Question about Linux/Windows OS

Hi there,
So I bought the DIY laptop build, and purchased the Windows 10 pro license in my package. I wanted a base install of linux so I could run windows in a hypervisor. I don’t know where to get the ISO of win10pro, nor was given any product key; yet I did pay for it. I think I can figure out where to get windows, but have no clue where to find my product key. Anyone else having this issue?

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As a follow up, the laptop works fine with Linux, but didn’t have an OS when it arrived. Was told to download windows in my order form with no links. Since I’m not able to use cmd/powershell to find the product key (obviously), the other threads with this topic are not useful unfortunately.

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Hey @Michael_Pesta!

Congrats on the new laptop! As you did purchase the DIY edition, it’s normal for it not to arrive with an OS pre-installed.

You can find your product key within your account page under “Digital Purchases” once the order has been fulfilled.

You can find the key directly via this link after logging in:

Good luck!


Just as an additional note, how to get the Windows OS from Microsoft is part of the Framework DIY getting started instructions.

Follow all the steps carefully, including how to create a USB drive for windows install ( #13)

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Are the keys retail, or are the keys OEM?

I will not waste a key on a virtual machine. To install a windows 10 pro on the virtual machine I think you will need to provide a key, but even if then the windows might try to go online and activate (when finding that the key is used/invalid). It’s quite an annoyance. If you have a physical oem disk (or an iso of a physical oem disk), you can install any version you want (but don’t need to activate it online. the watermark is there but that’s it). But the downloaded and burnt iso have slightly different files so you have to activate it online.

Windows use the motherboard identifier to differentiate between machines. if you run it in a virtual machine, then the identifier will be that of the virtual machine and not that of the hardware. You do not want to waste the key on a virtual machine.

What you can do, however, is install Windows 10 Home on the virtual machine (since Pro does not come with significant differences other than adding remote desktop and Hyper-V, something you won’t need when you run it inside a virtual machine). You can keep the code and use it on another device, or the same framework later on when you want to install windows 10 pro natively.

The Retail version allow you to transfer the license between devices and thus is much more expensive. Whereas the OEM version is tied to a single motherboard and therefore is relatively inexpensive. But I will still not recommend doing it because license transfers seem to be finite and it’s a reasonable hassle.

If the Windows does not come in a purple retail packaging, it is OEM.

The DIY windows OS from Framework is Retail and can be moved to another computer as is the normal case for Retail version.

Online purchase of Retail Microsoft OS is downloaded from Microsoft website & has no packaging … With the key supplied by whoever you are buying the key from (Framework in this case)

The pre-built Framework is OEM, pre-loaded. It cannot be used for another computer… per Microsoft


Wonderful. This partially justifies the cost but also partially justifies the “DIY edition”.

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I ordered (and received) an OS-less DIY machine. I now see that I should put Windows on it before Ubuntu. Is it too late to buy a license key from Framework directly now? If so, can I just download the ISO file from Microsoft directly and copy it to a USB drive from a MAC? I ask because the F/W windows install guide implies that this route is fraught with issues. I do not want to have to buy a windows machine just to install windows on my new F/W laptop…

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Hey there,

Sorry for the delayed response, I had work & holiday related things blocking out my schedule.
I appreciate all the responses, and have a successful OS install.

Here’s what I learned along the process for other’s that may come across this issue in the future:
#1- I’m running Artix (an arch derivative) as my base OS. I needed a type 2 hypervisor for my work and skill level. It took a few updates but was otherwise smooth.
#2- In the attempt to get Windows, my searches initially didn’t find all the info I needed. I’m sorry if it was covered elsewhere, but here we are. Hopefully there’s enough key words to help other search queries for other members of the community.
#3- Y’all really respond quickly, This is great TBH.
#4- OK: So after I installed VirtualBox (chosen for its mass popularity) I got an install of Linux Mint running to test. All golden. Then I installed Garuda, which is my OS of choice to contain bloated software (games, media editing, all sorts of crap) in case I screw up an update and break something. I don’t like to keep personal info so close to bare metal, I’m just weird like that. Both of these worked fine out of the box. If you are unsure of an OS at this point I’d recommend Garuda, it feels as the kids say “cozy” and a close alternative to classic windows or mac if you want a linux system on easy mode. Just my two cents on the matter.
#5- Windows and I have a toxic relationship. Always have (except XP, don’t know why). Anyways, after finding the product key and saving it in my diary, I downloaded the OS just fine. Then I attempted to run a basic install on VirtualBox. Failure. Re-did the process as carefully as possible, following instructions on my phone so the laptop only had that single task to do. Again a failure. I then attempted to flash the OS to a thumb drive. It didn’t play nicely and corrupted at 85%. A few days later I tried another basic VirtualBox install with the same downloaded ISO. This time it worked posted. As soon as it did I cut the wifi. I was nervous at this point. After an off-line install it ran just fine. Turning the wifi back on I downloaded firefox as a test. All golden. At this point I’m running a clone (for just in case I break it) and everything is working exactly as it should.
#6- Windows and me have a rocky relationship. I need it to run some software for my job, otherwise I’d skip it. Still no idea why it hates me so.
#7- Windows runs fine at the setting I allocated in VirtualBox, not full specs but higher than half my ram/etc. It wanted to open in a small display until I configured it for max default display settings. That still isn’t the whole screen, but that’s fine for me personally. I also ran a few scripts to debloat and slim down Windows10, none of which broke it.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I deeply thank everyone who messaged me in this process. The advice and guides were helpful. I hope I’m the only one who has this issue, I don’t want other to suffer like me. If this nightmare does happen to you dear friend, just re try until it works. I’m not one to dual boot, so I have no advice for that process. I would recommend to have a base install then clone a copy to use on the daily. You don’t want something weird to happen and have a bricked system after all.

Thanks So much,

As a clarification here are some things of note in no particular order:

*Once windows did recognize how to post and install, there was no issue with sound or display or keyboard or touch pad or headphone jack
*I ordered the DIY version because I wanted FrameWork the company to know I chose them on purpose because of the right to repair. It was a “vote with your dollar” kind of choice.
*I’ve got the usb-c, usb-a, hdmi, & 1Tb modules. I might get more or make some just for the fun of it.
*I choose the i7 1185g7 cpu, the 32Gb (2x16) RAM, 2Tb ssd, and the pro wifi module. This was because i like my laptops to run ffor over five years with little to no maintenance. I have a desktop that has better specs & I’m just more comfortable tinkering around in larger spaces. That has to change for my work (got hired by a friend in a robot company, I hope he doesn’t go bankrupt)
*the laptop’s fan seems to keep the system cool. It might come on a tad late, and is defiantly noticeable. I usually have music in my headphones, so it doesn’t bother me.
*my windows system had no problem being cloned. Is that because its the 10 pro license? I dont know. I had to get that version for work, so its a whatever to me personally.
*the laptop is light, has a nice sturdy feel, screen open/close doesn’t feel flimsy, im ok with the keyboard action, and generally like it
*seems great for a college student IMHO
*the picture aspect ratio is super for documents, but a bit odd for some downloaded backgrounds. just adjust as needed.

I’m not sure I’m going to be the most active person in the community, hence my extended responses now. Overall I’m highly satisfied with the purchase, 9/10 would buy again. There’s not OEM Ethernet port, which may be a fun project to 3-D print and practice my soldering skills. That has been the only hardware downside I’ve come across. If that’s already a thing I just missed it, I’m not perfect after all.
I have heard there’s an issue with taking out the motherboard and using it in other projects without the original battery. That just may be a rumor, but it’s a thing nonetheless.

you should get them from Microsoft, since they offer the software (Windows 10)
Theree are also many more version to choose from. Home, Pro, Education, S, Enterprise, etc …

Not using activated Windows is totally allowed, too.
You can get pretty close to activated functionality out the gate, and everything else can be changed in regedit or gpedit.msc
Activation shouldn’t effect your build, though, especially if it’s Pro or above

there are some locks microsoft put if you don’t have it “activated” (mostly customization and stuff) but other than that, most things will function pretty normally. In fact, most things (e.g., task engine) work completely normally and your performance is not affected (beside the whatever that is used to draw that watermark)

If you want a copy of windows to use in VMs (and not strictly windows 10) to test stuff, I will recommend windows 7 because it have a similar kernel while the installer is completely offline, which means activation codes work multiple times. It is also more lightweight, which is good for vms.

However, if you want to daily drive the framework laptop, get a windows 10 vm. but perhaps more worthwhile is to swap between two physical drives for true dual-boot (framework!)

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I used to work with a lot of Windows/VM setups. My experience is that a lot of VMs underspec their Windows VMs in their default configuration. I know that Parallels on the Mac was giving Windows one processor core and, due to some weird timing issues, it would screw up constantly, either freezing, or running like a passed out turtle on a sled gliding through the Canadian Rockies.

Make sure at least two virtual processors are setup (or make it four), and give Windows at least 4GB RAM. I also find that it behaves better in EFI mode. You can tune it from there.


Yeah, I’ve allocated four cores and about 18GB of ram. I haven’t played around with the settings yet to let it know it can access a larger resolution. I run a modeling software that’s designed to max out system usage when rendering; it tops out the CPU but can’t eat up all the ram. There’s also been no delay in the audio/video editing suite testing, this laptop can handle it just fine. The windows specific software I have for work isn’t resource heavy, so that’s just dandy for me.
All and all I just needed to play around with the system some, and it all turned out as good or better than expected. It was never ment to be an out of the box and go setup.


You need at minimum 4GB to do anything in windows. It’s quite a hefty system, compared to, say, linux.
processor is less of a problem. I used to run single core and 4GB, which is sufficient.

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