Question : What happens when Windows 10 is not activated?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by /V\acpower, Jul 29, 2015.

  1. /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    I use Windows strictly as a gaming platform in Boot Camp on my iMac.

    I was planning of using the Insider Program to get Windows 10 preview going forward, been using it since about 2 month. Today I kind of got screwed, because I decided to do a clean install of the final build thinking that my preview license would still work if I still subscribed to the Insider program in Windows 10. And now I've just learn that by doing a clean install with the final build I have lost any way of activating a preview copy of Windows 10 forever from the insider program. (normally with a simple update install it would have worked normally).

    Anyway, now I'm considering my option. And i'm thinking to myself :

    Well, what happen if I don't activate Windows 10 ?

    I know that Windows 7 had a notification system that was designed to be annoying after 30 days, also I understand that there are some personalization and options that aren't available.

    But it was a while ago, and I can't find any useful information on the Windows website (honestly, Microsoft websites for their products are such a mess...)

    So, anyone have any information ?
     
  2. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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    #2
    After a month the OS becomes limited. Some parts become inaccessible and the OS only boots for one hour use.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #3
    Well, if you qualify for a free upgrade go that route, otherwise your only option is to buy the OS.
     
  4. flyinmac, Jul 30, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015

    flyinmac macrumors 68040

    flyinmac

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    #4
    If you still have an ISO for an earlier technical release version, install that, then activate and update as far as possible. Then use the media download link from Microsoft for the final Windows 10 to install over the activated technical preview release.

    Worked for me.

    My ISO was very old. But it was still new enough to be activated and used to install the Windows 10 Pro over it.
     
  5. bmac89 macrumors 65816

    bmac89

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    #5
    Are you saying that if you were using the Tech Preview you qualify for a free update to Windows 10 (final) even if you don't have a prior Windows license?

    Argh if that is true I'm very cross with myself. I am in a similar situation to the OP - I was running the tech preview and came into some problems with the update system and wiped the drive. Now I can't even install the tech preview because I deleted the old ISO file.
     
  6. bbfc macrumors 68030

    bbfc

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    #6
    I wouldn't of thought so, unless Microsoft were giving away free licences as a thank you. But given the number of people using the preview, I doubt it!
     
  7. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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  8. flyinmac macrumors 68040

    flyinmac

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    #8
    The tech preview has worked for me on 2 different systems. Both were ones I just installed the tech preview version on yesterday and today. I activated them with the key. Updated them as far as I could. Then installed the download version of windows 10 final over them. The pro version. And they are both activated with the final version.

    You will need to use a version which has not expired yet though.

    Worked for me twice on 2 separate computers.
     
  9. bmac89 macrumors 65816

    bmac89

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    #9
    Are there any trustworthy sources for the tech preview ISO. I double checked and I already deleted my tech preview ISO along with wiping the drive. So annoyed at myself!
     
  10. flyinmac macrumors 68040

    flyinmac

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    #10
    I don't know. I still had mine. I'm always a little cautious downloading programs from unknown sources.
     
  11. jbachandouris macrumors 601

    jbachandouris

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    #11
    According to Microsoft, the Technical Preview will act as an Evaluation Copy and stop working after 90 days.

    The PC it is on is the laptop I received from school. Since it had a corporate image of Windows 7 Enterprise, I have no license key. So if I can't get it to stay activated, I may have to beg the school to re-image it with Windows 7. :(
     
  12. flyinmac macrumors 68040

    flyinmac

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    #12
    Yes, the technical preview has an expiration date. And would have expired if I continued to use it without upgrading. But, I used it before that expiration date to upgrade to the final version of windows 10. The final version of windows 10 is activated.
     
  13. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #13
    I remember hearing something about people being allowed to continue using Win10 without an official license, so long as they stay in the Windows Insider program. The upside being that you get to use the OS for free. The downside is you're playing guinea pig for MS.
     
  14. bmac89 macrumors 65816

    bmac89

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    #14
    I guess I'm clutching at straws... but I wonder if I downloaded the official retail release ISO direct from Microsoft, use the tech preview key and log in with my tech preview account whether that will work.... I'm guessing not!
     
  15. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #15
    That's a good question. I'm not sure how they're accepting tech preview signups these days, but I bet it'll let you in without even having to put in the key.
     
  16. bmac89 macrumors 65816

    bmac89

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    #16
    Argh - Silly me! I just realised that I downloaded the tech preview ISO onto my thumb drive, so I still have a copy. However I suspect it might not work anyway as it was the first or one of the first build ISO I downloaded and is really old - Build 10041.

    In the meantime I have downloaded the official retail release from microsoft umpteen times because the sever kept dropping out.

    I guess its trial and error now!
     
  17. flyinmac macrumors 68040

    flyinmac

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    #17
    It'll depend on whether that version has already passed it's expiration date.

    There was a list of versions and their respective expiration dates somewhere that I found. Don't remember where that was.

    But if your version can be activated, then it should work.


    Edit: according to the link below, your expiration date hasn't come yet. So I'd try it. Install and activate with your key, then windows update as far as you can. Then install windows 10 pro and activate. Then windows update again. Give it a try.

    http://microsoft-news.com/microsoft-details-expiration-dates-for-windows-10-technical-preview/
     
  18. bmac89 macrumors 65816

    bmac89

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    #18
    Thanks for the info. I will give it a go.

    Just another question you may be able to help with - Once you upgrade from Tech Preview to Pro, can you do a clean install at a later stage or install on a new computer or is the activation key only for upgrade and tied to the hardware?
    Also can you go from 32 bit to 64 bit?

    Thanks
     
  19. flyinmac macrumors 68040

    flyinmac

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    #19
    I don't think it will let you go from 32-bit to 64-bit. When you do the upgrade, using the download tool, it will use the same edition that you have. For example, home, pro, or 32-bit or 64-bit.

    I had both the 64 and 32-bit iso's. So I installed the 64-bit technical preview and then told the download tool to upgrade this PC.

    That gave me 64-bit pro.

    You are supposed to then be able to do a clean install later on that same machine that windows 10 has been activated on already. But not on other machines. It is tied to hardware.

    So that's why I updated all my machines using technical to final version. That way they're all covered.
     
  20. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #20
    It only does that if you tell it to upgrade your PC, since it can't upgrade to 64-bit from a 32-bit installation without having to wipe the whole machine and start from scratch. But if you choose to download the installation media instead, you can select which one you want.
     
  21. ATC macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    That's my understanding too. Back in the early Windows 7 days, I remember some MSFT MVP once private messaged me on a support forum and told me that as far as MSFT licensing is concerned, 32 vs 64 bit doesn't matter, only the edition (i.e. Home basic, Home Premium, Ultimate etc...) - if that stands true today with W10 then the keys for a certain edition (Home or Pro) is good for both its 32 and 64 bit variant.
     
  22. flyinmac macrumors 68040

    flyinmac

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    #22
    Hopefully that is the case. But I don't know for sure.

    For the initial move to windows 10 final from technical preview, you might need to do the upgrade method first so that it sees you have an activated version already. Compared to a fresh install.
     
  23. bmac89 macrumors 65816

    bmac89

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    #23
    Unfortunately things did not work as hoped!

    Firstly I tried creating a bootcamp partition but I got an error message saying files could not be moved. So instead I used wintousb to create a portable install of windows 10 build 10041 on my external hard drive. This worked and booted up fine.

    I then proceeded to settings > windows update & recovery > Windows Update:
    After numerous attempts and reboots the updates finally installed. However I am still on build 10041.
    There is no "preview build" tab available in settings - only Windows Update. So I have no way of updating the build version!

    It also says windows is not activated so I entered the original product key provided with the technical preview: NKJFK........

    However it says windows could not be activated. Maybe my build is to old and I need the latest build, or maybe they have locked things down now.

    Any help or suggestions is welcome. Thanks!
     
  24. flyinmac macrumors 68040

    flyinmac

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    #24
    It is possible that your preview version has already expired. I just performed the operation again on another machine this morning with my preview version, and it installed just fine, and I activated it, and then updated it, and then installed the final version of Windows 10 Pro over it as an upgrade and successfully activated the final version as well.

    So, it's possible that your preview version is too old, though it should work if it is still prior to it's expiration date. But, maybe you need to try another unlock key? The key I'm using starts with 6P99N

    I'll be doing a separate write up here in a few minutes of my latest install, as I think it might be of interest to the Mac community. I've got Windows 10 Pro Final 64-BIT installed "natively" on a 2006 Mac Pro 2.66 GHz system without any boot loader, bootcamp, or virtualization going on. No fancy EFI work arounds, nothing. Just boot straight into it.
     
  25. flyinmac macrumors 68040

    flyinmac

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    #25
    OK... Got the whole description posted here on MacRumors
    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads...allation-no-bootloaders-or-efi-hacks.1905564/

    Now, in actuality, I did do the steps exactly as described in my message, but I did it with the Windows 10 Technical Preview, then when it was installed from the virtual machine onto the real hard drive, I rebooted the computer, held down the OPTION Key, and chose the Windows Hard Drive. When it finished booting, I activated and then updated the technical preview as far as I could. Then I went to Microsoft's website and ran the utility to download and upgrade this computer to Windows 10 Final (Pro 64-BIT version).

    The ISO I've been working with is the:
    Windows10_TechnicalPreview_x64_EN-US_9926.iso

    Not sure if that helps you any.
     

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