Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Swapping Windows 8 keys - is it possible?

  1. #1


    UK
    Posts : 35
    Windows 8.1 64-bit

    Swapping Windows 8 keys - is it possible?


    Hi all, I had a question I wondered if you could help with.

    Back in early 2013 I purchased Windows 8 Pro for my old desktop PC (Athlon 64 @ 4200, 3GB RAM) and installed it using the provided key. The reason I got it was not really because I wanted it as such, but it was about 15 so I couldn't miss that deal! I installed it, but never used it much to be honest (main OS on the machine is Windows 7)

    In June last year I got myself a new machine, a laptop - nothing special, but it does the job. It came with Windows 8 (non-pro) and I've since upgraded to Windows 8.1.

    Now I use my laptop far, far more than my desktop. And I was wondering if I can upgrade my laptop's version of Windows 8 to Pro using the key that I purchased back early last year? Also, if I do this, could I then use the key that my laptop currently uses should I ever want to install Windows 8 on a desktop machine in the future? Or would it just make the laptop key useless?

    Obviously another question is, is it worth it? The only thing I am remotely interested in is Hyper-V for Virtual Machines, which isn't available on my laptop due to it not being Pro, and doesn't run on my desktop PC due to the dated CPU. Nothing else in Pro really interests me.

    Many thanks

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    PC's that come with Windows 8 pre installed from the factory have their OEM key embedded in the BIOS. That OEM key is not transferable to another PC and cannot be used on another PC. Normally to upgrade from core to Pro you buy a Pro pack which is just a product key. You go to add features and enter the Pro Pack key to unlock the Pro features. You could try your Pro key in add features but don't be surprised if it gets rejected. Add Features to Windows 8 Even if it works you may find it won't activate as it was already used on another PC. If that happens you would have to try to activate by phone. You will also have to remove the previous install on the other PC that is using the same product code. You can only use that product code on one PC at any one time. If add features doesn't work you'll likely have to boot from the DVD and see if you can upgrade from there. As a last option you could try doing a clean install. The problem with that though, is your DVD may see and use the OEM embedded key automatically and install CORE by default. You'd be right back to square one again. Before you do anything I would advise reading the EULA for your 8 Pro to see if it is transferable to another PC.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    UK
    Posts : 35
    Windows 8.1 64-bit


    Thanks for the quick response.

    I did try putting the desktop's Windows 8 key in to the "Add features to Windows 8" dialog, and it did a check and then said "This key is valid" and prompted me to continue, but I didn't, so I'm not sure if it would go any further. As you say, it may well fail as it's already been activated on the desktop.

    All sounds like a lot of effort for very little, so maybe I will give this a miss. Just a shame that some nice features (Hyper-V, GPedit) aren't available in bog standard Windows 8.

    To make the desktop version I have even more unappealing, due to the CPU not having the relevant instructions, I can't upgrade it to 8.1 which makes me even less likely to use it (although I guess I can just re-install with the 32-bit version)

    Thanks again.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    No problem. Yeah, it won't try to activate until its actually done updating to Pro. You won't know if it activates or not until the first time you boot into Pro. Some members had issues when they updated to Media Center through Add Features. Their key was accepted but it latter failed activation. Once you update you can't easily go back either, that's why I gave you the heads up. You pretty much would have to reinstall to go back to Core if you couldn't get it to activate. I had one Media Center key fail activation but it activated by phone no problem though the automated system without ever having to talk to a real person. That key likely failed activation because I moved it from one PC to another. I rolled the original PC back to Windows 7 and reused the MC key on another PC.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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