How Does Microsoft ID Motherboard for Windows 10 Upgrade

Zack Hehmann

Member
Feb 6, 2016
66
5
8
Hello all,

I had a motherboard fail on me. I had done a Windows 10 free upgrade with it. I'm curious what ID Microsoft is using to identify the motherboard. I ended up making a post on reddit. I thought you guys might be more knowledgeable.

Here is my post -

I ended up buying a replacement board off of eBay that is the exact same model and board revision. I installed everything an it boots just fine, so I'm guessing it was the motherboard.

Unfortunately I have Windows 10 Pro installed through the free upgrade and the board I bought has Windows 10 Home associated with it. Does any one know what ID Microsoft is looking at to detect motherboards when they determine what licenses are associated with it? Also where is that ID stored/located on the motherboard? I suspect it's on the BIOS chip. Since the BIOS chips are DIP chips and not soldered on, I could easily swap them.

I think another issue is that I don't sign into windows with a Microsoft Account. Supposedly you can link your Windows 10 upgrades to your Microsoft Account. I might have at one point linked the PC with a Microsoft Account, but I'm not sure.

I know I can contact Microsoft, but that seems easy and I'm curious to understand how they are doing it.

Note these aren't OEM boards with the SLIC key I'm referring to.

Link to the reddit post.

Thanks for your time
 

maes

Member
Nov 11, 2018
64
30
18
I had done a Windows 10 free upgrade with it.
You likely had Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 with a valid license key beforehand, right?

The free upgrade mechanism still works fine, so if you're going to reinstall the OS anyway you might start with the most barebone Win-pre-10 install with the valid key you had for that version then do the full upgrade to Win10 Pro?
 

turgin

Member
May 16, 2016
52
7
8
47
Don’t even have to install the previous version first. You can still activate windows 10 with the old key.
 

Zack Hehmann

Member
Feb 6, 2016
66
5
8
Thanks for the suggestions. Turns out that when I swapped the BIOS chips, the ID that Microsoft uses to identify board was in the BIOS chip and activated Win 10 Pro automatically. I don't know if anyone on the internet discovered it already, but when I searched google for it, I wasn't able to find any results with that info. I may make a post in a few other places about it since I think it's neat and useful information.

Did anyone else know that is how Microsoft identifies motherboards for Windows activation?