This week's release of the latest Windows 10 Insider build, 10565, brought plenty of great improvements to the OS. However, one of the more interesting changes that Microsoft slipped in deals with making activation much easier for those doing a clean install of Windows 10 on a machine that previously ran Windows 7, 8, or 8.1. Here are the details from the changelog:
Up until now, those taking advantage of the free upgrade offer couldn't initially do a clean install because the free copy didn't include its own product key. This latest change essentially means that, when you upgrade a machine currently running Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 with a clean install of Windows 10, you'll be able to use your previous Windows 7 or 8 product key to activate the OS.
It looks like Microsoft is using some hardware ID magic on the backend to make this happen, matching the hardware setup of your older Windows activation, and subsequently its product key — to confirm that your Windows 10 install is valid. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley has even tested this out and confirmed that it indeed works as advertised. However, keep in mind that this is only live for the current Insider preview, and won't be live for all users until the update sees a wide release.
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