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How to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Pro for free


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#1 OFFLINE   Corrine

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 04:00 PM

I had no idea this was possible.  Someone I know saw Ed Bott's article and told me he tried it and it definitely works.

How to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Pro for free | ZDNet

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You've got a new PC running Windows 10 Home. You want to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. Here's how to get that upgrade for free. All you need is a Pro/Ultimate product key from an older version of Windows.

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#2 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 11:39 AM

I saw a previous version of Ed's article a couple years ago. I am surprised Microsoft has allowed this to remain possible.

To me, it falls under that category of being technically possible, but is it the right thing to do?
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#3 OFFLINE   Pete!

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 01:08 PM

You're taking a license for a Win 7 or 8.x version that they (aggressively) encouraged you to update to Win 10, and doing what they wanted. I suspect that they made this possible deliberately.

#4 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 01:17 PM

As the subject says, it is to upgrade from Windows 10 (Home) to Windows 10 (Pro). Not 7 or 8 to 10.
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#5 OFFLINE   Pete!

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 01:29 PM

The license is for 7 or 8. You could use it in another computer.
You could update the other computer (or not), and they'd have 2 computers to support.
By doing this, you're combining two licenses into one computer.
That's a "win" for MS. If it's what you wanted, it's "win-win".

When you read the article, note the words....

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.... Microsoft first made this option available in Windows 10 version 1511. Since then, they have simplified the process dramatically....
That makes me think they did it deliberately.

Edited by Pete!, 30 May 2018 - 01:31 PM.


#6 OFFLINE   Corrine

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 01:46 PM

No idea whether it was deliberate or not.  There has been a lot of changes since the initial release.
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#7 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 02:50 PM

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The license is for 7 or 8.
Right. But the point of the article is using that 7 or 8 "Pro" key and that undocumented trick (bug?) to upgrade the less expensive W10 "Home" to the more expensive W10 "Pro".

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That's a "win" for MS.
How is it a win when otherwise, the user would have to pay for the upgrade. Microsoft is losing money on this.

Note when install W10 now, you get all versions installed and only the level for the license you have gets activated. You can upgrade from within your own license, but you have to buy the more expensive version. Microsoft loses money with that trick. I don't see how it is a win for MS.
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#8 OFFLINE   Pete!

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 03:10 PM

I really don't understand why you think MS would care which computer you put "pro" on.

I'd hate to see someone denied assistance at a "help forum" because someone thinks that the license (that he paid for) has been pirated, simply because he used it on a computer that once had a "home" license.

It doesn't apply to me, so I don't really care enough to keep arguing.

#9 OFFLINE   Corrine

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 07:16 PM

Bill, consider what Microsoft lost by providing free upgrades to Windows 10.  Microsoft could have provided the upgrades at a reduced price and no doubt would have gotten a lot of takers.  Or course, I suspect you likely agree that the object was to move as many as possible to Windows 10, thus reducing the number of operating systems they are providing updates for.

Pete, if the Windows 7 or 8 Pro license isn't valid, it wouldn't be activated on Windows 10 so there should be no issues with someone getting assistance on a help forum.  There are things that jump out at us that result in our questioning validity but that wouldn't happen with an upgrade to Pro as described in Ed's article.
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#10 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 08:22 AM

Pete! said:

I really don't understand why you think MS would care which computer you put "pro" on.
Because they are not a non-profit. And again, this trick is for users who are already using Windows 10.

Corrine said:

Bill, consider what Microsoft lost by providing free upgrades to Windows 10. Microsoft could have provided the upgrades at a reduced price and no doubt would have gotten a lot of takers.  Or course, I suspect you likely agree that the object was to move as many as possible to Windows 10, thus reducing the number of operating systems they are providing updates for.
Right, but there is a big distinction between that free, HUGELY publicized "offer" by Microsoft themselves, and this "hidden trick" that does not seem to appear on any Microsoft website.

That upgrade "offer" directly from Microsoft was to get people off Windows 7 and Windows 8 and on to Windows 10. So, as you noted, Microsoft could concentrate all their resources on one OS, instead of spending $millions every year supporting two superseded operating systems - with $0.00 in return on that huge investment! That is not a win for Microsoft.

Windows 10 Home "Retail" licenses on Newegg are currently $120 for the "boxed" (USB flash drive) versions. The Pro license is $200. How is losing $80 good for any company when there will be $0.00 returns on that loss? In talking OEM licenses, there is about a $50 difference between the Home and Pro license.

It is not like anti-malware programs where they make up for give-aways and special offers with recurring subscription/renewal fees. Or printer companies where they make up for it in recurring and expensive ink sales. That's just $80 (or $50) that is gone forever!

How is it fair to all those users (including me) who spent extra for the Pro versions?

If this was something Microsoft intended, why not just automatically give everyone the Pro version? That would be one less version to support! Or at least publish this as an "offer" on an official MS website?

Now in the case of factory made computers with Windows 10 pre-installed, IF the OEM computer maker paid Microsoft the same "Home" price amount for every license, regardless if Home or Pro, and Microsoft gets no additional compensation if the Pro version is activated instead of the Home, then I can see where Microsoft would not care about this trick. But we don't know that is happening. It sure didn't in the past for my business for our builds. Pro licenses always cost more.

If Dell/HP/Acer pay $X for Home and $X + $more for Pro, then this trick is taking profits from the computer makers. How is that fair to them? Or to their customers who paid more for Pro at purchase?

As a consumer, I am all for getting something for nothing. But that does not automatically make it right.

I don't see this "trick" as an "offer", but a "take".
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#11 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 09:53 AM

I agree with Bill on this one. I have one (business desktop) machine that had Windows 7 Pro and that one upgraded to Windows 10 Pro. My laptop had Windows 8.1 Home and it's now Windows 10 Home. I didn't try to get a Windows 10 Pro version for the laptop. This seems like a loophole, but there seems to be a few in the upgrades recently.
If your old version of Windows Pro was OEM you should not be using it on a different computer anyway. It might be more of a gray area if your old version of Windows Pro was the retail release.
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#12 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 11:11 AM

Loophole - that's the word I guess fits best.

It seems to me, if this was something Microsoft intended, why not publicize it and make a big ta-do about it? Do something that earns them good publicity, instead of the constant bashings they normally get?
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#13 OFFLINE   goretsky

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 04:36 AM

Hello,

A couple of thoughts on this:

1.  Microsoft does not generate any revenue from re-installations of Windows 7/8/8.1, nor are the numbers of computers still running those operating systems of any benefit when talking to stock analysts, institutional investors, and so forth.  Allowing people to use their older product ID keys to install Windows 10 allows Microsoft to include those systems in its metrics about Windows 10 adoption, which is of benefit to Microsoft when talking to those analysts and investors.

2.  Microsoft has been working for a while towards its "Windows as a Service" model, with Windows 10 as the culmination of that on the operating system side of things.  While the revenue there may be dropping, Windows 10 is intertwined with value-added services such as OneDrive and Office 365, and those have subscription models, too, that are going to generate additional revenue for the company.

So, Microsoft may be willing to take some (very) short-term losses in exchange for some long-term gains.

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#14 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 07:28 AM

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Allowing people to use their older product ID keys to install Windows 10 allows Microsoft to include those systems in its metrics about Windows 10 adoption, which is of benefit to Microsoft when talking to those analysts and investors.
Except again, that trick above is about upgrading from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro. So those people have already installed W10, and the metrics are already indicating W10.

The trick is NOT about upgrading from W7/8 to W10.

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2.  Microsoft has been working for a while towards its "Windows as a Service" model, with Windows 10 as the culmination of that on the operating system side of things.  While the revenue there may be dropping, Windows 10 is intertwined with value-added services such as OneDrive and Office 365, and those have subscription models, too, that are going to generate additional revenue for the company.
I cannot accept that because your first premise isn't true as again, it is NOT about adopting W10. Those users already have migrated to W10.

And Office 365 works fine with Windows 7 and Windows8.x. And of course, regular office, including Office 2016 is still popular with Office 2019 set to be released within the next 6 months. OneDrive is not bound to Windows 10 either.

I would agree with everything you said if the purpose of that trick was to move people away from W7/W8. But it is not.
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#15 OFFLINE   Pete!

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 09:28 AM

I guess letting someone else have the last word didn't stop what appeared to be developing into a contentious argument.
So... I'll break down and make one more post.

This is NOT a "new trick". The instructions were posted on a Microsoft.com help page in August 2017.
If MS didn't want it to be used, they would have plugged the hole by now, or (at least) deleted the instructions.

https://answers.micr...a7-506039c9107b

#16 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 10:34 AM

Well, I don't see anything wrong with what was suggested in the link above. A person had an unused standalone Windows Pro key and wanted to install it on a machine that had Windows 10 Home. One would assume they had paid for both versions of the O/S so Microsoft did collect the appropriate licensing fees. If the "unused" key was from another OEM machine then that is a different kettle of fish.
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#17 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 12:13 PM

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One would assume they had paid for both versions of the O/S so Microsoft did collect the appropriate licensing fees.
Ummm, sorry but no, that is not how it works. It works more like a graphics or printer driver "package" that contain the drivers for almost all the company's products but during installation, only those portions that apply to your specific product get "activated". Or it is like installing Malwarebytes - you get the full package but the full program is only "activated" when you pay for the "Premium" version and enter your "key". Without the proper key, you only get the "free" version (at least after the free trial period expires).

When you buy, download and/or install Windows 10, you get the full "package" and install pretty much all versions - but only the version you paid for gets activated when you enter the appropriate key. So in this example, you pay for the less expensive "Home" version of Windows 10. Microsoft is NOT collecting the appropriate licensing fees. If you want to upgrade to the more advanced and more expensive version, the normal process is you pay for the upgrade then when the appropriate licensing key is entered, you then "unlock" those added features.

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This is NOT a "new trick".
I never said it was. In fact, I said way up in post #2 I saw it from a couple years ago. And for the record, as a Microsoft MVP, and as a moderator on other sites, we are not official spokes persons for Microsoft, or their community forums.

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I guess letting someone else have the last word didn't stop what appeared to be developing into a contentious argument.
Contentious? :( No. But certainly frustrating. The title of the article clearly states, my bold underline added: "How to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Pro." Nothing there about from W7 or W8. The subtitle clearly states from the beginning, "You've got a new PC running Windows 10 Home." Again, nothing about W7 or W8. In fact, nothing in the articles says anything about upgrading from W7 to W8 yet somehow, that was repeatedly read into it.
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#18 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 09:59 PM

If:
  • You have a new PC with Windows 10 Home installed.

  • You have an unused retail Windows 7/8 Pro box.
Why could you not install Windows 10 Pro after getting the upgraded version based on your retail 7/8? You paid for that version to install it somewhere. Microsoft will allow you to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro will they not? You're not upgrading the OEM version from Home to Pro. You are installing a different O/S that you paid for and did not use previously. I don't see this as any different in principle from blowing off the OEM Windows and installing Linux.
I know we got into upgrades from Windows 7/8, not just upgrading from Windows 10 Home OEM to Windows 10 Pro but that's what the link above was all about - an upgrade from an unused Windows 7/8 Product Key.

Edited by raymac46, 01 June 2018 - 10:10 PM.

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#19 OFFLINE   Digerati

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 10:22 PM

If you bought a 2018 Honda Civic, do you think you deserve a "free" upgrade to the more expensive, fancier 2018 Honda Accord just because you used to have a 2015 Accord?

How is this any different? Its not.

The free upgrade from 7/8.1 to 10 program lasted a whole year - but ended almost 2 years ago. And it only allowed you to upgrade from 7/8 Home to 10 Home, or 7/8 Pro to 10 Pro. It never allowed you to upgrade from 7/8 Home to 10 Pro.

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I don't see this as any different in principle from blowing off the OEM Windows and installing Linux.
It is totally different. Windows 10 Home OEM costs $100. Windows 10 Pro OEM costs $150. Linux is free.

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You're not upgrading the OEM version from Home to Pro.
That is exactly what that article is doing.

If your scenario was valid, why can't you justify upgrading from W10 Home to W10 Pro just because you have an old, unused copy of XP Pro? How is that different?

Edited by Digerati, 01 June 2018 - 10:23 PM.

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#20 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 06:15 AM

Well OK then if you cannot now upgrade an old unused version of Windows 8 Pro to Windows 10 Pro the whole exercise is moot. I have nothing more to add.

This article makes it clear that you need to buy a new license. End of story. The link above is outdated.

https://www.pcworld....ed-to-know.html

Edited by raymac46, 02 June 2018 - 06:23 AM.

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