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Windows 10 Free Upgrade Ends December 31, 2017
tcassidy
I am still somewhat confused as to where the key is actually stored. I thought it was on the Microsoft servers but others have said it is in the UEFI bios.

Terry
Ken in Regina
Yeah, I'm as confused as you. In my mind the answer might be both. I can't imagine it would ONLY be stored somewhere on the local machine. How would MS be able to check for activation on multiple machines using the same key if it was not on their servers, with some sort of unique identification info about the machine that is activated by the key?

...ken...
Ken in Regina
Everything I can find indicates that the product key is definitely stored on MS servers at the time of activation. Most of the articles tell you where to FIND your product key and that depends on how you got the Win 10 system in the first place. There are a variety of places it will be displayed depending on whether you just bought a new computer or a refurbished computer, or if you just bought a copy of Windows 10 on its own.

If you have activated Win 10 on a machine in any way at all, you should be able to reinstall clean from an .ISO file or USB distribution and it will automatically reactivate. That suggests it may be stored somewhere on the machine, too. That might suggest the UEFI BIOS if it's writable.

...ken...
tcassidy
Ok, it seems that upgraded PCs may not have a key as the Win 10 upgrade is supplied by Microsoft through digital entitlement. I have a selection of Win 7 and 8 upgraded computers as well as Win 10 ones. I'll check which ones can display a key.

Regardless, they are all good for a clean Win 10 install providing I don't perform major upgrades like changing the motherboard. Sounds like Win 7 but you don't need to remember the key.

Terry
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