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Linux is a viable option, but most prefer Windows because it runs all their favorite software, including the latest games. This is profoundly unfair to PC builders, because large OEMs such as Dell and Lenovo likely pay a tiny fraction of that to put Windows on prebuilt systems though these costs are not made public.

No matter how or whether you pay for it, you can download Windows 10 opens in new tab or download Windows 11 opens in new tab for free from Microsoft. And, in fact, you should only download it from Microsoft, as grabbing it from any other site or from a P2P network could give you malware.

Microsoft offers a free media creation tool, which grabs the latest code from the Internet and then burns itself to a USB Flash drive or outputs a Windows 10 or Windows 11 ISO file you can write to a drive yourself. Once that’s done, you can boot from your installation media and start the process. During installation, Microsoft asks you to enter a Windows 10 or 11 product key.

If you are still on Windows 7 or 8, you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free. If you have an old, retail non-OEM copy of Windows 7, 8 or 10 you are no longer using on another PC, you can likely use the product key when you do a fresh install of Windows on your new PC. If you need help finding the product key on your old computer, there are several ways to find it, but using Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder , a free download, is probably the easiest.

Note that if the product key comes from a prebuilt computer that came from the factory with Windows on it, it has an OEM key that may not work on a different new PC. Feel free to try it, though, because if it works you have Windows 10 or 11 for free. The good news is that you only have two serious disadvantages from not activating Windows 10 or However, if you are using a Microsoft account that syncs with another computer on which you have custom wallpaper, that wallpaper will appear on your unactivated Windows.

But come on; does anyone actually do that? Other than those inconveniences, unactivated Windows should work just fine and receive automatic updates too.

You can see if your school is eligible and download your free Windows 11 key here. These are all OEM keys and likely can’t be used on another computer after you activate them on the first one. Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. While we can’t vouch for all of them, websites selling cheap Windows 10 or 11 keys are likely offering legitimate codes.

Kinguin has more than three dozen merchants worldwide selling Windows keys. It’s just another marketplace. So we tried calling the number and waited on hold for a few minutes. We thought activating via phone would be an automated process where we just punched in the key and got an approval code, but instead we got a live representative who immediately asked for our Microsoft account ID.

However, both sites play host to a number of third-party sellers whose product keys may or may not be legit. The easiest but most expensive way to get Windows is to buy your key directly from Microsoft. You can get these either as downloads or on USB drives.

If you have an old Windows key you can carry over from a previous build, that’s your best option and effectively gives you Windows 10 or Windows 11 for free. If you don’t have a key on hand, you need to decide whether you’re comfortable using an unactivated version of Windows 10 or 11, which limits your customization options, has an ugly watermark and leaves you ineligible for Microsoft support.

Many would argue that downloading Windows without paying for or already owning a product key is ethically wrong. That said, Microsoft has made this process easier over various Windows iterations and lessened the limitations and nagging that happens when you don’t activate.

We’ve even seen well-known vendors and Microsoft partners do press presentations with watermarks on their desktop. Scharon Harding has a special affinity for gaming peripherals especially monitors , laptops and virtual reality.

Previously, she covered business technology, including hardware, software, cyber security, cloud and other IT happenings, at Channelnomics, with bylines at CRN UK. Tom’s Hardware Tom’s Hardware. Scharon Harding opens in new tab. Topics Software. See all comments I bought a key on ebay and it turned out to be a VL key volume. Which works but shouldn’t be sold. I contacted the seller and he refunded me. Very good breakdown of the ways to activate Windows Most people don’t even realize you can still use a windows 7 key to activate, only after you get into windows, and not during the setup process.

I believe this will probably stop working Jan 1, , when Microsoft stops support for windows 7. One thing that I was hoping for some explanation on key activations, I have seen how some Youtuber’s have tied their windows 10 keys to their Microsoft account.

Then they only need a handfull of keys, like one for each motherboard vendor, and during setup, then sign into their Microsoft account, and select the key that corresponds to the motherboard their are reviewing. So they can move the keys around, and as long as it was the same brand of motherboard it would activate for that computer, and no longer be active on the old system. Any thoughts on how this works? Any limitations on how many moves, is this method valid for years so you would never have to buy another key if you stayed with one particular favorite motherboard vendor?

On the forums, we see MANY tales of woe concerning aftermarket, 3rd-party, or otherwise dicey Windows keys. Of course, using an old version’s key essentially amounts to a free upgrade, which once upon a time was often provided by software vendors, so if you can use that method, great.

Any attempt to connect to www. Sorry, not getting my business. Thanks for this article. I’ve been struggling with the idea of buying another copy of Windows 10 for my media machine. It’s a PC built from old parts and is currently running Linux.

Has anyone had a good experience with this? Wait a sec TH is legitimizing kinquin? While they might activate today there is no guarantee they will activate a month from now or whenever you decide to reinstall windows from scratch.

This article is causing multiple conniptions among the Moderation team. There are very good reasons why, although tolerated from a couple of well-known sources like Kinguin, none of us ever encourage people to obtain keys this way. It isn’t illegal, so we don’t sanction for it, but like I said, the tales of woe are too numerous to go unnoticed.

At least the article makes no mention of “activators,” which in most cases do represent outright piracy, not to mention the viruses and malware with which they are often laden. Discussions of those are not allowed and are deleted, and sometimes offenders knuckles get rapped with a hammer.

Yes, doing this definitely constitutes a “Do at your own risk”. If money is tight, run Win 10 unlicensed, until you can a get known legit key from someone like Newegg. Microsoft allows this, so it is perfectly fine to so, and you don’t have to risk losing your hard earned cash.

Access to all personalization options; Microsoft support access; Equivalent to Windows 10 Enterprise; Free.

 
 

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

 

The promotion was only available for one year—presumably to accelerate Windows 10 adoption rates—and expired in July But even though Microsoft officially ended this program three years ago, it still has yet to completely shut everything down. The activation servers have been allowing Windows 7 and 8 keys on some Windows 10 installs.

The Windows 7 or Windows 8 product keys that commonly work for this method are the retail and OEM varieties. Only sporadic success has been reported for volume license keys i. If you have a Windows 7 or 8 Home license, that will only work for Windows 10 Home.

Windows 7 or 8 Pro only work for Windows 10 Pro. Need help getting it to work? Use our step-by-step guide. With Dynamic Provisioning you can take a new PC out of the box, turn it on, and transform it into a productive organization device, with minimal time and effort.

Windows Update for Business can help businesses reduce management costs, provide control over update deployments, enable more efficient delivery of updates, and provide access to the latest innovations from Microsoft. Configure a device in kiosk mode in a very simple way. You can do this locally on the device or remotely using Mobile Device Management. The shared logon works on PCs, tablets, and phones with minimal IT involvement. Edit photos and spice up presentations.

Windows 10 has the apps you need to get in touch with your creative side. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more—get everything you need to create and present your ideas with a Microsoft subscription. Scribble down a headline, draw a chart, add bullet points—design an entire presentation with a digital pen. And on new Windows 10 touchscreen computers, you can zoom, scroll, and sign documents with the touch of a finger. The new Photos app makes it fun and easy to enhance your digital memories.

Use Sticky Notes and type, ink, or add a picture to save ideas, thoughts, lists, appointments, and more—so you don’t miss a thing! Windows 10 has apps and features to help you have fun and get more done with less hassle. Scroll through time to find documents and websites. Log into your Windows devices three times faster by using your face or fingerprint. Windows 10 features are best experienced on a modern PC. Find out if your current PC is ready for Windows 10 by answering just a few questions.

Review this doc for more details on Device Encryption. This article has been completely rewritten to incorporate developments in recent feature updates to Windows 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. ZDNet Recommends. In recent versions of Windows 10, the upgrade from Home to Pro is quick and easy.

Enter a product key here and then follow the prompts. If your PC already has a Pro license, don’t enter a product key when reinstalling. Windows 10 Here’s how you can still get a free Windows 10 upgrade Is your Windows license legal? Should you even care? The top Windows laptops compared How to manage your security questions for a local Windows account.

Thankfully, the whole process is fairly simple to go through. We’ll guide you through every step:. Feel free to try it, though, because if it works you have Windows 10 or 11 for free. The good news is that you only have two serious disadvantages from not activating Windows 10 or However, if you are using a Microsoft account that syncs with another computer on which you have custom wallpaper, that wallpaper will appear on your unactivated Windows.

But come on; does anyone actually do that? Other than those inconveniences, unactivated Windows should work just fine and receive automatic updates too. You can see if your school is eligible and download your free Windows 11 key here.

These are all OEM keys and likely can’t be used on another computer after you activate them on the first one. Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. While we can’t vouch for all of them, websites selling cheap Windows 10 or 11 keys are likely offering legitimate codes. Kinguin has more than three dozen merchants worldwide selling Windows keys. It’s just another marketplace. So we tried calling the number and waited on hold for a few minutes.

We thought activating via phone would be an automated process where we just punched in the key and got an approval code, but instead we got a live representative who immediately asked for our Microsoft account ID.

 

How to get Windows cheap (or even for free) | PCWorld

 
Best Oculus Quest 2 Accessories. The shared logon works on PCs, tablets, and phones with minimal IT involvement. I contacted the seller and he refunded me.

 
 

How to buy just a Windows 10 home key? – Microsoft Community.How to Get Windows 11 or Windows 10 for Free (or Under $20) | Tom’s Hardware

 
 

Business Management and Deployment Built-in security, productivity, and management features save you time, money, and hassle. Business—Management and Deployment Feature Windows 10 Home Windows 10 Pro Mobile device management Windows 10 mobile device management MDM provides an alternative to traditional PC management processes: you can transition to cloud based management at your own pace.

Microsoft Store for Business Your one place to find, manage, and distribute apps to Windows 10 devices in volume. Assigned Access With Assigned Access, Windows 10 Pro devices run different applications depending on the user and keep individual identities separate and secured.

Dynamic Provisioning With Dynamic Provisioning you can take a new PC out of the box, turn it on, and transform it into a productive organization device, with minimal time and effort.

Windows Update for Business Windows Update for Business can help businesses reduce management costs, provide control over update deployments, enable more efficient delivery of updates, and provide access to the latest innovations from Microsoft. Kiosk mode setup Configure a device in kiosk mode in a very simple way. Go ahead, get creative Edit photos and spice up presentations. Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more—get everything you need to create and present your ideas with a Microsoft subscription.

Digital pen and touch Scribble down a headline, draw a chart, add bullet points—design an entire presentation with a digital pen. Photos The new Photos app makes it fun and easy to enhance your digital memories. Learn more. Quickly capture your thoughts, tasks, and reminders Use Sticky Notes and type, ink, or add a picture to save ideas, thoughts, lists, appointments, and more—so you don’t miss a thing! More efficiencies, less energy Windows 10 has apps and features to help you have fun and get more done with less hassle.

Timeline Scroll through time to find documents and websites. Voice, pen, and touch Interact with your Windows 10 computer in new ways. Windows Hello Log into your Windows devices three times faster by using your face or fingerprint. Gaming Windows 10 is built for the games you love. This is a digital purchase, and it will immediately cause your current Windows installation to become activated.

This option may not be available in all countries. The prices here are for the US version of the Windows Store. Microsoft charges different prices in different countries and currencies. Windows 7, 8, and 8. We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more. Windows ». What Is svchost. Best Ultrawide Monitors. Best Wi-Fi 6E Routers. Best Fitness Trackers. If your hardware doesn’t already have a Pro license, you’ll get an activation error and you’ll need to supply a proper product key or pay for an upgrade.

This article has been completely rewritten to incorporate developments in recent feature updates to Windows 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. ZDNet Recommends. In recent versions of Windows 10, the upgrade from Home to Pro is quick and easy. Enter a product key here and then follow the prompts. If your PC already has a Pro license, don’t enter a product key when reinstalling.

Windows 10 Here’s how you can still get a free Windows 10 upgrade Is your Windows license legal? Should you even care? If you have an old Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC lying around, you may still be able to reuse its key to activate Windows When Microsoft first launched Windows 10 back in , it offered Windows 7 and Windows 8 users a truly free, no-strings upgrade to the new operating system.

The promotion was only available for one year—presumably to accelerate Windows 10 adoption rates—and expired in July But even though Microsoft officially ended this program three years ago, it still has yet to completely shut everything down. The activation servers have been allowing Windows 7 and 8 keys on some Windows 10 installs. The Windows 7 or Windows 8 product keys that commonly work for this method are the retail and OEM varieties. Only sporadic success has been reported for volume license keys i.

If you have a Windows 7 or 8 Home license, that will only work for Windows 10 Home. Windows 7 or 8 Pro only work for Windows 10 Pro.

Thankfully, the folks at Keysbuff are running a massive sale on Windows 10 and Office licenses. Keysbuff has some fantastic deals you need to look into right now.

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