1 Nickel

Win 10 license: new hard drive in a PC already upgraded from Win 7 to 10

I've got a 3-year-old 8700 which I'm very happy with. It recently had a major hard drive failure (2TB SATA), so I'm preparing to replace the drive with a new one.

Earlier this year, a couple months prior to the crash, I took the PC through the automatic upgrade from Windows 7 (Home) to Windows 10. So of course I've got questions:

  1. What should be the status of my Windows 7 and Windows 10 licenses? Are both in effect?
  2. If not, do I have to purchase a new copy of one or the other? If I DO need to purchase a new copy, do I go for the OEM or the retail version?

  3. If I have to purchase a new copy, can I buy Windows 7 and take advantage of the free upgrade to 10 again?

  4. If I do NOT have to purchase a new copy, where the heck do I get the installation media? (I do have the "system restore" disks created just before the upgrade from 7 to 10.)

  5. Given that I had the Home version(s) previously, can I upgrade to Pro on the same license? Or would this definitely required a new purchase? (And if so, do I get the OEM or retail version?)

Appreciate any help at all!

Edit to add: I should also have mentioned that my PC is no longer under warranty. C'est la vie!

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2 Replies
1 Nickel

RE: Win 10 license: new hard drive in a PC already upgraded from Win 7 to 10

After investigating more, it seems as though I will NOT have to purchase a new copy. My understanding of the steps involved (at least during the upgrade-from-Win7 period ending in July):

  • Download a Windows 10 .iso from MS site
  • Boot to the ISO
  • Setup program will automatically check that PC is correctly authorized/certified for Windows 10
  • Done!

Fwiw, once I get the new hard drive, I'll probably try the Windows 7 "system restore" disks first. If I do a clean install of Windows 10, I'll have to re-install all the software (as well as data from backups). I'm pretty sure I no longer have the setup disks for some of that software.

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5 Iridium

RE: Win 10 license: new hard drive in a PC already upgraded from Win 7 to 10

Your systems hardware profile was registered with a Microsoft Product Activation server during the initial upgrade and is now a Windows 10 Home Device.

You can clean install Windows 10 Home without a product key and it'll automatically reactivate when online. Alternatively you can input the 25 digit Windows 7 Home Premium key from your COA.

A clean installation is recommended performance wise. Its also advisable for you to install in UEFI with Secureboot enabled for this system.

Drive wise I recommend getting a 250 GB SSD at least for an OS boot drive. You have a Desktop tower so you can also add a HDD for additional data storage if need be. In this configuration AHCI is recommended.

See here for more details:




Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads

#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
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