I've bought a laptop with windows 10 preinstalled. I remove it and installed W7 with another key. Is there a way to retrieve the W10 key and install it?

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    Just install Windows 10. It will automatically be activated. See any number of my Windows 10 activation answers for more information. Your use of Windows 7 is immaterial to your question
    – Ramhound
    Mar 23, 2018 at 12:15

2 Answers 2


Your key is stored as a digital entitlement on Microsoft servers.

Simply reinstall Windows 10 on that machine, skip entering the key, and it should authenticate the machine with Microsoft while you are online and activate automatically.

In case thisis your intention: the key cannot be retrieved and transferred to another machine. OEM keys (I.e. it cam with that PC) are not transferable.

  • This will work also if I made the upgrade using the assistant? Withouth reinstallation? Mar 23, 2018 at 10:28
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    If you had Windows 7 or 8 and did the free upgrade then yes, you can simply reinstall Windows 10 and it will reactivate. I have one machine that was upgtaded, had a hard drive die, I replaced the drive and did a completely clean install and it reactivated itself without issue.
    – Mokubai
    Mar 23, 2018 at 10:31
  • I didn't the free upgrade, it was preinstalled on my laptop and I moved to W7 with another key. So my question is, it will automatically activate the embedded key if I made the upgrade? Mar 23, 2018 at 10:37
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    Oh, you had 10, downgraded to 7 and then want to re-upgrade. I had assumed you meant for a clean install for dual boot. I believe it should still work, the machine is entitled to Windows 10 after all. If all else fails it should just be a call to Microsoft to reactivate.
    – Mokubai
    Mar 23, 2018 at 10:52

If your Windows 10 license is OEM license, you need to use OEM installation media to reinstall the Windows. After that it will automatically activate your Windows 10.

If your Windows 10 license is retail license, you could create Windows 10 installation media to reinstall it. Download Windows 10:https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/software-download/windows10

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