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Microsoft to honour $2 Windows 10 Pro key loophole sales

Microsoft to honour $2 Windows 10 Pro key loophole sales

Microsoft has told customers who took advantage of a flaw in the Windows Store system to buy Windows 10 Pro licences for just $2 that their purchases will be honoured.

Microsoft has told users that it will honour sales of Windows 10 licence keys which exploited a loophole in the Windows Store, allowing users to buy the operating system for just $2.

Details of a bug in the Windows Store system began to spread on forums and social media in late June, with users reporting that creating an ISO image from the Windows 10 preview installation file then leaving the product key section blank during installation could in some circumstances cause the Store to offer a licence for just $2. At the time, the ultra-low-cost licence appeared to work fine, but there were concerns that the licences would not be valid for the retail release of the software on the 29th of July.

Now, Chinese website ITHome has published a report, spotted and translated by Neowin, has reported that users are being told that they will be able to active their licences regardless of their expenditure - good news for those who were able to take advantage of the bug in the system.

Although some users have reported that their low-cost keys have not automatically activated, those who have contacted Microsoft have been told that their keys are entirely valid and should activate fine over the next 30 days - the grace period allowed users who have either entered an invalid key or no key at all during installation - as the strain on Microsoft's authentication systems relax.

23 Comments

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SchizoFrog 3rd August 2015, 12:15 Quote
'Details of a bug in the Windows Store system began to spread on forums and social media in late June'

It didn't spread in my neck of the woods as I didn't hear a single thing about it. Oh well. :(
Concrete-Coffin 3rd August 2015, 12:23 Quote
Why did i not see this
SexyHyde 3rd August 2015, 15:11 Quote
Didn't hear anything about this. Thanks Obama.
GTIgeneral 3rd August 2015, 21:55 Quote
Same here, would have thought i would have seen details about it somewhere.
IT Troll 4th August 2015, 10:16 Quote
How about honouring the free upgrades we were promised?

People with genuine Windows 7/8 retail keys are finding that a hardware change will deactivate Windows 10 and block their key. This even includes a simple BIOS upgrade.

Microsoft are saying that you have to buy a full Windows 10 licence to continue using. So retail licences are effectively being turned into OEM licences. But worse than that, OEM licences which are invalidated by a BIOS upgrade.
Corky42 4th August 2015, 10:50 Quote
Wouldn't it just be a case of reinstalling your original Windows 7/8 retail using the product key that came with them, and then upgrading to Windows 10 so that Microsoft's activation servers calculate a new hardware ID and re-link that new ID to the old product key?
IT Troll 4th August 2015, 11:00 Quote
Yes, pretty much, although you will have to go through phone activation to unblock the Windows 7/8 key. That is quite an ordeal for each BIOS upgrade (and will only work during the free year offer).
SchizoFrog 4th August 2015, 14:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by IT Troll
How about honouring the free upgrades we were promised?

They did, at least as far as I am concerned. There may have been some confusion early on about retail Windows 7/8/8.1 being upgraded to a retail version of Windows 10 that got everyone's hopes up but to suggest that MS have gone back on their word of free upgrades is ridiculous.

It's FREE! Microsoft could have released Windows 10 as a full priced piece of software. Or they could have mimicked what they did for Windows 8 and offered it for £25 for a set period of time. Yes, there are some restrictions... BUT IT'S FREE! So please, just stop the complaining.
Phil Rhodes 4th August 2015, 14:15 Quote
I have windows 7 that I bought at retail. I have no idea how to get windows 10 other than by buying it at retail.

But er. What actual new features does windows 10 offer?

I suspect that the answer will be "none", as was more or less the case for XP, vista, and 7.

P
Corky42 4th August 2015, 15:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
BUT IT'S FREE! So please, just stop the complaining.

So is a kick in the crown jewels, that doesn't mean it's wrong to complain.
wolfticket 4th August 2015, 15:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
They did, at least as far as I am concerned. There may have been some confusion early on about retail Windows 7/8/8.1 being upgraded to a retail version of Windows 10 that got everyone's hopes up but to suggest that MS have gone back on their word of free upgrades is ridiculous.

It's FREE! Microsoft could have released Windows 10 as a full priced piece of software. Or they could have mimicked what they did for Windows 8 and offered it for £25 for a set period of time. Yes, there are some restrictions... BUT IT'S FREE! So please, just stop the complaining.
If someone swaps your car for a new one under the promise it is much better, then they charge you the price of a new car the next time you change the spark plugs, that's not a great deal.

The initial transaction may have been "free", but if it was misleading and it ends up costing you more money down the line then you might still have something to complain about.

If they were going to change the term of the licence rather than giving you a like for like replacement they should have had to be very clear and upfront about it from the off.

----------------------------------------
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
I have windows 7 that I bought at retail. I have no idea how to get windows 10 other than by buying it at retail.

But er. What actual new features does windows 10 offer?

I suspect that the answer will be "none", as was more or less the case for XP, vista, and 7.

P
Maybe try Linux?... ;)
GaryP 4th August 2015, 16:24 Quote
The amount of times I change hardware in my pcs I wont be going to 10. I have retail copies on all family pcs, if it aint broke etc.

IF they were to treat the upgrade like the retail then I would.
IT Troll 4th August 2015, 16:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
Or they could have mimicked what they did for Windows 8 and offered it for £25 for a set period of time. Yes, there are some restrictions... BUT IT'S FREE! So please, just stop the complaining.
I would rather pay the £25 for a proper upgrade than what we currently have. Either pay the full retail price or face the pain of a wipe/revert/reactivate/upgrade.
Krazeh 4th August 2015, 17:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by IT Troll
How about honouring the free upgrades we were promised?

People with genuine Windows 7/8 retail keys are finding that a hardware change will deactivate Windows 10 and block their key. This even includes a simple BIOS upgrade.

Microsoft are saying that you have to buy a full Windows 10 licence to continue using. So retail licences are effectively being turned into OEM licences. But worse than that, OEM licences which are invalidated by a BIOS upgrade.

Which people are these? And where have MS said that you will have to buy a full Windows 10 license to continue using your PC?
IT Troll 4th August 2015, 18:28 Quote
Two people on the OcUK forums have been hit with deactivation following a BIOS upgrade. Others have been hit with the same following a hardware upgrade.

None have managed to reactivate their current Windows 10 installation without first reverting. In chat supports sessions with Microsoft they have been told that you will never get a key through the free upgrade offer. They then advised that if you frequently change your hardware you should buy a retail key.

The gotcha here is that a BIOS upgrade is detected as a hardware change. It is early days yet, so I am sure more reports of this will surface.
theshadow2001 4th August 2015, 18:57 Quote
ok Well that more or less kills any ideas of going the upgrade route for me
Krazeh 4th August 2015, 19:00 Quote
Having read a few threads on OcUK it looks more like MS reps aren't currently all that clear on how moving the activation for a retail Windows 10 license will work. There's at least one person who has spoken to Support and been told that it should all be fine but will take some time due to the activation servers being hammered.

Maybe it would be better to give it a few days/weeks, let the load on the activation server die down, allow MS to bring the phone activation system online and then check to see if it's no longer possible to move a retail license? Rather than claim the sky is falling down because it's not working perfectly less than a week after it's been rolled out to millions of PCs?

Edit: It would also appear that the EULA still contains provisions to allow software obtained as 'standalone software' (i.e. retail) or, more importantly, upgraded from 'standalone software' to be transferred to a new device or user.
IT Troll 5th August 2015, 00:04 Quote
I am sure you will be able to move a full retail licence but that is not what you get with the free upgrade offer. You get a hardware locked activation which is "good for the lifetime of the device". It is not possible to directly activate Windows 10 with your Windows 7/8 key, so phone activation is not going to work.

I hope MS do come up with a solution, especially for the BIOS upgrade issue. But this isn't going to magically fix itself when the servers are less busy. That is just a support guy fobbing someone off.

Hopefully raising awareness of the issue will result in a positive outcome for all.
Woodspoon 5th August 2015, 01:06 Quote
So once you've done the free upgrade, why can't you just take a note of the product key and then install of the windows 10 iso, if you need to install again and use that key?
Probably a silly question, but that would seem the solution to me.
[USRF]Obiwan 5th August 2015, 08:07 Quote
Download the media creation tool

Run it and choose to upgrade the current pc.
After completion of the windows 10 instalation get the (w10) product key with a product key finder.


Now with the product key you can run the media creation tool again and choose the 'other pc' option. Choose the language, 32/64 bit and the correct w10.
If you want create a bootable USB (minimal a 4gb stick) choose USB flashstation. If you want to create a ISO only choose ISO.

You can also download the ISO form Microsoft and use for example Rufus to create a bootable USB.


The key from w10 is locked to the current PC (hardware). After upgrade you cant install to other PC.
And that is the strange part. If you have a retail windows 7 or 8. You can rebuild your pc (mobo/proc/mem) upgrade and install it again. Seems like with w10 you can't do that. You probably need to call Microsoft support to explain that you upgraded your system.
bawjaws 5th August 2015, 09:33 Quote
So by taking advantage of the free upgrade, you're effectively swapping a full retail copy of Win 7, say, for a copy of Win 10 that is locked to your current hardware config?

That doesn't sound ideal, to be honest. Not a problem for me upgrading my Win 8.1 tablet, but potentially a massive problem for my main PC, which is due a full hardware upgrade at some point in the next year or so. Reckon I'll hang fire on upgrading to 10 on my main rig until this has been clarified...
Krazeh 5th August 2015, 09:41 Quote
At the moment, noone knows. The EULA and comments on Microsoft's Answers website would seem to indicate that a Win 7/8 retail license will be upgraded to a Win 10 retail license; however, until the demand on the activation servers had died down, the phone activation service has been turned on, and MS support reps get their stories straight it's impossible to be certain. I think it is more likely that an upgraded retail license will remain a retail license tho and will be able to be reactivated on new hardware.
IT Troll 5th August 2015, 11:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodspoon
So once you've done the free upgrade, why can't you just take a note of the product key and then install of the windows 10 iso, if you need to install again and use that key?
Probably a silly question, but that would seem the solution to me.
Using a product key finder doesn't help. After the upgrade your Windows 10 install is using a generic key which directs Windows to check eligibility with MS hardware activation servers. You no longer have an individual licence key which can be used to reinstall Windows 10 on different hardware or take you through phone activation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krazeh
At the moment, noone knows. The EULA and comments on Microsoft's Answers website would seem to indicate that a Win 7/8 retail license will be upgraded to a Win 10 retail license; however, until the demand on the activation servers had died down, the phone activation service has been turned on, and MS support reps get their stories straight it's impossible to be certain. I think it is more likely that an upgraded retail license will remain a retail license tho and will be able to be reactivated on new hardware.
I am sure someone within Microrosoft knows exactly what the story is. But MS have been very vague about this from the start. The best evidence we have to go on are the real experiences of users and Microsoft's original statement that the upgrade licence will be "free for the lifetime of the device". Based on this, retail licences which have been upgraded are not transferable.
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