I have Windows 8.1 BOX. I have sold PC and currently I want to use key on different PC and Windows account. Will I be able to get update to Windows 10? Is it bounded with key, account or PC?


I have sold PC without operating system(clean format of all drives), on this computer I have had my windows 8.1 box that was later free updated to 10.

Now I have one unused copy of Windows 8.1 box.

If I install this copy on new computer with new windows account, will I be able to update to windows 10 for free? Or my update is bounded with windows account/motherboard/previous computer?

By 8.1 BOX I mean retail version in box with two DVDs - x32 and x64 versions.

  • Please clarify your question. CLEARLY identify each computer we are discussing here, which OS each has, if you currently own it or have sold it, and exactly what you are trying to do with each one. – Appleoddity Oct 1 '17 at 14:07
  • @Appleoddity edited. – Preetygeek Oct 1 '17 at 14:12
  • If by "Windows 8.1 box" you mean you have a retail version of Windows then yes. You can actually install Windows 10 directly and activate with the 8.1 key. If, on the other hand, you had an OEM copy of Windows 8.1 installed on the machine you sold, then legally it was supposed to go with the system you sold. I'm not sure what your question about "Windows account" is coming from. The key is not bound to any account. It's bound to the hardware. But retail versions of Windows can be legally moved from one computer to another. – Appleoddity Oct 1 '17 at 14:16
  • @Appleoddity - I have retail version in nice violet box with two DVDs. To make it completely clear, if I download Win10 form Microsoft site and during installation I'll provide my key from BOX, I can skip whole updating part of reinstall on new PC? – Preetygeek Oct 1 '17 at 14:21
  • Yes, that is absolutely correct. – Appleoddity Oct 1 '17 at 14:36
up vote 1 down vote accepted

A retail version of Windows can legally be moved from one computer to another, as long as it will not be in use on more than one computer at the same time.

The activation is tied to the hardware. Not a Windows account or any other component.

To re-use your Windows 8.1 retail edition, you should download and create a Windows 10 installation media: https://www.microsoft.com/software-download/windows10

Install Windows 10 directly and activate with the Windows 8.1 key. There is no upgrade process necessary involving installing Windows 8.1 first.

In addition, Windows 10 will create a digital entitlement which will allow the OS to automatically activate, without the 8.1 key, if you ever reinstall it on the same hardware in the future.

  • Worth pointing out that the offer to upgrade to Windows 10 for free expired in April 2016. – Ramhound Oct 1 '17 at 17:12

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