Getting a Windows Product Key on the cheap - gHacks Tech News

Getting a Windows Product Key on the cheap

If you want to buy a copy of Windows 10 directly from Microsoft, you pay $119.99 for Home and $199.99 for Pro on Microsoft's Store. If you want to buy a copy of a previous version of Windows, you are out of luck as Microsoft does not offer those for sale anymore.

Retailers like Amazon may offer discounts, and OEM versions on top of that, but you will still spend a considerable sum to grab a license. There you may get copies of previous versions of Windows as well.

While you can pay $100 or more for a Windows 7 Pro product key, or a bit less if you pick a system builder edition instead, you'd still pay quite a bit of money for the operating system itself.

If you point your web browser to the online marketplace eBay however, you may notice that you can grab product keys for less than $20.

Getting a Windows Product Key on the cheap

windows product key cheap

Offers make the following claims usually:

  1. The product key is genuine, it has never been used before.
  2. Activation is for life.
  3. Updates work.
  4. Licenses come from third-party Microsoft resellers (which usually means OEM / system builder versions).

I decided to make a couple of test purchases to verify the claims. First of all, the purchase experience itself was excellent for all purchases that I made (1 Windows 10 Pro, 1 Windows 8 Pro, 1 Windows 7 Pro, 1 Windows 10 Enterprise).

Most keys were sent to me less than an hour after I made the payment, one arrived less than 2 minutes after I hit the payment button.

You get the product key only in these purchases. Depending on jurisdiction, merchants state explicitly that they don't sell operating system licenses but only product keys.

Most merchants provide you with links to Microsoft servers where the operating system can be downloaded from.

The product keys activated just fine -- I have not tried Enterprise yet -- and the operating systems ran fine for the past couple of weeks without any issues.

Activation worked locally without having to contact Microsoft activation support to get the key to activate.

While that is the case, there is no way of confirming right now if the OS will remain activated over the course of the next ten years or so. There is a bit of risk involved, as you cannot verify the source of the license.

A couple of observations:

  1. You may buy product keys of previous Windows versions on marketplaces like eBay.
  2. The going rate is between $10 and $15 for a product key.
  3. Apart from the usual Home and Pro editions, Enterprise editions are also offered for about the same price as Pro editions.

It is important to verify the seller on the marketplace before making purchases. While that is no guarantee that the keys won't be revoked at a later point in time, it makes it less likely however that this will be the case.

Closing Words

There is some risk involved in purchasing product keys on eBay and other marketplaces, as you may end up with a deactivated key after a period of time.

You get the product key on the cheap on the other hand, and get keys for operating systems that Microsoft does not sell anymore, or does not sell to non-business customers.

Now You: Would you buy a product key no eBay (or have you)?

Summary
Getting a Windows Product Key on the cheap
Article Name
Getting a Windows Product Key on the cheap
Description
You may purchase Windows product keys on eBay for a fraction of the cost, and may purchase product keys for previous versions as well.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. RossN said on September 3, 2016 at 7:52 am
    Reply

    I was pointed to this site today, but haven’t used them (yet). Comments from users appear favourable.
    $US40 for Windows 10 OEM is a great price…. may be a limited special perhaps.
    http://www.gamecheap.net/product/windows-10-professional-32bit64bit-global-license-product-oem-key-digital-download/

    1. Robert said on September 3, 2016 at 6:18 pm
      Reply

      I needed to use Docker so I bought four upgrades from W10 Home to Pro. I bought at ebay (vendor gameveo) for around $25. The Home to Pro process was simple, quick and all activated properly. So far no problems. YMMV.

    2. callie said on January 6, 2017 at 5:02 pm
      Reply

      they are fraud dont use them. and are very rude

  2. Peter said on September 3, 2016 at 7:58 am
    Reply

    Another excellent site is https://www.reddit.com/r/microsoftsoftwareswap/ I have already bought two licences (Win 8.1) from them and they worked perfectly, including updating to Win 10 successfully.

  3. trendless said on September 3, 2016 at 8:29 am
    Reply

    Unless you buy the product key directly from Microsoft, it has to come with a Certificate of Authenticity be considered legit. Whomever possesses this is the actual owner of the key/license. The COA is the sticker on the side of the case or inside the booklet of the physical packaging. Without that, you’re probably buying NFR keys or OEMs that have been copied off of a recycled machine — which isn’t allowed. Whether it activates or not has no bearing at all.

    1. Dave said on September 3, 2016 at 10:52 am
      Reply

      ^ This. Without a COA (or a Microsoft receipt) it may as well be a stolen key. I understand that some people may not care and are willing to pay of the convenience of any working product key, but I can’t get behind the idea.

      1. Heimen Stoffels said on September 3, 2016 at 11:11 am
        Reply

        On the other hand, if they were stolen, why do they work? You can only activate a license once. If they stole these licenses, they wouldn’t work as the actual owner would’ve activated it already.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on September 3, 2016 at 11:14 am
        Reply

        The theory is that they are not stolen from home users or companies, but directly from manufacturers. Obviously, there are many other theories where this keys come from, with several of them being legit.

    2. sam said on December 25, 2016 at 10:07 pm
      Reply

      you are so stupid!! it’s 2018 man wake the fuckup…

  4. Jeff said on September 3, 2016 at 8:48 am
    Reply

    I can’t believe people STILL pay for Windows. Pirating it and passing all integrity and genuine checks is a piece of cake, whether it’s retail or volume license editions. With the kind of shit Microsoft puts you through, no one should ever have to pay for their crap.

    1. Dave said on September 3, 2016 at 10:55 am
      Reply

      I can think of an integrity test you’d fail.

      If you think it’s crap, why use it? Mac, Linux and Android N all offer decent desktop experiences. Do you think Windows is the best?

      1. EuroScept1C said on September 3, 2016 at 12:10 pm
        Reply

        Unfortunately, it still is. Lately I tried many Linux distros and only then truly realized how good windows is. I’ve mediocre hardware i54690/GTX960 on Samsung 850 SSDs and Windows is optimized as hell. On Linux couldn’t believe a single x265 720p video was taking 30% of my CPU utilization while on Windows it works at 1% and ~5% GPU utilization while both on Idle Clocks. Won’t even mention how easily you handle Windows in comparison to Linux.

        Very simple paradigms… Didn’t even mention the underlying infrastructure. You get the point. I understand Linux is open and won’t ever have superb driver support, but… What can you do.

        Not trying to open flame war. Just noticing how trapped we are on Windows, especially if you respect your hardware.

      2. Jeff said on September 3, 2016 at 2:03 pm
        Reply

        I am forced to use the newer Windows crap because Microsoft forces it on me and because it has parts of older Windows which I liked and on which my work depends – like Windows 2000, XP, 7. If I am given a choice to use my genuine Windows XP copy on native hardware, I would but MS can’t have that. They worked with PC vendors like Intel to make sure there aren’t drivers for my XP any more. They have got to force me to Windows 10. So I choose to pirate it. I need nothing that’s added in Windows 8 or 10, only the older well behaved Windows up to 7/XP.

      3. Cynthia said on July 9, 2018 at 9:33 pm
        Reply

        I concur with you Jeff. It’s all about money and keeping it in their pockets. But I really don’t think MS should have to put half the crap they put in it. I loved Win 98 and XP.

      4. inab said on September 3, 2016 at 2:06 pm
        Reply

        Vanilla multimedia players preinstalled in linux distros are indeed not always the best.
        You might wanna try “Xine” player for these x265 HD vids.

    2. Nathan said on September 3, 2016 at 11:10 am
      Reply

      Those are exactly my thoughts. I don’t understand why people are bound to Windows with all the crap they are putting users through. Linux is a free alternative, which means you don’t have to pay for it, with the guarantee that it does not spy on you (because it is open-source). I would suggest it is better to donate to a large distribution of Linux than to pay for a product key for Windows.

      Although, I think it has come to a situation like this because Windows has such a high market share and people who did not want to pay for a product key ended up pirating it, which is very easy to do. So Microsoft has to cover its losses somehow.

      That’s why I understand why Microsoft does what is does, when in fact it shouldn’t be an excuse for their behavior.

      1. Dave said on September 5, 2016 at 12:12 am
        Reply

        I’m bound to Windows because the professional software(s) I use for my job are Windows-only. Windows 8.1 is the latest version I’m willing to trust, after running Aegis-Voat on it (and of course installing StartIsBack and Modern Mix for sanity-sake).

      2. Jeff said on September 5, 2016 at 11:40 am
        Reply

        @Dave, why StartIsBack and not Classic Shell? Classic Shell is far superior to StartIsBack.

  5. Yuliya said on September 3, 2016 at 9:36 am
    Reply

    At this point just use DAZ Loader or MSToolkit for 7 activation. Find them on MDL. If you feel sorry for microsoft, purchase whichever Windows they’re selling atm. This way you get your favourite OS and they get the money.

    Personally I have a 7 Ultimate key from them since I participated in the beta testing of 7, and have other licenses that either came with my laptops or from university.

  6. Ciprian said on September 3, 2016 at 9:57 am
    Reply

    I bought from Aliexpress a few months ago an OEM key and it worked. ATM I’m back on Ubuntu and I don’t know if it’s still working. I got for aprox. 10$. Best deal ever :D

  7. Corky said on September 3, 2016 at 10:28 am
    Reply

    The only time I’d buy a product key from Ebay would be if the seller had a very high feedback score.

    In other Windows 10 related news it seems despite many people (is Mr Bott a person? ;) ) saying Windows 10 and subscriptions would never happen that’s exactly what’s going to happen, at least in part.
    https://blogs.windows.com/business/2016/09/01/windows-10-enterprise-e3-now-available-as-a-partner-delivered-cloud-service/
    “Starting today from $7 per user/per month, businesses of any size can purchase Windows 10 Enterprise E3 through the CSP program and take advantage of enterprise-grade security and management functionality. Windows 10 Enterprise E3 was designed for businesses that handle sensitive customer data (such as credit card or social security numbers), operate in regulated industries, or create and monetize intellectual property.”

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 3, 2016 at 11:05 am
      Reply

      I read the article, and he mentioned in a sentence that anyone could grab an Enterprise key. At least that’s what I think he said.

    2. ohm said on September 3, 2016 at 3:04 pm
      Reply

      you are confusing enterprise and home users. ms isn’t going to go down the subscription route for home users, that’s where the main concern is.
      big business, they bought their licenses differently anyway.

      1. Corky said on September 3, 2016 at 4:20 pm
        Reply

        I’m not confusing enterprise and home users, that’s unless you’re talking about the different versions of Windows and not the actual users themselves, in effect what Microsoft are doing is making Windows 10 E3 & E5 available to anyone willing to pay $7 per user/per month whereas in the past Enterprise versions of Windows were only officially available to Volume Licensing customers.

      2. ohm said on September 6, 2016 at 2:09 pm
        Reply

        surely the pertinent point is that it’s not extended to your average home user. that’s your average person who pop into a store and get a machine that comes with home.

        if some savvy home users go and subscribe to enterprise version, that’s entirely up to them, no one cares. the thing that had people concerned about is the allegation that people would upgrade freely to win10 and then get slapped with a sub down the line. that ain’t happening and has nothing to do with subbing enterprise.

        enterprise didn’t get free upgrade to win10 either.

  8. pezuy said on September 3, 2016 at 12:13 pm
    Reply

    home and pro are stil available from microsoft for free e.g. for impaired users. Since there is no verifications of any kind its free for all.
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/accessibility/windows10upgrade

    1. scylla said on September 3, 2016 at 9:20 pm
      Reply

      I had read Martin’s article on this and recently (less than a couple of weeks ago) tested it on a Win7Pro laptop that I’d thought I would leave as it was. However, on noticing how much quicker* my network was on the Win10 laptops “upgraded” before the deadline I decided to relent, and the upgrade via that link worked fine.

      *It’s still not brilliant, but for several months accessing and fetching up large files across the network had been painfully slow, all machines were using Win7 and altering some settings according to advice via tech sites had not helped significantly.

      (I still wish they had improved Win7 rather than created the Win10 mess.)

  9. Gabriel said on September 3, 2016 at 1:30 pm
    Reply

    I have purchased a few of these keys in the past from an ebay sellers who sold MSDN subscriber keys.
    They were all deactivated after a few months.

  10. mule said on September 3, 2016 at 2:43 pm
    Reply

    Let’s make it clear. This would work from a technical standpoint but would not be make your licensing of windows legal.

    Another way to title this article: How to obtain a key that will activate windows if you don’t care whether it is legal.

    Mule

  11. Abdullah said on September 3, 2016 at 2:52 pm
    Reply

    i want to buy Microsoft Office 2016 from eBay as you’ve described, but I’m wondering if it is legal.

    i found this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UsedSoft

    which says trading in used software should be legal in Europe.

    i’m wondering of the items for sale on ebay, where they just email you the product key, fits into this same category? any advice?

  12. chesscanoe said on September 3, 2016 at 3:19 pm
    Reply

    Today I can’t subscribe without commenting, on both latest stable Chrome or latest IE11 running under latest stable Win10 x64 Home AE. I get message “You have requested to manage your subscriptions to the articles on gHacks Technology News. Follow this link to access your personal page: [manager_link]” which is not clickable.
    Perhaps this is the reason for my problem.
    https://support.google.com/mail/answer/180707?hl=en-GB
    I’ll try a non-gmail email address to see if that works.

    1. chesscanoe said on September 3, 2016 at 3:35 pm
      Reply

      A non – gmail address to subscribe without commenting fails with the same message. Looking at the resulting sent email shows a subject but blank body.

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 3, 2016 at 4:08 pm
        Reply

        Chess, this was a bug in a new plugin version. The author released an update which supposedly fixes the issue. Can you please try again and let me know? Thanks for reporting the issue!

      2. chesscanoe said on September 3, 2016 at 5:08 pm
        Reply

        I confirm the problem is now fixed. Thanks for quick response.

  13. Maelish said on September 3, 2016 at 4:26 pm
    Reply

    I miss Technet. You could legally get all the licenses you needed pretty darn cheaply.

  14. Robert said on September 3, 2016 at 4:44 pm
    Reply

    In gaming world, there are sellers that sell much cheaper _working_ keys, but some of them are bought using stolen credit cards. I suppose same applies to other computer software more or less. So, you have working key and it does work, but it can get blacklisted any time and it’s far from legal.

  15. Hugh said on September 3, 2016 at 5:47 pm
    Reply

    Perhaps Microsoft is allowing the keys to work so that more people install Windows malware in their computers. Windows piracy is what stops more people going Linux, if people had to pay full price for Microsoft they would move to Linux.

  16. FriendorFoe said on September 3, 2016 at 8:47 pm
    Reply

    @EuroScept1C

    I have a much older PC hardware than yours (Q6600 CPU, GPU Nvidia GTX 650, HDD from 2008) with Xubuntu 16.04 and the CPU usage never goes above 4% on VLC/SMplayer with a 1080p/x264 and GPU around 7% (it’s not x265, i know) video file, so you’re clearly doing something wrong here, also, No, i disagree, Linux is as much easy as Windows are and in some case easier, those people who say Linux is hard it’s usually because they have spend their entire lives using only Windows OS’s.

  17. Nebulus said on September 4, 2016 at 12:14 am
    Reply

    IMO you might as well as use a keygen or other pirate method. As long as such a purchase doesn’t guarantee me that it is legal, why would I pay for it?

  18. nrf said on September 4, 2016 at 12:36 am
    Reply

    so maybe in a few months there will be a followup article about whether the keys are still good :)

    MAKs have to decrement a count in someone’s license but a dribble of activations spread out over time may not trigger any alarms.

    if they are OEM keys then microsoft would not be consulted, this seems the most favorable for reselling, I don’t know how common those are. the only OEM key I ever got from Technet/MSDN was for windows 7 ‘starter’ editions.

    1. Chains The Bounty Hunter said on September 4, 2016 at 7:19 am
      Reply

      Definitely all for a follow-up, if only for the satisfaction for curiosity’s sake. Seems unlikely to happen but would otherwise be worth writing all the same.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on September 4, 2016 at 7:36 am
      Reply

      Yes that is my plan. I keep an eye on the keys, and check them regularly. I thought I check them quarterly to see if they are still valid, and report my findings either in this article or a new one (new one likely only if they cease to function).

  19. Anonymous said on September 4, 2016 at 2:28 am
    Reply

    https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/02/refridows/

    Imagine it’s Christmas, you’re scheduled to receive your entire family and some best friends. Suddenly Microsoft decide for a reason you’ll never know to desactivate your Windows 10’s key purchased on ebay. Now time has come for dîner, but when you want to open the refrigerator door it tell you “Your key has been desactivated, the operation you are trying to perform cannot be satisfied, please insert a new valid key”…

    Be more cautious with advices on Tech Blogs next time! :-)

  20. Ben said on September 4, 2016 at 3:14 am
    Reply

    Well, I’d only buy an Enterprise key.
    In all other windows versions you cannot disable their telemetry spyware.

  21. Joe Blough said on September 4, 2016 at 3:28 am
    Reply

    The author of this post who test-bought several different Windows product keys should have performed a google search on a portion of the key sequence to see if it turned up any hits revealing the entire sequence. If that happens, then the key is “known” to the wider internet for some reason, something that shouldn’t happen if the purchased key was indeed never previously used.

  22. Joe Blough said on September 4, 2016 at 3:32 am
    Reply

    Someone posting comments just wrote:

    “the only OEM key I ever got from Technet/MSDN was for windows 7 ‘starter’ editions.”

    While I’m not sure about ISO distributions from MSDN, I can tell you that the ISO images you get from Technet are of the “Retail” vintage, something you will see if you look at the ie.cfg file.

  23. Aaron said on September 4, 2016 at 3:46 am
    Reply

    You have to be extremely careful buying lice se keys on eBay. Most license keys are from MSDN subscriptions, which and not legal for resale. The primary issue is that you will not get support from Microsoft and you will not be able to upgrade. I bought Windows 8.1 license keys on eBay, and was not able to upgrade to Windows 10 with them. Microsoft would not help me because if I was the owner of the MSDN subscription then I would have also had Windows 10 keys available. So the keys you buy on eBay may work indefinetly, there will be limitations.

  24. RG said on September 4, 2016 at 6:17 am
    Reply

    Martin, didn’t you have a similar topic article a while ago and then had to clean it up because search engine was misinterpreting the topic? May be I am imagining things but seem to recall something like this. Just saying.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 4, 2016 at 7:33 am
      Reply

      I only remember the Adobe incident, do you mean that?

      1. RG said on September 5, 2016 at 1:49 am
        Reply

        Don’t think so but since I can’t find what I thought it was then may be it was the Adobe one.

  25. seseorang said on September 4, 2016 at 8:50 am
    Reply

    Well, I’m sure this is NOT legal.
    The only reason I pay for a Windows License is to have a Legal OS, and a cheap key like this that looks like it offer the same thing as a pirate license do, is just a big no, at least for me.

  26. JamesP said on September 4, 2016 at 6:46 pm
    Reply

    Martin,
    It might be interesting to see what kind of license type your keys enabled.
    From a command prompt type

    slmgr /dli
    to get basic license info, and
    slmgr /xpr
    to see if it has an expiration date

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 4, 2016 at 6:52 pm
      Reply

      Checked one quickly, retail product key, permanent activation.

    2. clas said on September 9, 2016 at 2:37 pm
      Reply

      thanks james, this is a nice little thing to know

    3. George said on September 10, 2016 at 11:23 am
      Reply

      (OEM, permanent)

      I successfully installed W10 and Office 2016 this way recently. Hopefully, they will last. I’ve also backed up the licenses and successfully reinstalled them (on the same machine, OEM’s are not for different hardware I think).

      1. MLAD said on November 27, 2016 at 11:00 pm
        Reply

        HOW DID YOU BACKUP LICENCES?

  27. SexyGirlFrdFartsAlot said on September 7, 2016 at 7:02 pm
    Reply

    Martin, the pricing of these ‘keys’ reminds me of people who ‘buy’ stuff for cheap from the ‘back of a van’. For the ultimate test of whether these ‘keys’ are legal/legitimate, why don’t you just simply contact Microsoft regarding where you purchased the key and get their ‘official’ comment??

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 7, 2016 at 7:30 pm
      Reply

      I don’t have a single contact at Microsoft and I don’t think Microsoft Support can help as they usually know little to nothing.

  28. Emilie said on February 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm
    Reply

    I got a key from licence-activation.com and it’s definitly the best on the internet

    1. Fabrice said on June 7, 2017 at 5:08 pm
      Reply

      I have tried a key from the website and it is perfectly working. They answer quite fastly to emails, and can even assist you online through Teamviewer in case of a problem. I highly recommend.

  29. Lyle said on February 27, 2017 at 4:06 pm
    Reply

    A Product key is not a software license. That is why the vendors state they are only selling keys. There is no question whether these keys are legitimate, they are not. You have not purchased a licensed copy of the software and would be liable for gross infringement fines should you be caught deploying systems with these keys and running them longer than a trial period.

  30. Dominic Bere said on May 19, 2017 at 4:07 pm
    Reply

    I bought a Windows 10 Pro activation key – cheaply – with the warning that the key was to be used for ONE device only, and that, ‘multiple activation will lead to key being banned in 24 hrs & no refund issued’. I read out the key over the phone to Microsoft and was told that it was a ‘bulk’ activation key, for use on up to 50 devices. Normally, of course, all these devices would be in one business; if a seller is selling the same key to 50 unconnected people, does this create some sort of a connection between them – in other words is it a security risk?

  31. George Farmer said on June 17, 2017 at 2:45 am
    Reply

    I wanted to upgrade my old desktops and laptops to Windows 10 Pro and make them NEW. So, I searched and bought NINE Windows 10 Pro ($3 each) and Office 2016 Pro Plus ($4 each) product keys on eBay last year. Before activating each key, I called Microsoft customer care and read the key to confirm it’s genuineness. All nine keys were confirmed to be valid and to be installed on one PC. All nine keys were activated online, working fine so far and getting regular updates. After activating online, a few days later, I again called Microsoft customer care to check the keys were shown activated on their database. They were shown activated. NOTE: Once the key is activated, you will see a unique “Product ID”. Make sure to write down the product key, product ID and date of activation. Keep it safe. I did this for both Windows 10 Pro and Office 2016 Pro Plus. I was told that all will be well with the activated keys. Hope the keys don’t get deactivated by Microsoft. If it happens, I would get fresh keys. Remember it is just $3 and $4. Hey, I saved a fortune!

  32. Mike said on July 10, 2017 at 12:41 pm
    Reply

    any updates on whether the cheap keys get deactivated? I am looking at a server 2016 datacenter key that is advertised on ebay for 40 bux. How could this be possible??

    1. chesscanoe said on July 10, 2017 at 1:18 pm
      Reply

      If it looks too good to be true, I’ve found it is good practice to run the other way. Otherwise, some day you’ll regret getting scammed.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on July 10, 2017 at 2:06 pm
      Reply

      There is always a chance that keys get deactivated as you have no control over the source. I have bought several keys for articles in the past, and none has been deactivated.

      I suggest you vet the seller, check out ratings and user reviews. While this is not a 100% protection, it makes it less likely that keys will be deactivated, or that the seller won’t respond to inquiries should this happen.

  33. Chuckers said on January 8, 2018 at 8:06 pm
    Reply

    If you have a PC from a major OEM system builder like Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc. which was originally shipped with Win Vista or Win 7, you can install and activate Win 7 (or vista – but why would you want Vista lol) on that PC. All you need is a copy of Win 7 which can be had from torrents or websites that are hosting Win 7 (or Vista) downloads.

    Just do a Google search for “OEM SLP SLIC Windows 7 Activation”. Do some reading. It’s actually quite simple.

    The fact is, that COA sticker you see on a major OEM PC does not show the actual key that the OEM builder actually used to activate windows. (Don’t believe me, download BelArc or similar program) and see if the Windows key it shows matches the one on your sticker, it most likely won’t). They basically only use a handful of keys to activate on the PCs they build. That is the key you need (along with a little bin file) and these are found on a few places on the net. As a result, Win 7 (or vista) is activated without “calling home” because that OEM key is tied to that machine anyhow so there is no need to “call home”. If you have to reinstall windows on your PC, you can use the key on your sticker, but it will “call home” and if it is old there is a chance it will not activate and you will have to call MS and speak to live rep. If you do have to speak to a live rep, it is unlikely she/he will help you because technically they are not supposed to help with activation of OEM keys. Some will, but most won’t.

    To my knowledge, this method does not worth with Windows 8, 8.1 or 10 as they use a different method of activation than MS has previously used up to Win 7.

  34. John Zurek said on May 2, 2018 at 11:05 pm
    Reply

    I have purchased Windows 10 pro keys on eBay on several occasions and they all work, after more than a year. Updating such installations to the latest “creator” versions also works. One such keys was needed after I had to replace my motherboard, the other for machines where I added win 10 to the already present windows 7.
    I also bought keys for Office 2016 Pro Plus this way (for around $3 or so from a guy in the UK) and this also works, even when you set it up through the Microsoft Office Setup website. However, when I recently upgraded Windows 10 pro to the latest 1803 (Spring Creators) edition, I suddenly got the message that Office 2016 had to be activated again, after starting Outlook. This re-activation then failed with the report that I had bought a key from a bad source. I then uninstalled Office entirely using the available Microsoft Office removal tool, bought a new key for Office 2016 pro Plus on eBay (for less than $3), reinstalled it with that key and everything works fine, also on the Spring Creators version of Windows 10!

  35. Len said on May 3, 2018 at 10:45 pm
    Reply

    I purchased an upgrade for Windows 10 Home to Pro from SDKey. The download and activation were very easy. I had an issue with Mirroring before purchase and it remained after. Later (1-2 months) I had to use the Windows 10 Reset function. Worked beautifully until I had to activate when the Product Key sent was not recognized by Microsoft. I ended up purchasing a Home edition from Microsoft and required extensive help from Microsoft to install. My advice: avoid purchasing Microsoft products from other than Microsoft. It does not end well when you do.

  36. Jake said on November 10, 2018 at 1:59 am
    Reply

    I use Linux every day and have for years. Yes there are challenges, but less than with Windows. Pick a free Linux distribution that is associated with a professional product. Examples are Centos, Fedora, OpenSuse. It is all free, no theft, no guilt. Linux is easier to use, and more reliable. Linux has a free office suite that is Microsoft file compatible. You can run Linux from a “live” DVD for a quick trial or install it in usually less than 30 minutes. Sure there is a little learning curve. There was a learning curve with Windows too. I often see comments like, ” Picked up a cheap PC from my mother (or grandmother) installed Linux. Mom loves it. She has no problems with the Web, E-mail, photos, and typing letters.” If you want kick-butt games (usually paid), make sure your Linux runs “STEAM”.

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