Microsoft has tried to make it easy, and cheap, to upgrade to Windows 10, offering the new operating system for free for current owners of Windows 7, 8, or 8.1. However, up until now, getting a clean install of the latest operating system on your device was a bit of a tricky operation. First, you had to have your activated copy of Windows 7 etc. installed, and then update to Windows 10, and then go through the process of wiping your hard drive and clean installing Windows 10, all over again.
This created a special “hash”, stored online and associated with your device (without personally identifying you) that remembers your machine, and sets it as being activated.
That is until today, and the release of the latest Windows Insider fast ring build, 10565. Now, a new item in Windows 10 Settings allows you to select Change Product Key, making the whole process a bit easier. Here’s what today’s Windows Experience blog post says about the new procedures:
Device activation improvements: We have received a lot of feedback from Insiders on making it easier to activate Windows 10 on devices that take advantage of the free upgrade offer to genuine Windows by using existing Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 product keys. If you install this build of the Windows 10 Insider Preview on a PC and it doesn’t automatically activate, you can enter the product key from Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 used to activate the prior Windows version on the same device to activate Windows 10 by going to Settings > Update & security > Activation and selecting Change Product Key. If you do a clean install of Windows 10 by booting off the media, you can also enter the product key from prior Windows versions on qualifying devices during setup. Refer to the Insider Hub for more information on these activation improvements including requirements.
A quick check of the aforementioned Insider Hub doesn’t yet reveal any more information, we’ll keep you posted for any fine print.