Activating Windows 10 After A Clean Install

A number of PC users who have upgraded from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 now want to perform a clean install of Windows 10 but not sure how to activate Windows 10 after doing a clean install.

As promised a few months ago, Microsoft is allowing users perform clean install of Windows 10 after upgrading from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. To help users safely download the right edition of Windows 10, Microsoft has also released Windows 10 Media Creation Tool but has not provided much information on activating Windows 10 after a clean install.

You can legally activate Windows 10 without a product key!

According to this page of Microsoft, if you upgraded your current PC from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 using the free upgrade offer and successfully activated your Windows 10, you don’t need a product key to perform a clean install of the same edition of Windows 10 on the same PC.

Know why your Windows 10 was not activated (1)

That is, you don’t need a product key to clean install Windows 10 on your current PC as long as you have upgraded from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 and successfully activated the same before performing a clean install of the same edition of Windows 10.

For example, if you have upgraded your Lenovo computer from Windows 7 Ultimate edition to Windows 10 Pro (Ultimate edition users are automatically upgraded to Windows 10 Pro as part of the free upgrade) and successfully activated it, you can perform a clean install of Windows 10 Pro on the same Lenovo machine by wiping the hard drive, and you won’t need a product key to activate it.

Clean installing and activating Windows 10

Here are steps you need to follow while clean installing Windows 10:

Step 1: Download Windows 10 ISO from Microsoft. Be sure to download the right edition.

Step 2: Prepare bootable USB of Windows 10 or prepare bootable DVD of Windows 10, and boot from the bootable media by making appropriate changes to the BIOS/UEFI.

Step 3: While installing Windows 10, you will see the following screen, where you are asked to enter the Windows 10 product key. Since you don’t have a product key of Windows 10, follow the instructions in the next step.

Activate Windows 10 after clean install

Step 4: Since you’re clean installing Windows 10 after successfully upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you should leave the product key box blank, and click the Skip button instead to proceed further.

Step 5: Complete the installation. That’s it! Your Windows 10 will activate online automatically once you connect your PC to the internet.

But if you’re still getting any activation errors, don’t hesitate to chat with Microsoft support or request a call back from Microsoft support.

Note that above mentioned method is provided by Microsoft, and is not a workaround to illegally activate Windows 10.



  1. Bonzo says

    Upgraded W7Pro64 to the “Insider Preview” of W10Pro64 and upon the final release of W10 my desktop was still broadcasting I was running the Technical Preview and the system was sluggish to say the least. Voila…perform a clean install of W10Pro64! I downloaded the correct W10 ISO and made a bootable DVD and performed the install, however, I used Belarc, an application that will show you all the installed software on a PC including the applications product key that activated the software, therefore, when I came to the Windows 10 activation screen I figured I would be safe by entering the product key extrapolated from the OS – WRONG! Windows 10 wouldn’t take the product key that was previously acceptable in activating the OS and now whenever I click to activate, Windows 10 bitches about this product key being WRONG!
    I guess I’ll go 3 days and see what happens…I’m gonna be FUCKIN’ PISSED if I have to perform the fuckin’ install all over again as this was a brand new SSD and from what I’m reading on SSD’s, the less read/writes to the drive, the longer the MTBF, who knows? I guess I’ll find out!

    IMO; Microsoft really fucked the dog on W10 – First off, they should have just put the Windows 7 Start button and menu in Windows 10 and we’d be good to go. The Windows 10 Start button/menu is a fuckin’ JOKE! Lose the “TILES” or at least make it a configurable option when in “Desktop” mode! Didn’t Microsoft understand with Windows 8 that the tiles are a fuckin’ joke?
    Secondly, alphabetizing the applications on the Start menu is ridiculous to say the least! We’re not kindergarteners and we know our alphabet, so WHY the need to actually list A, B, C, D…on the Start menu with the corresponding applications underneath? How fuckin’ condescending and belittling!
    And third, Microsoft Edge is pitiful and I’ll leave it at that!

  2. Marke B says

    I am installing Win10 32bit into the Insiders working copy of Win10 32bit. I think I forgot how to partition and format drives, oh how my school instructor would love this one. I think I screwed up by not backing up my drivers. I had to format and repartition several times, now when I get to next screen, its asking for drivers and hell i don’t know where there at? Help I’m stuck!!

    Thanks, Marke

  3. Bruce Grady says

    Worse fucking deal.. Can’t use startup to get to programs control panel computer any FUCKING Thinghow to undo thiscrap??????

  4. igenc says

    “your Lenovo pc” … “same dell machine” is it typo error or i am reading correct


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