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To make a long story short, my friend gave me his old gaming computer and told me that it needed a hard drive so my friend and I moved over the one from the PC I was using which was running on Windows 10.

When I got my PC, it was running on 8.1, it was activated and I was able to upgrade with no problems. However, when I moved my hard drive over to this PC I began to see the little "Activate Windows" watermark in the bottom right corner of my screen so I gave my friend a poke and asked about it. "Windows is installed on your hard drive yes, but your serial key is on your motherboard is my theory is correct. So basically just re-enter the serial key you got with your other PC and all should be fine."

So, I did exactly that. It worked for a couple days, but now I have the watermark again and I don't know why? It's also not taking that serial key anymore? If anyone could help me out with this, I would greatly appreciate it!

Friend gave me PC. Moved hard drive over from my old PC. Re-entered my serial key to remove the "activate windows" watermark in the corner. It worked for a couple days but now it's not taking that serial key plus the watermark is back and I don't know why.
Hi and welcome to the forum:up:

It appears you transferred an upgraded W10 license (from 8.1) from your old PC over to the new Gaming PC your friend gave to you. The original 8.1 license on that W10(W8.1) hard drive in your old PC is tied to the Motherboard in that PC and will not work in the new computer.:noway: That's a direct violation of the Microsoft Windows licensing agreement and that's why putting the key on the new PC into the Windows Activation applet (GWA) continues to fail and pop back up on you.:waah:

To get permanent Activation on the new PC with the old hard drive, you'd have to purchase a new Windows license key for the new PC/Motherboard using the old PCs hard drive. This is one way to get there and most likely for the Activation to work. :up: This would generally cost about $80 or so for the new license key online. You could choose to buy a retail W8.1 license key and then re-run the W10 upgrade, but since it's after the July 29th free W10 deadline, you'd have to pay for a 2nd retail license key to get the W10 upgrade. :down: I'd recommend skipping buying the 8.1 license, and just purchase the W10 retail license and do a Clean Install since that's your goal apparently to wind up on W10 ultimately anyway. :bighug:

Hope that answers your question.

Best of luck to you,:encouragement: