Possible to upgrade to Windows 10 without actually upgrading? (reservation enough?)

Discussion in 'Windows 10' started by biosnoob88, Aug 15, 2015.

  1. biosnoob88

    biosnoob88 MDL Novice

    Sep 25, 2013
    I know the question sounds confusing. Please let me clarify.

    The problem:

    I manage more than 30 PC's currently running Windows 7 (all legit licenses) that apparently quality for Windows 10 upgrade. I want to upgrade them all, but want to do clean installation.

    So I can upgrade one of them first, after the upgrade Windows 10 will become activated and the PC's hardware signature will be "registered" to the MS activation server. Now I can do a full clean installation and PC will activate automatically because it's already registered. Then I can install and configure all software and drivers. Finally I make a clone image of this system.

    *However*, if I deploy this image to the other PC's right now, they won't activate, because they have not gone through the "7 to 10 upgrade" process to have their activation registered with MS. This means I have to go through the upgrade process on each of the 30 computers that will take a long time and can be subject to issues (due to certain reasons and limitations I cannot simply have them all upgrade at the same time).

    So my question is, is there a way to make a Windows 7 PC "register" itself with MS's activation server without going through the full and lengthy upgrade process, so that I can then immediately deploy a cloned clean Windows 10 image and let it self-activate? Does Microsoft's "Reserve Windows 10 Icon" utility actually register the PC's signature in Windows 10's activation server at the time of reservation, or only after full upgrade install is completed?

    Your advice will be greatly appreciated.
  2. odiebugs1

    odiebugs1 MDL Expert

    Jul 30, 2015
    #2 odiebugs1, Aug 15, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2015
    No matter what, you can't clone, so far we don't know the order or what actual hardware is being used, it could be MOBO, Machine GUID, LAN MAC, CPU ID. So the only way to get a free upgrade is to upgrade each machine so MICO get's the HWID of that machine, in turn it will allow a clean install. Until it's found, what hardware and the order and what hash algorithm made from the different hardware is being sent, no one can even backup or spoof the number to do what you want.

    So to sum it up, each one must be upgraded, then clean installed. I would just upgrade, and only do a clean for machines that need it due to problems. Don't worry about drivers, MS will force all of them on you, there will only be a few pieces of hardware that MS doesn't have drivers for in the OS, and then you'll see some in the forced updates.

    If you have that many PC's, you should be running Enterprise, but there not part of the free upgrade anyway.
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  3. EFA11

    EFA11 Avatar Guru

    Oct 7, 2010
    indeed, 30 pc's getting the FREE upgrade all need upgraded (with internet connect enabled) first and only once, then the HWID is recorded at MS, and then win10 can be clean installed at will. No keys entered or anything, just give them network and they will activate after install completes..

    with 30 pc's you aught to consider using mak or kms activation through volume license service center at MS, then you wouldn't need to do each initial upgrade to each pc.. Unless of course you get paid by the hour :D
  4. biosnoob88

    biosnoob88 MDL Novice

    Sep 25, 2013
    Thanks for the clarification. This is the bad news I expected.

    I do know KMS, volume licensing and all that goodies. But the thing is, I'm an IT guy for several small businesses, and most of them are not related to each other. So you can have customer #1 with 5 x Windows 7 machines, 3 from Dell and 2 from HP; customer #2 with 3 computers from Lenovo; customer #3 with 2 custom-built machines, and so on. As you can see, volume licensing and activation simply does not work for this scenario. So instead of me making a few images and get the job done like the old days when OS upgrades/reloads were needed, I now have to stare at each machine for you-know-how-long just so that MS can register the HWID, something that they could have done easily *before* the upgrade if they want. I mean come on what's the logic behind this? They can already determine if a machine is eligible for the upgrade, so exactly what they stand to gain by forcing those who want to perform clean installs to go through the upgrade install first?
  5. ginopilotino

    ginopilotino MDL Novice

    Oct 12, 2009
    Hi, I have 10 z400 workstations that I want to upgrade to win10. But I want to do a clean install without upgrading win7 first. I there a way to do that?
  6. biosnoob88

    biosnoob88 MDL Novice

    Sep 25, 2013
    I'm afraid based on the answers I got here and my own research and experiment, the answer is sadly no at this point. Not until there is some kind of solution to force registration of the hardware ID into the Windows 10 activation server prior to the upgrade.
  7. eemuler

    eemuler MDL Member

    Jul 31, 2015
    I have 4 computers and it is not all that bad as you guys make it sound. I guess what might be slowing down the process is all the stuff that's already on those computers. Clean install Win 7, make sure it is activated, don't bother installing drivers and updates, just upgrade to Win 10 and activate. Takes a couple of hours installing from DVDs. I guess it will go a lot quicker installing from USB pen drives. If you get into a routine you could do several computers at a time - start with one, remove the DVD or pen drive at first restart and put it in the next computer, and so on.

    What will get you down a bit are the Windows Updates - they are quite slow in my country. Microsoft talked about p2p updates, but I haven't been able to get those working on a LAN. ALL the updates are coming over the internet. Don't install ANY Microsoft apps on Win 7, or you'll be downloading updates for those too.
  8. Mansome

    Mansome MDL Novice

    Mar 25, 2015
    Just choose to upgrade but keep nothing so it goes faster, dont download any updates on the first upgrade. Finish the upgrade, then activate, then blow them all away with the image you are using. Should go pretty quick so long as the machines arent ancient.
  9. OldMX

    OldMX MDL Senior Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Doing this is as good as a clean install.
  10. Bezalel

    Bezalel MDL Member

    Apr 30, 2012
    Does it need to be an image, or will an install script work for you? Can you do the upgrade keeping nothing and then run the script? In the future you'd be able to do a PC reset keeping drivers and updates and just run the script.

    Alternatively you can create a provisioning package that will include all the post install customizations and would be included in the reset.

    But at this point there's no getting around having to do an upgrade to get the free upgrade.
  11. TheOldScout

    TheOldScout MDL Novice

    Nov 7, 2009
    It sounds like he is dealing with at least 4 different types of motherboards, so how could he use an image? An upgrade install from an ISO is his best choice. He could make a half dozen DVD's and do many at a time.
  12. nexus76

    nexus76 MDL Addicted

    Jan 25, 2009
    Upgraded a samsung ativ 500t with a veeery slow emmc and ia32 based atom, it took about two days in total to install windows 8.1, activate, upgrade, reinstall clean, pfff

    A small tool to check msdm or retail key and send hwid would have been nice.
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  13. eemuler

    eemuler MDL Member

    Jul 31, 2015
    You still have 11 months left in which to do this.
  14. shawnmos

    shawnmos MDL Member

    Oct 27, 2007
    This seems like the best way. Doing a real upgrade takes over an hour usually. It is confirmed that keeping nothing preserves activation? If so, it should only take about 20mins to install 10, then another 20mins to install it again. I guess you could stop at the first install, but at least for mechanical drives I like to make sure that Windows is always at the beginning of the drive on a clean partition for faster access.

    USB keys are faster but will be expensive if you want to do several computers at a time. Like someone else suggested, just burn a dozen or so discs and have all the computers installing at the same time.