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Windows 8 licence transfer from laptop to new PC

By Obzoleet · 16 replies
Mar 7, 2014
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  1. Hello,

    I have windows 8 pro on my old laptop , However I recently bought a new computer and want to transfer it to that instead since I dont use my old laptop and dont want to pay for a new copy of windows 8.

    I contacted the Microsoft support which of course was more then happy to help me BUT only if I payed 65 pounds since I was out of the 90 days warranty.

    He told me they needed to leverage the Microsoft signing tool to be able to transfer the genuine key to my new computer.

    I find that quite silly that I should need to pay another 65 pounds since I already have a copy..

    Do you know how to do this license transfer on my own? I tried to search around but im unable to find a clear answer really...

    Any suggestions are welcome : )

  2. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,419   +77

    How old is the 'old laptop' ? Did it come with Win 8 ?

    You need to be aware that PC manufacturers buy the licence from MS very heavily discounted, and to do that, the m/f is required to tie it to the motherboard in one way or another. This means you may not be able to install the same OS copy on another PC at all - be it laptop or desktop. So MS makes another sale.....

    To do what you want to do will only be possible in certain circumstances, and if you come back with the details of the source of the old PC, the OS and the installation media you may be able to use, then others more experienced that I will possibly be able to advise.

    Yes, it's unpleasant, but has always been that way. There may be hope though https://www.techspot.com/news/55906-documentation-details-low-cost-windows-81-with-bing.html
  3. Obzoleet

    Obzoleet TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 171   +9

    Bought windows 8 for the computer 1st jan 2013, it was a over the internet like a digital copy but I could get a physical copy sent to me if I wished...
  4. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,419   +77

    Then you may be lucky, and simply install it on your new hardware. Update all the drivers for everything from the manufacturer's sites, and register the copy with the registration key of your old PC.

    You are supposed to uninstall the original copy ........ if there are difficulties in the new registration process, you should be able to resolve them with no extra cost to you. You bought it, and can deploy it on whatever hardware you wish, but only one PC at a time. In actual fact that is all perfectly legal - always supposing the download thingy is a legal copy in the first place. I make no assumptions or insinuations whatever about that. Caveat emptor.
  5. Obzoleet

    Obzoleet TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 171   +9

    Oh that sounds good!

    I have tried to install windows 8 on my new computer but when I tried to activate it , it did not work since the key was already activated.

    But I have not deactivated / removed windows from the old laptop so that might be it then if am very lucky...

    Is there any way to just " Deactivate " the genuine product key and then activate it on my new system or will I need to format the whole old laptop?

    And if so, wont I need to be connected to the internet so that the microsoft system knows that its not in use anymore?

    Sorry if my questions seems silly but I would really like to get this going for me today! *( my GPU arrived today so need windows ASAP :) )
  6. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,419   +77

  7. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,545   +429

    I don't know a real answer to this, but I did a motherboard transfer of Windows Vista Pro x64 back in the day by simply installing it, and doing the phone activation. I did not have to speak to anyone, just answer some questions by pressing whatever number was the right answer.
  8. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,419   +77

    It will probably eventually come down to whether your downloaded install is an 'upgrade' version, or a 'retail' version, or something else again.

    As to the link I suggested, it is notable that MS support staff are supposedly advising, but very, very clearly have no grasp of what they are doing, they just regurgitate a script, whether it matches the problem or not.

    I can also see no way whatever that 'uninstalling' an OS by reformatting a drive can send any form of notification to MS. Running a deactivation program from within the OS, yes I understand that.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  9. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,585   +252

    Microsoft ran a cheap upgrade offer for Windows 8 in its early days. If your copy is one of these it’s possible to transfer it but Microsoft don’t make it easy. This was my situation. I bought a copy and installed it on a second hard drive on my desktop, basically to see what I thought of it. It was OK but I preferred Windows 7 and uninstalled it. Oh yes, I originally downloaded W8 as an ISO and had burned it onto disk at the time of purchase. That was a really good move.

    Netbooks interested me and I bought a second hand one with Windows 7 Starter. I decided to put Windows 8 on it and used the usb route selecting a fresh install. It didn’t work though everything looked good up until the finish. It asked for the key which it had already approved right at the beginning and said that it was already in use (or it may have said that it was not the appropriate type of installation). Anyway, it wasn’t possible to activate Windows 8 which was not great after a couple of hours work.

    This left me with the problem of returning to Windows 7 Starter for which I didn’t have a copy to perform the re-installation. To cut this short I found that in my situation if the computer had any Windows OS installed, even if it wasn’t activated, that I could install Windows 8 as an upgrade. Fair enough as I bought the OS as an upgrade. The installation files for Windows 8 upgrade simply checked that there was already a previous version of Windows installed.

    I wasn’t quite there but close enough. This time when I tried to activate Windows 8 I was taken to a screen asking for details because the system detected that my copy of Windows 8 had already been activated. Activation was by an automated phone system. When I confirmed that the copy was only on one computer I received a new key which was entered successfully. I’m starting to like Windows 8.1 and am optimistic about the April updates but it’s been hard work for customers as well as Microsoft.

    Windows 8.1 is good on a netbook but installing it is a load of trouble quite apart from the activation issues. The news is that the upcoming April updates will lower the hardware requirements for Windows 8.1. I'm hoping for a small performance boost.
    gbhall likes this.
  10. Obzoleet

    Obzoleet TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 171   +9

    I managed to transfer the license to my new computer so it worked! Thanks for the advice :)
  11. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,419   +77

    It might be quite useful for others in the same position if you could supply some small details of how you performed the 'transfer'.

    Was it an upgrade version, did you run the deactivate script on your old PC, did you first need to install some other old Windows version on your new PC? Any other useful comments?

    I also hope your registration 'sticks' - as you possibly saw in my link off post#6, there may be problems later. I hope not.
  12. Obzoleet

    Obzoleet TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 171   +9


    I had a false windows and then bought an upgrade from windows.com for 24£

    So I then had a genuine Windows 8.

    I did these steps to transfer the license to my new desktop PC.

    First on my old laptop which was connected to internet I deactivated the genuine copy by doing these steps :
    Open an elevated command prompt,

    In the elevated command prompt enter slmgr.vbs /upk
    You will get a pop up windows saying " Uninstalled product key succesfully"

    I then go to my new PC and open an elevated command prompt,

    enter Win + R -> slui 4.

    Choose country,

    Phone the number provided,

    Follow instructions and it worked!

    And that was it kinda.
    bazz2004 likes this.
  13. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,585   +252

    That's useful info Obzoleet. Be certain that you have fully updated Windows 8 then visit the Windows store via its App where you will find the upgrade for 8.1. Getting that installed will take hours but it's worth the trouble. You will never be able to upgrade to 8.1 from 8.0 via Windows Update. The awaited Update 1 will, however, arrive via the traditional Windows Update route next month. It all seems very muddled.
  14. Obzoleet

    Obzoleet TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 171   +9

    So..should I manually go in via the App and get it or wait for the official windows update release?

    And whats better with the 8.1? ( I havnt read up about it)
  15. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,585   +252

    You didn't understand me. Windows 8.1 is in the Windows store for free and that's the only way to get it. The upcoming Update 1 is something completely different to Windows 8.1- incredibly confusing. Hardly a good choice of names. Microsoft have to take a lot of the blame for the difficulties they have getting people to upgrade. Lots are still on the original Windows 8.0 because they don't use Apps, have probably never entered the Windows Store and think that by using Windows Update they are keeping their OS fully updated.

    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
    gbhall likes this.
  16. Obzoleet

    Obzoleet TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 171   +9

    Aah I see,

    I downloaded the 8.1 yesterday and it went smooth,

    Or well, the automatic restart that occured after 15 minutes without my consent ( Also in the middle of a league of legends game) was not appreciated :)

    But after that it went smooth, it only took 10 minutes to finish the setup and I did not really see any major change except some smaller ones in the start screen.

    I have no idea what features came with it but I will read up on it one day...in the future...hopefully ! :)
  17. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,585   +252

    Good to know that the install went well. Mine was disrupted by Windows updates which suddenly appeared after I had thought that 8.0 was fully updated. The interesting stuff should arrive in April and that will be via Windows update. Update 1, as its being called at present, will be the first major update for Windows 8.1.

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