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Clean installs can be performed after free Windows 10 upgrade

By Scorpus · 29 replies
Jun 3, 2015
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  1. After you upgrade to Windows 10 through Microsoft's free upgrade offer, you'll be able to perform a clean install on the same machine without having to specifically purchase a Windows 10 license, according to the head of the Windows Insider program, Gabe Aul.

    It's not clear whether you'll be able to clean install Windows through standard Windows 10 media, or whether you'll need to use the included recovery tools within Windows itself. Microsoft will soon clarify this process, but at least we know that you will have the option to start fresh after moving to Windows 10 even if you upgrade for free.

    However, like Microsoft has already made clear, if you are building a new PC or upgrading from an OS older than Windows 7, you'll have to purchase a full Windows 10 license for at least $119. OEMs will almost certainly get a discount on these prices, as has been the case in the past.

    Windows 10 will launch on July 29th, Microsoft confirmed earlier in the week. If you are currently using Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you can already reserve your free upgrade through the Windows 10 app that has recently appeared on these operating systems.

    Permalink to story.

  2. wiak

    wiak TS Enthusiast Posts: 52   +8

    This sounds like they are doing something like "convert license on activation server to windows 10" or a more plausible explanation is they insert the 10 key in the µEFI license field upon upgrade
  3. Skewed Input

    Skewed Input TS Rookie Posts: 31   +9

    I still don't understand why Windows 7 AND Windows 8 get a free upgrade, yet without either or it'll cost me $200 to pick up a Windows 10 Pro license when I can buy a refurb Windows 7 computer for $100...Will the product key for that said Windows 7 computer then no longer work after I use the Windows 10 upgrade?
  4. wiak

    wiak TS Enthusiast Posts: 52   +8

    Meybe the 10 license works as a universal license for 7 and 10, 8 and 10..
    wastedkill likes this.
  5. Hmm, the info posted by Andre Da Costa on the Windows forums specifically states that you must have a qualified OS already installed to perform the upgrade. So how is it possible to use this "upgrade" media to do a "clean install"? If your hard drive crashes "after" you did this 'upgrade', it doesn't make sense that the exact same downloaded Windows 10 upgrade media can now magically install from scratch and do a clean install to a fresh hard drive.

    Why is Microsoft being so anal about this? You can't install the stupid OS without a valid key, so just make the "FULL" ISO available for crying out loud and give users the functionality they need.
  6. robb213

    robb213 TS Evangelist Posts: 348   +114

    As far as I know, .iso files of the OS will be available soon after release. Although I havn't heard if it'll be through DigitalRiver as usual or another source.

    I'm hoping Microsoft will actually answer questions closer to release, as there are many scenarios and questions that have been utterly ignored and given abstract answers.
  7. Can't imagine it will be any different that what is presently supported;

    You can download an image to DVD or USB device for Win 8/8/1 - Std/Pro directly from Microsoft
    and do a clean install as long as you have a valid key. I just did this on my home machine from a USB
    thumb drive - reinstalling Win 8.1 Pro to correct massive issues with the catalogs/image file corruption
    that I had been suffering with since upgrading for free from 8.0.
    Love that USB option ... Fast and solid!
  8. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe Banned Posts: 837   +441

    I can vouch for this. Easy deal.
  9. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,540   +913

    I totally agree with the comments above - the USB install option is boss. I have an old Kingmax 4GB USB drive and Windows 8.1 takes ~10mins from install to desktop with my 840 EVO!
  10. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 2,226   +1,424

    I've never seen Microsoft push an OS migration so hard.
    Not surprising though, I've said it before but its pretty obvious: Big M cannot afford for Windows 10 to fail.

    For them to re-solidify their position as the main OS worldwide for business/pleasure is a main focus from a large part of their company, and thats saying something. If only they listened this well during the Xbox One launch.
    Jad Chaar and oranuro like this.
  11. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,547   +432

    I don't think this will be a migration of your current 7/8.1 key.

    I said this in another thread a couple days ago, I think you will get your copy of Windows 10 on your 7 or 8.1 machine, and you have 1 year to install it. I am guessing Microsoft will issue you a key with Windows 10 that will be used to install/reinstall. If you do not upgrade and activate your 10 install from 7 or 8.1 within 1 year you will have to pay for the copy. If you do install and activate it, you are free to wipe that computer and put back 7 if you hate it, and you will have a copy of Windows 10 you can install at any time later on that hardware.

    My question that I haven't seen addressed anywhere is what about the current preview release users. Are their copies going to get updated to full retail copies on July 29th, or will they have to do a clean install?
  12. Yes. You can buy refurbished Win 7 PC and upgrade to Win10 for free. Because the previous user already paid for Windows 7. Also you can install and use Windows 10 only on that Refurb PC. Because Microsoft verifies the PC based on BIOS key (May be they manage a BIOS Key to Windows Product Key Mapping.)

    So If you plan to build new PC (Or on different PC) and install Windows 10 with the key which you get from Refurbished PC then It won't WORK!

    Hope this makes sense!
  13. dob_1

    dob_1 TS Booster Posts: 66   +38

    So does that mean I can't upgrade my motherboard using the same boot disk? I know this is 'not advised' and that a clean install is better, but I've swapped motherboards in the past and had good outcomes and it looks like Windows 10 once installed would allow a clean install afterwards with the new motherboard. You seem to be implying that the license is linked to the motherboard BIOS and not to the user!?
  14. Win !
  15. Experimentongod

    Experimentongod TS Maniac Posts: 294   +124

    Sounds like it will be a nightmare to upgrade your hardware (specially the motherboard) and keep your Windows 10 license intact.

    Microsoft is giving away a free UPGRADE to Windows 10, it's not a "complete" license, so they need to make sure you don't use your Windows 7/8.1 and Windows 10 licenses at the same time.

    In the old days we had "Windows 98 upgrade" and "Windows 98 for PCs without Windows". In the first case, you had to validate your genuine Windows 95 disk during installation.

    I'm not sure how they're going to manage the situation this time around. I see several possible options:

    1. Your Windows 7/8.1 product key becomes a "hybrid" key that also includes Windows 10. Of course only one "device" can be activated at any given time (this would be optimal really).
    2. You're given a Windows 10 key but you're ALSO required to input your Windows 7/8.1 key during a clean installation (almost the same as #1).
    3. You get a Windows 10 "upgrade": your Windows 7/8.1 works the same as before BUT you can only install Windows 10 on top of the previous version AND can only reinstall Windows 10 "on that same device".

    Unfortunately, all signs point to option 3. you either keep using Windows 7/8.1 on any machine (or hardware upgrade) you want via activation OR you use Windows 10 BUT are locked to ONE PC/device.

    TL;DR: All signs point to this: Microsoft doesn't want you to have two Windows licenses, so it's either use Windows 7 on any machine or Windows 10 in the first machine you upgrade with it, PERIOD.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015
  16. ypsylon

    ypsylon TS Booster Posts: 158   +48

    I won't be bullied into upgrade. That's where old BIOS on my venerable X58 show it's obvious advantages. You can't write license information to it. Can switch licenses as you see fit. Far from me being believer in conspiracy theories, but UEFI was developed purely to accommodate OS developers.

    Even if I upgrade hardware I will stick with 7. Most probably, last OS from MS I will ever use (judging by the prospects of permanent fail after W7). Tested 10 couple times. It's utter joke. Period.
  17. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 873   +372

    I wonder if you just prove your qualified 7 or 8.1 key running on that system they issue u a windows 10 key and u attach it to a ms account like how office or digital copies of windows are done?
  18. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,547   +432

    There may well be some more stuff if you have UEFI, but you can't just take an OEM copy of Windows, which is what most people buy when they do buy it, and transfer that to a different system. Its been widely known and documented since Vista at least. Most of the time you can still do it by calling up Microsoft and answering some questions, but you aren't supposed to be able to just transfer your license to other hardwares (unless you buy the more expensive Retail copy).
  19. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 873   +372

    I have done this close to 30 times without a issue on windows 7.
  20. Teko03

    Teko03 TS Evangelist Posts: 575   +297

    It's simple, Windows 7 currently accounts 57% of desktop operating usage. Microsoft wants as much of that chunk as they can to get on Windows 10, and well, it wouldn't be fair to Windows 8 users if they didn't get it for free also.
  21. Teko03

    Teko03 TS Evangelist Posts: 575   +297

    And how exactly is Microsoft bullying any one into any upgrade? Did they just announce that they are ending support for Windows 7 come July 29, 2015? No. It Windows 7 going to seize to function come July 29, 2015? No. Windows 7 is still supported until 2020. So feel free to use it until then, and even after if you don't mind not receiving updates and security patches.
  22. Skewed Input

    Skewed Input TS Rookie Posts: 31   +9

    Yes but what I'm saying is you can get a computer WITH Windows 7 for cheaper than a Windows 10 Pro license...They are better off dropping the price and just charging slightly more for applications/software being ran on the OS.
  23. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,949   +2,266

    I don't like the sound of "clean install". If that means installing every program again from scratch, I think M$ is in for a rude awakening. People have objected to this with every upgrade to Windows. If M$ cannot find a way to automatically migrate programs to the new OS without a clean install, people will be less likely to adopt 10 at least as I see it. If I can upgrade by installing 10 over what I have and the 10 upgrade migrates my existing programs to the new OS, then I will have no problems doing so.

    Sure, I do understand that some of the migrated programs may not work properly, but a clean install means hours of additional work that M$ could do for free. Every program may not work, but every program that does work and I do not have to reinstall means a substantial time savings.
  24. JimkisHere

    JimkisHere TS Rookie

    What is so hard to understand? Do you see Apple just giving away computers whenever they release a new version of OSX? What they are doing makes sense. They aren't a charity. If you have a system with XP, 7 or 8 you get an upgrade for free...easy. I'm actually happy Microsoft is doing this.
  25. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,547   +432

    Not XP, just 7 and 8.1.

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