Windows 10 activations may be tied to your Microsoft Account, to validate Windows after a clean install
Earlier today we reported that Windows 10 Insider Preview Builds, will require users to connect their PC to their Microsoft Account.
That is, they have to login to their MSA, to continue receiving Preview Builds.
Back in January, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would be a free upgrade for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 users, and that the users will continue to receive updates for the lifetime of the device. Windows 10 is launching on July 29th. The Redmond Company is making sure that it attracts as many users as possible, and rolled out an optional Windows update to Windows 7 and 8.x users in April.
This update recently enabled the Get Windows 10 app (GWX) on their computers, and began asking users to reserve their free upgrade to Windows 10. If your computer is missing the GWX app, follow our guide to enable it and reserve your free upgrade.
Microsoft recently confirmed that it will allow unlimited clean installs of Windows 10, on PCs which have activated the operating system prior to formatting the computer. An employee of the Company, stated that Windows 7 and 8.x users will not need to use their license to activate the license. But it did not reveal how the activation would be validated?
Microsoft’s recent announcement about the mandatory requirement for users to login to their MSA, suggests how the activation would work.
Windows 10 activations may be tied to your Microsoft Account:
Though it doesn’t state this specifically, Microsoft does say that the MSA requirement is mandatory for Windows 10 Insiders only, and not for upgrades from Windows 7 or 8.x, but it is possible that an MSA may be one of the ways to activate Windows later.
Microsoft has also confirmed that Insiders running Windows 10 Home and Pro editions, and have signed in to their MSA, will get the final release build of Windows 10 on July 29th. This will be delivered just like a normal Windows Preview Update. It is likely that this is the General Availability build of Windows 10.
These words from Gabe Aul, the Head of the Windows Insider Program kind of confirms this.
As long as you are running an Insider Preview build and connected with the MSA you used to register, you will receive the Windows 10 final release build and remain activated. Once you have successfully installed this build and activated, you will also be able to clean install on that PC from final media if you want to start over fresh.
Enterprise edition users will not be able to upgrade for free, in addition to a Software Assurance agreement, they will need to download and activate Windows 10 Enterprise from the Volume Licensing Service Center
The other ways which the Company may be using to validate genuine Windows after clean installs, would probably be a hardware fingerprint. It will store a record of your system’s hardware to identify your computer, as one that had Windows 10 activated prior to the clean install. And this information could be stored in your MSA, or even connected to it, and require you to just sign in to activate Windows.