Using Windows 10 without a license key in a new computer is like having a car with cheap wheels that will deflate faster than you think.
When you have more than one computer in your workspace or home, the best thing you can do is get a product key for each of your PCs, but what if you don’t have enough budget for that? After all, a digital license key from the Microsoft website can cost hundreds of dollars.
Because of this, you may be thinking about using the same Windows license product key for two or more computers. In this article, we will explore this possibility so you can know if one PC may have the same operating system product key as another.
How Does the Windows 10 License Work?
When you have a Windows 10 retail copy – or any other license – for a new computer or a newly installed Windows, you need a product key. This is a digital license that activates Windows and entitles users to have access to all the operating system’s features.
They are associated with your hardware’s PC and your Microsoft account. This means that you only need to type down the serial key on your new Windows, and you’ll be set.
Even though your license is attached to your hardware, you can still reactivate the OS running on the computer if you have the license or product key associated with the Microsoft account. That’s why it’s so important.
You can use different keys to activate your copy of Windows. Below we mention them all.
Types Of Windows 10 Licenses
There are three types of license editions that you can get when you install Windows. Each one gives you a full version of Windows 10, but they have differences.
Retail License (Boxed Copy)
This is the license that comes separately from your computer when you buy it and may present as a DVD or a boxed serial key. The retail key is also known as the Full Packaged Product because you can transfer it and use the same key on another computer.
You can also use the retail copy to activate Windows when you change something from your hardware.
The OEM license comes issued to one PC. It’s pre-assembled to the computer you’re buying, and you can’t transfer it. Compared to the retail key, you can’t use your OEM key if your machine suffers any major change that deactivates Windows.
This means that if you want to change your old computer, you can’t use the license on your new PC.
The volume keys are reserved for schools or companies that need to transfer, change, and activate different keys in several computers constantly. Businesses and organizations need to have facilities to modify their keys. To do so, they get a Key Management Server.
Can You Use a Windows 10 Product Key on Multiple Computers?
As you can see, it doesn’t matter what kind of license key you have; you can’t use a product key on multiple computers at the same time.
You can use your Windows if you don’t have a license because, but after 30 days, some features will be blocked if you haven’t activated your OS. At least this is the thing with Windows 11, 10, and 8.
The one exception to the rule is Windows 7 Family Pack. This allows you to use this software on a new device and on up to three different PCs simultaneously.
Can You Transfer Your Installed Windows 10 Key To Another Machine?
So, what can you do – that is not illegal – to use your product key in a new machine?
If you need to activate Windows on one machine and don’t have money to buy an additional license, you could use your license key from an old PC and transfer it to the new one.
Determining If License Can Be Transferred
Discovering if your copy of Windows has a transferable license is a simple process. You only need to follow these criteria:
- If your Windows 10 comes from Windows 7 update retail license, you are entitled to one free transfer.
- If your software comes from an OEM Windows 7 update, you can’t transfer your license to other devices.
- If you purchase a Windows 10 CD Key, you can transfer it as many times as you want.
Keep in mind that since the November update 1511, Microsoft has improved how the licensing agreement works, and you check on their website what you can or can’t do with a license key.
Remove a License From Your Computer
If you have confirmed that your old Windows license is transferable and you want to switch it from your previous PC or laptop to a new one, you need to remove it first.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Press Windows key + X.
- Right Click Command Prompt and run it as an Admin.
- Type or paste the following command: slmgr.vbs /upk.
This will uninstall and deactivate the Windows 10 key from your old computer. Now you can use it on the additional computer to upgrade Windows or as an activation product key.
For example, you can reuse it:
- During the installation process.
- After you have installed Windows, in the Activation settings section.
- Using the Command Prompt and typing slmgr.vbs /ipk xxxxx- xxxxx- xxxxx- xxxxx- xxxxx.
Can You Use The Same Windows 10 Key On Two Computers – Summary
Now that you know that you can’t use the same Windows key on two computers, it’s time for you to proceed with the options you have at your disposal.
You can either transfer – if possible – your old key to the new computer or purchase a Windows 10 CD Key to activate Windows for less than 4$. Either way, your new PC will have an active OS as intended and will be able to receive internet upgrades.