You Can Still Use a Windows 7/8.x Product Key to Activate Windows 10

Posted on August 3, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0

You Can Still Use a Windows 7/8.x Product Key to Activate Windows 10

Microsoft is still allowing its customers to use valid Windows 7 and 8.x product keys to activate Windows 10. I had expected this capability to expire with the release of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

Note: Please understand that the loophole that allows this to work could (and should, I think) close at any time: All Microsoft has to do is to is turn it off from the cloud, it wouldn’t even require an update to Windows 10.

You may recall that Microsoft has allowed customers to use to use valid Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 product keys to activate Windows 10 since last October. It did so primarily for people with Windows 7/8.x-based PCs, so that they could successfully activate on upgrades, or on later clean installs after an upgrade. But the process works fine for any Windows 7/8.x product keys, including unused retail keys.

As I noted in Get Windows 10? Now What? last week, I expected this capability to end with the release of the Anniversary Update.

“Allowing this now makes no sense since the free upgrade period has ended,” I wrote. “So I assume this will no longer be the case at some point, though I just tested this with the final Anniversary Update release and it worked just fine.”

I tested it again this morning, multiple times, and in different ways, and it always worked. Windows 7 keys. Windows 8 keys. During Setup. Or after Windows 1607 was installed and fully updated. It always worked. I used previously unused product keys to test this.

That said, I do expect Microsoft to take away this capability eventually. And I believe the reason that this still works is for customer convenience. Yes, Microsoft has been communicating the July 29 end date on the free upgrade for months. And yes, we’ve known that the Anniversary Update would arrive on August 2 for a while now. But leaving some wiggle room for an edge case like this is the right thing to do. It’s the friendly thing to do.

As is always the case with Microsoft, however, a little communication would be nice. I’d really like to see the firm explain why this works and when—or if—it will stop doing so.

Anyway, I’ve confirmed in every way imaginable that this still works. As of today. 🙂

Note: Great minds think alike: Mary Jo wrote about this as well, and got a quote from Microsoft.