Microsoft offers Windows 10 licenses in many channels governed by different rules, but for most users, you can only acquire a license through the Retail or Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) channel.
An OEM license refers to the license that a manufacturer installs on new devices. If this is your case, the product key isn't transferable, and you can't use it to activate another installation. (Unless you're re-activating a new installation on the same computer.)
A Retail license refers to the license that you acquire when purchasing a copy of Windows 10 from your local store or an online retailer (such as from Microsoft or Amazon). If you have a Windows 10 Retail license, you can transfer the product key to another computer, as long as you deactivate the old device.
A Volume license is designed for a large business, education, and government scenario. Usually, a Volume license allows organizations to use one master product key to activate any installation of Windows 10. Although you can use this license multiple times on different computers, you can't transfer it with the device when the system changes ownership, and you're not allowed to activate devices that aren't part of the organization.
If you're thinking of reusing the same product key on another computer, or you're just wondering the type of license installed on your device, you can use the Windows Server License Manager Script (slmgr) command tool to find out.
In this Windows 10 guide, we detail the steps required to find out if the license installed on your device is OEM, Retail, or Volume.
How to check product key type installed on Windows 10
To find out whether your Windows 10 license is OEM, Retail, or Volume, use these steps:
- Open Start.
- Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
Type the following command to determine the license type and press Enter:
Quick tip: You can also use the same command syntax in PowerShell.
- Confirm the license type with the information available in the Windows Script Host dialog.
Once you complete these steps, you'll know the type of product key that you're using on Windows 10, which will also determine if you can transfer the license to another computer.
More Windows 10 resources
For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:
- Windows 10 on Windows Central – All you need to know
- Windows 10 help, tips, and tricks
- Windows 10 forums on Windows Central
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