

    That last part is weird though.

    • evox81

      In reply to Polycrastinator:

      The point about having to enter the product during install may answer my question. In this case I was trying to change the product key to a Windows 8.1 Pro key, on an unactivated Windows 10 Pro, after install. (There is a "default" key you can use to install a desired Windows 10 version, Pro in this case, but it cannot be activated. I used that for the initial install to ensure it installed the proper version. Changing from the default key to a proper Windows 10 Pro key worked perfectly.)

      • Polycrastinator

        In reply to evox81:

        My impression is they do it this way to prevent folks from doing in place upgrades. Although quite why Microsoft wants to prevent this, who knows. I've always treated the "enter while installing" as a workaround.

  2. ChristopherCollins

    I never use my 7, 8, or 8.1 keys during setup. I install the build of 10 I want and make sure everything is working fine before I burn a key on an authorization. In fact, I just did that doing my Parallels Win 10 Pro VM on my MBP.

    They key works fine either way, I just don't like to burn them during install.

  3. adacosta

    Still works here, recently used a Windows 7 key to activate Windows 10 Pro without issue. You might want to use chat support to activate it: