I have a promotional disc for Windows 7 Ultimate I received during the Windows 7 launch. I've transferred it new computers several times since (with the help of MS support to authorize the transfer in those cases where I neglected to deactivate it first).

I've read that the free Win 10 upgrade is non-transferable. I've also read that it is transferable so long as the original OS was transferable. (These both may have been true at some point since it appears that MS's policy on this has changed over time. See here and here.) I'm not clear if the promotional disc counts as OEM, retail, or some special case.

My question: Once I've upgraded from my promotional copy of Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 10 and after the free upgrade period has passed, will I be able to transfer this Windows 10 license from this computer to another as in the case of a full system upgrade? Additionally, what edition of Windows 10 will I effectively have?

References to support your answer appreciated.

Edit: I'd like to make it clear that this question has an odd but not unique circumstances attached to it, so I repeat:

  1. The Windows 7 disc is a promotional copy. While I've been able to transfer it to completely new computers, I'm unsure if it counts as OEM or retail for the purposes of the free Windows 10 upgrade.
  2. When the Windows 10 promotion started, MS's stance appeared to be the the upgrade would be non-transferable. There is evidence that this has changed:


Does my Retail copy of Windows become an OEM copy (Locked to the hardware it was upgraded on) after the upgrade?

  • UPDATE As of the license terms released with build 10240, an original OEM copy upgrades to what is, in effect, still an OEM copy. An original Retail copy upgrades to what is, in effect a retail, transferable copy. Microsoft has done away with terms like "OEM" in the license, and now use terms like "If you originally acquired the software preinstalled on the device" and "If you acquired the software from a retailer". And, in the license they explicitly say that an upgraded retail license is still a transferable retail license.

In no situation does your original Windows 7/8/8.1 license get converted to an OEM license.

To clarify, in order to transfer your copy of Windows 10 to a new PC, assuming you have a retail license of Windows 7/8.x, you must first install Windows 7/8.x on the new PC, then perform a new upgrade on that PC. If this happens after the 1 year upgrade period is over, the Activation servers will know that your old license has already been upgraded and re-activate the new upgrade.


When I upgrade a preinstalled (OEM) or retail version of Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 license to Windows 10, does that license remain OEM or become a retail license?

If you upgrade from a OEM or retail version of Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 to the free Windows 10 upgrade this summer, the license is consumed into it. Because the free upgrade is derived from the base qualifying license, Windows 10 will carry that licensing too.

If you upgrade from a retail version, it carries the rights of a retail version.

If you upgrade from a OEM version, it carries the rights of a OEM version.

Full version (Retail):

  • Includes transfer rights to another computer.

  • Doesn't require a previous qualifying version of Windows.

  • Expensive

Upgrade version (Retail):

  • Includes transfer rights to another computer.

  • require a previous qualifying version of Windows.

  • Expensive, but cheaper than full version


OEM versions of Windows are identical to Full License Retail versions except for the following:

  • OEM versions do not offer any free Microsoft direct support from Microsoft support personnel

  • OEM licenses are tied to the very first computer you install and activate it on

  • OEM versions allow all hardware upgrades except for an upgrade to a different model motherboard

  • OEM versions cannot be used to directly upgrade from an older Windows operating system

Edit 2: For those who seem to think the only way to install the free Windows 10 upgrade is over the top of an existing, validated Windows 7/8/8.1 install: How to do a Clean Install of Windows 10, the Easy Way. Describes doing a clean install using a non-upgraded Windows 7/8/8.1 key and getting it validated.

  • I would install Windows 7 on the computer you want the free upgrade on first and then do the Windows 10 upgrade. You'll experience less hassles – InterLinked Jun 8 '16 at 20:13
  • @InterLinked afaik, that's only an option during the free upgrade period. What about when I want to transfer to a new computer after that? – Ouroborus Jun 8 '16 at 20:16
  • 1
    The license you recieve today, cannot be transfered to another, its a per machine license and digitally connected to the machine in question. This is because anyone that does the upgrade recieves the same generic Windows 10 key for their installation. Since it isn't July 30th, it isn't clear, if you can use a retail license to Windows 7 or Windows 8.x, to then install Windows 10. Microsoft has not been clear on what happens after July 29th, their current official stance, is that you should perform the upgrade before July 29th. – Ramhound Jun 8 '16 at 20:16
  • @Ouroborus - You have to understand something. Windows 10 is not free, Microsoft is not going to allow you to upgrade to Windows 10 (for free), on every machine you transfer the Windows 7 license to until the end of time. if you want that right you would need to purchase a Windows 10 retail license. I can only tell you what Microsoft intentions appear to be, they are offering Windows 10 to all eligible customers for free for a year, as an attempt to get people to actually perform the upgrade because historically people don't upgrade their Windows OS ( for some odd reason ). – Ramhound Jun 8 '16 at 20:18
  • @Ramhound That's one of the key aspects of my question. Back when they started pushing Windows 10, I had the same opinion and my thought was just to wait and buy Windows 10 as then I could be sure to get a transferable license. But, as I said, MS seems to have changed their stance on this (as referenced in my question) and I wanted to get a clearer answer. – Ouroborus Jun 8 '16 at 20:20

I took the plunge and upgraded. Microsoft's Volume Activation Management Tool has this to say about the installations current state:

VAMT status screenshot

Until I actually try it, the ability to migrate the digital entitlement to new hardware is still difficult to determine. Sources indicate that this is allowed if the OS you upgraded from was retail:

  • If you upgraded from a retail copy of Windows 7, Windows 8 or 8.1, the Windows 10 license carries the retail rights from which it was derived.
  • If you upgraded from an OEM Windows 7, Windows 8 or 8.1 license, these are licenses that come preinstalled on a new computer from a manufacturer, and then your Windows 10 license maintains the OEM rights.

This affects the rights to what you can do with the license. (Surprisingly issue free compared to what I'd anticipated.) If it's retail, you can continue to make hardware modifications to your system such as changing the motherboard or move it to a different computer. For an OEM version, if you change the motherboard, automatically, your free upgrade will be invalidated; meaning, you will have to purchase a new full retail Windows 10 license.

In Microsoft's Windows 10 license terms, section 4.b.:

Stand-alone software. If you acquired the software as stand-alone software (and also if you upgraded from software you acquired as stand-alone software), you may transfer the software to another device that belongs to you. You may also transfer the software to a device owned by someone else if (i) you are the first licensed user of the software and (ii) the new user agrees to the terms of this agreement. You may use the backup copy we allow you to make or the media that the software came on to transfer the software. Every time you transfer the software to a new device, you must remove the software from the prior device. You may not transfer the software to share licenses between devices.

I think the key bit is the part that reads: "and also if you upgraded from software you acquired as stand-alone software".

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