Probably not the best fourm to ask, what would happen if I dropped my old laptop’s (Win 10 OEM license) SSD into a Framework? I have upgraded the storage once and there was no request for me to input a key, I’m guessing it will recognize the motherboard/CPU swap and puke on me. Anyone with experience with this?
Figured as much. Thanks!
In theory, sure, but in practice I’ve had a good amount of luck calling Microsoft support, explaining what I want to do, and having them activate my copy of windows on the new machine. It would be one thing if you were hoping to still use that same license of Windows on both machines (which they would not be happy with), but if you’re really removing the hard drive form one machine and putting it in another, rendering the old machine inoperable, that’s usually a grey area where they’ll let you slide. One way you could explain it is that you’re not so much putting Windows on a new machine as you are replacing your motherboard on your old one. It’s true, even if it’s not the whole truth. Obv. your mileage may vary depending on who you get from Microsoft Support.
BTW the reason you’ve never had to put in an activation code is only partly due to it being an OEM copy. Nowadays I beleive Windows activation is tied, not to a long series of letters and numbers, but to a combination of the Microsoft account and hardware signature of an individual motherboard. You can transfer to a new motherboard, but you need to call Microsoft and get them to authorize it.
As of Windows 8, the product key on OEMs that include Windows is actually a part of the device’s firmware.
You can test it out! Take Windows 8+ device, insert any Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 media, and start the install. It won’t prompt for a product key because it’s reading it from the firmware.
Now use the same media on another computer - a build, or a VM. That same media will prompt for a product key because there is no key to read from the firmware.
If you did an upgrade from an activated copy of Windows 7, the computer will be assigned a digital license, so if you reinstall, then the case you describe - unique hardware-assigned keys, etc, will apply. In this case, you’ll be prompted to enter a key (since the firmware key doesn’t exist), but when it goes online it should automatically activate based on the hardware characteristics of the device.
If you want to explore viewing the product key yourself, you can try with certain tools like RWEverything. But be careful; such a tool can potentially make changes to the computer that may damage it.