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I have a laptop here that came with Windows 10 Home pre-installed. But I want the more feature-rich Pro edition instead. I have access to the Microsoft DreamSpark program through collage. So I have ordered a new license key for the "Multiple Edition". This is thought to be a Home and Pro bundle in one ISO file, but the license key activates only the more feature-rich Pro edition. This is according to a forum thread on tenforums.com.

I have now done a clean install using the provided ISO file. But the installer never prompted for a license key? I did get a 25 character key from DreamSpark. Once the installation was done, and I connected to the network, it appears to have been activated, and it's licensed to "Windows User"? But the installed edition is still just "Home"?

How do I go about to activate Windows 10 Pro edition on this Windows 10 Home laptop?

The currently installed Windows version is 1607, build 14393.0. This is definitely not the build that came with the laptop. The PC came with the TH1 update (some 10.0.10240.x build). This indicates that the install went well, but this activation thing is a puzzle.

Update 1:

In any normal operating system world, the solution provided by Timmy should be the correct solution. And it is the correct path to follow, except for the fact that it doesn't work properly. But that's a problem of Microsoft and Windows itself.

I followed the instructions provided by Timmy. Except I did not use the "Go to Store" link, but the "Change Product Key" link. But this should not be important, as both links seem to lead to the same "Enter a product key" prompt.

This appeared to be working. A Microsoft Support rep even confirmed that my Pro key had in fact been activated. The PC rebooted and some "upgrading" message appeared on the screen. So all was well... except for the fact that the Home to Pro upgrade installer program appears to be broken, because it failed to properly enable all of Pro features and benefits. It only enabled some of them.

One of the features it failed to enable is the lusrmgr snapin. It seems to suggest that I am using Windows 10 Home edition.

This snapin may not be used with this edition of Windows 10. To manage user accounts for this computer, use the User Accounts tool in the Control Panel.

lusrmgr

Even though Microsoft confirmed that Pro edition had been activated, and I saw some upgrade installer reboot my PC. But apparently this installer has issues.

So I will have to use the clean install (WinPE) method/installer. But for this to succeed I need a way to prevent the installer from automatically reading my UEFI embedded key and configuring Home edition during install. I need an override method for this automation. I need a way to provide the installer with the Pro key manually before the installation starts. The method given by Daniel seems promising. I will post back if it works.

Update 2:

Essentially, the first answer that was provided by Timmy is the correct solution to my question. If it were not for the road blocks due to buggy Microsoft software!

So my original question has turned into at least two separate problems.

  1. Why is lusrmgr.msc still not accessible now that I have successfully activated Pro edition?
  2. How to prevent clean install method (WinPE) from using my PC embedded key for the installation, or how to force it to prompt me for a key?

I will post back if and when I overcome these damn roadblocks. I can't possibly wait for Microsoft to get their head out of the cloud and fix the Home to Pro upgrade installer. So being able to answer my second question here seems like the best shot at correctly configuring Pro edition on this PC.

As always, the clean install method has proven to have the best outlook at fully and successfully installing, configuring and activating Windows. I just wish it wasn't so much more automated in Windows 10, with little to no user control over the process. It bases its decisions on a lot of predictions, trying to outsmart the human sitting in front of the screen. Since it's just a stupid computer, it has no concept of understanding user choice or preference. I think I know my own PC better than Microsoft and Windows put together. Not to mention my own preference and choice. No one else knows that better than I do.

Update 3: second install

I have done another clean install. Microsoft support asked me to do this. I have documented the entire process for future reference.

As I explained earlier, this PC came with Window 10 Home pre-installed by Asus. So it was an OEM type of thing with some minor bloatware. I used the ISO file that I got a link for from DreamSpark store and Rufus 2.10 to create a bootable USB flash drive.

The file was:

en_windows_10_multiple_editions_version_1607_updated_jul_2016_x64_dvd_9058187.iso

This installed Windows 10 Home and got activated automatically by the installation process. This PC is a laptop, and it has only WiFi for connectivity. And! I did not connect to the WiFi AP during setup. So it had no chance at activating over the Internet. The installer must have used the pre-activated key that's embedded on the machine.

Microsoft support representative used a remote session on my PC to try to sort out any issues with enabling Pro features. All attempts failed so they asked me to do a clean installation. Again?! So I obeyed and did another installation.

They gave me a link to download the latest Windows 10 build ISO file.

The file was:

Win10_1607_English_x64.iso

I used Rufus 2.10 again to prepare a USB flash drive. The installation completed again, and again, I had Windows 10 Home instead of Pro. As I suspected, the installer picked up the embedded Windows 10 Home key and configured Home edition. It failed to prompt for a key, just like the last time.

I tried to upgrade from Home to Pro using the same steps, and again, the upgrade installer failed to enable all Pro features. But Windows 10 Pro activation worked fine, just like the last time.

So I have clean installed Windows 10 Home not once but 2 times now since I left the bloated OEM Windows that came with the PC. I used 2 different official Microsoft ISO files, both with the same result. I also formatted the Windows partitions both times. I made my partitioning scheme on the first run, and I reused my existing partitions on the second run instead of having to recreate my partitions. But I made sure to format the target partition that I installed Windows on.

Windows 10 Home clean installed and activated:

system

You can see that it says "OEM" at the end of the product ID. So yes, the installer did use the embedded key for the installation... again.

lusrmgr

gpedit

secpol

system properties

enter a product key

After half successful Home to Pro upgrade:

upgrade your edition

preparing for upgrade

upgrade complete

system

You can see that it says "AA338" at the end of the product ID. This activation did not use the OEM key.

lusrmgr

gpedit

secpol

system properties

Update 4:

I tried disabling Secure Boot and performing a clean installation using the Win10_1607_English_x64.iso image without any modifications.

On some systems, disabling Secure Boot effectively prevents the Windows installer from reading the embedded key. This did not work on my PC. Windows 10 Home was installed, just like the last two times. It did not prompt me to enter a key which was the expected behavior.

Update 5:

I have successfully installed Windows 10 Pro cleanly using the ei.cfg trick. Apparently, this good old trick still works which is great. It works regardless of whether or not Secure Boot is enabled.

enter image description here

  • You purchase a key, and within Windows 10 Home, you upgrade to Windows 10 Professional. The current build isn't 14393.0, if its .0, then you do not have the current build. Officially there is no thing as the "multiple edition", if you need a Windows 10 Professional .ISO download it from microsoft any other source shouldn't be trusted. – Ramhound Aug 28 '16 at 21:39
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    "But the installer never prompted for a license key? " More than likely it used the key from the bios, see this.... superuser.com/questions/1020961/… – Moab Aug 28 '16 at 21:53
  • @Ramhound I got the download link for "multiple edition" from the DreamSpark store. I trust this source. This is a Microsoft term for installation media that has been prepared to install either edition, either Home or Pro. They used the same term for the Windows 8 release on DreamSpark. Before that, on Windows 7, the edition was determined by the ei.cfg file. You could remove this file to get a prompt that asks for what edition to install, the so called "universal" disc or media if you remember those terms. Universal disks may also include multiple architecture binaries. – Samir Sep 3 '16 at 11:10
  • @Ramhound See this discussion: tenforums.com/general-support/… – Samir Sep 3 '16 at 11:10
  • It's true that 14393.0 is/was not the current build. By current build I meant the currently installed build, the one that got installed from media. – Samir Sep 3 '16 at 11:13
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Try this:

  1. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Activation
  2. Click "Go to Store"
  3. Click under the $99.99 button the "I have a Windows 10 Pro Product Key" link
  4. Put your key in that you got from DreamSpark

Here is the article I found this information from.

Since you also mentioned that your clean install didn't ask for a key, you may be able to just change the product key in the Activation section of Update & Security.

  • 1
    At step 2, I used the "Change product key" link. But this seems to lead to the same "Enter a product key" prompt. So it should not matter. This should have been the correct solution. But the Home to Pro upgrade installer appears to have technical issues, because it failed to enable some Pro edition features and benefits. It only enabled some of them. But this is not your fault. So I have up-voted your answer. – Samir Sep 3 '16 at 11:56
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  • Choose Windows 10 Pro when installing
  • No need to input your product key during installation
  • If you need to change your key, slmgr.vbs /ipk "your key"
  • The problem with recent Windows versions is automation. Ever since Windows 8, Microsoft has been automating more and more stuff. The real stuff that's useful to superusers like us. This includes selection of Windows edition. You can no longer select this manually if your PC came with Windows pre-installed and it uses UEFI firmware. The installer selects the edition automatically, based on the embedded key. It's trying hard to be "smart" like that. In fact, the Windows 10 installer once corrupted my disk drive on another PC because it felt for "fixing" some bad sectors. – Samir Sep 3 '16 at 11:59
  • i haven't seen any computer like that... mine was purchased almost two years ago (but they do provide a way to upgrade your Windows 10, such as changing product key) – jm33_m0 Sep 3 '16 at 12:02
  • The slmgr.vbs is unavailable in WinPE environment. So when doing clean install, you can't use those commands. They can only be used post-install. That's after Windows 10 Home has been installed for me, without asking for my opinion. But once it's already installed, it's difficult to switch to Pro edition because Microsoft has issues with its Home to Pro upgrade installer which fails to enable all Pro features. – Samir Sep 3 '16 at 12:03
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    The clean install (WinPE) method is my best chance of properly configuring Pro edition. But I need a way to tell the damn installer to stop reading my UEFI embedded key, and prompt me for a key instead. Microsoft thinks this is helpful... when you no longer need to enter the key. :-) As a user, I should have an option! Like I said, they have automated too much. And when something else fails, you no longer have many workarounds to use when they have stripped down user control so much. – Samir Sep 3 '16 at 12:07
  • See the workaround by Daniel: superuser.com/a/1020963/137165 – Samir Sep 3 '16 at 12:08
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On my Windows 10 Home version 1607 build 14393.105 laptop, when I click on

  1. Start -> Settings -> System -> About
  2. There is a link there called: Change product key or upgrade your edition of Windows. Click on that link
  3. In the section titled Upgrade your edition of Windows click on Change product key and enter your Windows 10 key for your desired edition of Windows.
  4. Then follow the prompts to change editions.

The ability to do this was, I think, introduced in the Nov 2015 update version 1511 aka "Threshold 2".

Towards the end of July I was upgrading a bunch of computers for work to 10 and a few from home to pro, though I was forced to go via the route of using the method Charles on the MS forums describes as I was activating with a pre Windows 10 key. The above is just a bit shorter as you already have a 10 key, and don't need to go through an additional key swap.

Edit: If components seem to be missing or corrupt connect to the internet and try running the component store clean up from an elevated command prompt

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

followed by the system file check

sfc /scannow

Both commands could be needed, and need to run in the above sequence as the sfc command does not use windows update as its source for repairing files.

See the technet article Repair a Windows Image and the MS KB page Use the System File Checker tool to repair missing or corrupted system files for more info on these tools.

  • Yes, that's the option I used, as suggested by Timmy. Can you run lusrmgr.msc on any one of the Home to Pro upgraded machines? That would be very interesting to know. – Samir Sep 3 '16 at 14:04
  • Switching from Home edition to Pro edition is a two step process. The first part is the license activation step. The second part is the software upgrade step. Activation of Pro edition worked fine for me. Microsoft confirmed to me personally it's been activated. But the program that's supposed to bring me Pro level features is not bug free so it fails miserably at enabling some features. – Samir Sep 3 '16 at 14:07
  • I'll have to wait until I can access those PCs to check, but it sounds like you have some missing or corrupt files. I've added some additional things to my answer to help with missing/corrupt files. – BeowulfNode42 Sep 4 '16 at 0:49
  • But the DISM command is for Windows images? Are you suggesting that my Windows ISO file is corrupted? You want me to use that command on the install.wim on my USB drive? – Samir Sep 4 '16 at 9:00
  • I just checked the hash value for my ISO file. The file name is Win10_1607_English_x64.iso and the MD5 digest is 88B98698600511DCD69596DF92B242E5. The SHA1 is 99FD8082A609997AE97A514DCA22BECF20420891. The MD5 matches with the one posted on Reddit (bit.ly/2cq2IO8) and the SHA1 matches with the one posted on MSDN Downloads (bit.ly/2bORJfE). – Samir Sep 4 '16 at 9:26

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