I have googled but can't find a definite answer to my question. All the answers are incomplete.

I want to clean install Windows 10 using USB. When restarting from USB I want to use advanced and format all the partitions and create one partition then install Windows 10 on it.

I bought my HP laptop with Windows 8 and upgraded for free to Windows 10 and activated auto.

Will Windows 10 activate after I remove all partitions and create one partition out of them and then install Windows 10 on it?

I have 2/3 Recovery partitions and windows old folder etc. Before the upgrade I only had one Recovery partition.

Scenario 1:

I have one Desktop with win8 activated, used free upgrade to win10 and activated. Formatted HDD and re-installed win10 with USB media from Microsoft. It did not activate after clean install. I had to install win8, activate it, upgrade to win10 and then it activated.

Scenario 2:

I have one laptop with windows 8 activated, used free upgrade to win10. Now I want to format all my partitions because they are useless and make one partition. This is possible when formatting. Because my HP laptop came with OEM OS, I do not have a serial because it was embedded in the recovery. So I can't use a serial to activate win10 if it does not activate itself. I also do not have the serial in this case to install win8 and activate it and then upgrade to win10 if win10 does not activate the same way as scenario 1.

I need an answer to if I can remove all paritions, create one and install Windows 10 on it so it activates. Or is the hidden super secret spy serial key stored on one of those partitions?

  • 1
    Make a full backup first, and then try it. Nov 24, 2015 at 19:20
  • It's not an duplicate. He has another problem and question then I do. Nov 24, 2015 at 19:28
  • He has questions about windows 10 that was upgraded on a virtual machine and if it will activate if he installs it on his system outside his virtual machine. Nov 24, 2015 at 19:34
  • Starting from Windows 8, the COA sticker on OEM devices ( laptops or PCs ) was replaced with the BIOS product key (the key is in the BIOS, not on the hard drive itself ).
    – snaks20
    Nov 24, 2015 at 20:12
  • But can I recover that windows 8 key from within the BIOS? I read that the previous windows key is not valid anymore after the free upgrade so I can't activate windows 8 even with the key I guess. This guy also says that he and others had problems with win8->upgradewin10->clean install which did not activate then. youtu.be/K0oUuUsH4As?t=9m38s Nov 24, 2015 at 20:20

2 Answers 2


If you have taken the free update for Windows 10, then Microsoft recorded the activation for your hardware on their activation servers. You can wipe the computer and proceed with a clean install.

During the install, Windows 10 will ask for a key, but you can skip this step. Once you have network drivers installed it will go out to the internet and activate automatically.

Please note, you can only upgrade to the edition of Windows 10 your computer was originally entitled to. So if you upgraded from Win8 to Win10 (home edition), then you cannot load the machine with Win10 Pro. It won't activate. You CAN, however, use the 64-bit edition if your computer only came with 32-bit -- as long as you don't try to go from home to Pro or vice versa.

Additionally, I would recommend you remove all partitions and install Windows 10 to a blank drive. By default Windows 10 will create multiple partitions automatically. Do not try to create one big partition on your own. If your firmware is UEFI, then your disk must be formatted GPT and have at least an EFI partition in addition to the OS partition.

  • I know microsoft has recorded my system, but I am afraid of formatting my partitions and making one of them and then installing Windows 10. I tried this with my home desktop, upgraded from 8 to 10, formatted my drive and installed Windows 10, and it did -not- activate. I had to install 8 again, activate it and upgrade again to 10. So will it work this time? Will it activate after I format my drive (partitions)? Nov 24, 2015 at 19:23
  • 1
    You must pay specific attention to the edition of Windows 10 you're installing (i.e. pro vs. home). If your computer came with Windows 8 (home) and you upgraded to Windows 10, it upgraded you to the home version of 10. You cannot then install Win10 Pro and expect it to activate. You can only activate the edition your computer was originally entitled to.
    – Wes Sayeed
    Nov 24, 2015 at 19:28
  • I know that it has to be the same version of windows (home) in my laptops case. I updated my question with two scenarios that I have experienced. If I remove partitions, and make one partition out of them, it will automatically create the correct partitions itself and when I install the correct version windows win10 home on the correct partition, will it activate? Because that did not happen on my desktop Nov 24, 2015 at 19:37
  • Where did you get the USB drive? Did you use the media creation tool from Microsoft's web site? If not that may be your issue. Win10 also has volume license and education license editions that also won't activate on your hardware.
    – Wes Sayeed
    Nov 24, 2015 at 19:42
  • I used the media creation tool from ms Nov 24, 2015 at 19:52

I went to CMD and typed slmgr /xpr to check if my Windows was activated Permanently. It was so I proceeded with the following:

HP Laptop with OEM Windows 8 upgraded to Windows 10 for free. After that I made the media creation tool provided by Microsoft. Then I went to Start -> Settings -> Update & Security -> Recovery -> Under advanced start-up selected Restart now -> selected the USB that Windows 10 was on and skipped the part where it asks for the key. Then selected advanced and removed all partitions. Then made a new partition and it created 4 partitions. I installed Windows 10 on the primary one, in my case partition 4. After connecting to the internet and using the same Hotmail Microsoft account Windows was activated.

I remember doing the same on my home Desktop few months ago, but then it did not activate and I had to re-install 8, upgrade to 10 to activate it.

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