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Can I Transfer Windows License to Another PC after upgrading to Windows 10

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Can I Transfer Windows License to Another PC after upgrading to Windows 10

Microsoft released the final version of Windows 10 last month and the company also mentioned that users who have a genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 License will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. This offer will only be available in the first year of release of Windows 10. Now, you might have upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 which was previously installed on your PC. A lot of users have been asking us whether they can transfer the Windows license to another PC after upgrading to Windows 10.

The answer to this question depends on what kind of license you have with Windows.


For understanding this, we will take two licenses

  1. OEM License
  2. Retail License

OEM license as the name indicates is tied to the machine you purchase from OEM and this is the OS you get when you buy a new PC. This means if you upgrade to Windows 10 from 8.1 or 7 OEM version, it will be tied to that PC and you will NOT be able to transfer it to another PC. However you can create recovery disk and install Windows 10 on the same computer multiple times. This means even if your PC gets corrupted, you can reinstall it by creating recovery disk. But this licence cannot be moved or transferred to another PC.

Second License is the Full retail License, which has the ability to run one or multiple PCs (based on the license) and can be transferred. So if your previous OS (Windows 7 or Windows 8.1) had a full retail license and you upgraded to Windows 10, then you can move to another PC using this licence. But in this case you cannot directly install Windows 10 on the new PC, but will have to install the original version of the license and then upgrade to Windows 10 before one year (July 29, 2016).

So how to transfer the old retail license from one PC to another?

  1. Remove the existing Windows 10 from your old PC. In case you upgraded from 7 or 8.1, it can no longer be installed on old PC since you are transferring it to new PC.
  2. Now, install Windows 8.1 or 7 (whichever retail license you had) on the new PC
  3. Activate this installation. For this you might need to call the Microsoft hotline to activate, and tell them that you are installing it on a new computer now and that the old computer no longer has it installed.
  4. Once this is activate, you can upgrade to Windows 10 on the new PC.

But if you are following the above process, you need to make sure you upgrade to 10 on the new PC before July 29th 2016 or else you will not qualify for free Windows 10 upgrade.

Now, if you have a new Windows 10 retail license, you can still transfer to new PC by just removing from the old PC and installing on new PC.

In short,

  • If you upgrade from a retail version, it carries the rights of a retail version- this means you can transfer to new PC
  • If you upgrade from a OEM version, it carries the rights of a OEM version- this is tied to the original PC and cannot be transferred.

If you still have any questions on this, you can post your queries in the comments section.

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Nirmal is a Technology Blogger and a Microsoft MVP in Windows. He can be contacted at You can find Nirmal on , and .



  1. Shri Venkat

    January 22, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    I have a doubt. Lets say i had Windows 10 retail version installed in a PC(Assembled). But the PC gets damaged or destroyed due to some reason(None of the parts are reusable). And now if i want to install windows 10 in a new PC i am building can i use the same key or do i have to purchase a new one?

  2. David Rimmer

    September 30, 2018 at 3:43 am

    “If you upgrade from a retail version, it carries the rights of a retail version- this means you can transfer to new PC”

    It doesn’t look like this is true. It seems like upgrading a retail version downgrades it to an OEM version. Otherwise it would be possible to transfer the upgrases licence to another pc.

    Surely this can’t be right. If it is, it’s a con.

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