Microsoft Ending Windows Activations Using Windows 7 and 8 Keys

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2023/10/01 02:00:24 (permalink)
For over a decade since the launch of Windows 8, Windows has had a not so well kept secret; you could activate an install using a Windows 7 key. So long as you had the correct version of the key for the install you intended to use, such as Home or Pro, plugging a Windows 7 key into a Windows 8, 8.1, 10 or even 11 install after upgrading would activate that new copy of Windows. Microsoft originally allowed this as a means to entice users away from Windows 7 and onto their newer operating systems via the free Windows Upgrade system. This even worked when doing a fresh clean install if you had an OEM key harvested from an old machine. That old Dell box in your closet that came with Windows 7 Pro in 2009? That key glued to the back could still be used to activate a fresh copy of Windows 10/11 in 2023. Same with Windows 8 keys. That changes soon.

Microsoft announced the change on their Device Partner Center in a very short posting which reads,
Microsoft's free upgrade offer for Windows 10 / 11 ended July 29, 2016. The installation path to obtain the Windows 7 / 8 free upgrade is now removed as well. Upgrades to Windows 11 from Windows 10 are still free.
This change does not end Windows installs that are already activated with those old keys, so don't worry about losing the activation after a forced update of Windows 10 or 11, the already in service keys will carry forward. The current Windows 11 version in beta channels already includes this lockout of old keys so the changes are coming to the general public very soon. There may still be a workaround to exploit, however. If you have install media created before the lockout goes into affect you may be able to do an offline install, activate with an old key, then connect online to push the activation through to Microsoft's server. It's only a theory, but we'll see if it works after the update goes public.
I'm surprised that Microsoft took this long to terminate the upgrade program from those old operating systems. 

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    Re: Microsoft Ending Windows Activations Using Windows 7 and 8 Keys 2023/10/01 02:59:08 (permalink)
    At least it's pretty easy to find a cheap copy of Windows 11 from legitimate sources if someone needs to upgrade. Then again if you have a Windows 7 or 8 machine it's likely that you would just be building a new system or buying a new one prebuilt.

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