How can I move Windows 10 to a new machine? (I upgraded from Windows 7 retail boxed licence)

I have a boxed retail copy of Windows 7. The retail license allows me to use it on one computer at a time but I can also wipe a computer and install it on another as long as its only ever used on 1 at a time. I paid the extra for a retail copy rather than an OEM copy which is locked to one PC.

I was told before I upgraded by Microsoft support that a Windows 7 retail copy would upgrade to a Windows 10 retail copy. (i.e a copy with the ability to move from machine to machine)

However, I have just upgraded my PC. I then contacted Microsoft Support. I asked them how I can get the Windows 10 licence key for my new copy for when I move to a new machine. They seem to have changed their mind and basically said I can't and that the copy is locked to the current machine (although the answers were very vague). That is not how a retail licence works. They never warned of the upgrade being locked to one PC like an OEM licence.

I will only be using this machine for 7 more days before I wipe and move to a new machine. I asked if I could install the Windows 7 on the new machine and upgrade again using the USB stick I made via the Microsoft Windows 10 installer tool. The support operator said "I can not guarantee it, you may have activation issues." He said I can buy a new copy of Windows 10 for the machine.

Can anyone help? Will I be able to activate Windows 10 by installing Windows 7 and upgrading on my new machine?

I really don't want to be forced to buy a retail copy of Windows 10 when I was told I would get one free.


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
The activation resource for Windows 10 has changed from earlier versions. Once you upgrade a system, the information is matched to that configuration, much like an OEM license. In some manner, it is tied to the configuration the upgrade was done on. This is why you can do a clean install without needing a License key after the initial setup.

If you want to move the OS, you probably first have to move Windows 7 and then go through the process again for that configuration. I would assume the move would invalidate the Windows 10 information for the first system.

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