Earlier today Rod was provided some information from Microsoft that helps to clarify the burning question out there about Windows 10 - How will Windows 10 activations work?
In that article Rod explains that the activation of Windows 10 will occur automatically online when you perform your free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.1.
In order to register your install of Windows 10 an activation code will be created to uniquely identify your system. This is likely going to be some type of a hash code based on your unique system hardware configuration. It will probably use a combination of individual hardware ID’s for multiple items in your system like the hard drive, network card, video card. motherboard and possibly your Microsoft account to build this unique identifier.
Connecting this hash code to your physical hardware and Microsoft account makes sense.
It allows Microsoft to verify that a specific Windows 10 activation is tied to that system and therefore gives you the flexibility to reinstall Windows 10 during the life of that device as necessary. No need to farm out massive numbers of product activation keys either.
Now Windows 10 has an option to be used with a local account, which many may choose to do, but just like Windows 8/8.1 Windows 10 really lights up when you tie in your Microsoft Account.
I believe that Microsoft will use our Microsoft Accounts as a place to safely store our Windows 10 activation codes. You may not have to use a Microsoft Account on your Windows based device but I can see the possibility that you would need to provide it and allow Microsoft to safely store that code for future use.
Where will it be stored? In the cloud of course.
I am positive they could let you save a local copy on a USB drive or even your hard drive but those physical copies become vulnerable to loss.
By storing the activation code in the cloud they can access it when you provide your Microsoft Account for system setup. Any time after you have a connection to the Internet they can easily validate your install and automatically activate it.
In this scenario, if you choose not to install Windows 10 with a Microsoft Account, there would come a point that you would need one to save and validate your activation code for that install and those in the future.
This means no more having to pull out the old Windows install discs to validate a future installation. Just grab the Windows 10 ISO to begin a clean install and get activated automatically through your Microsoft Account using your unique activation code.
Just for clarity – I do not have any inside info on this connection between the Microsoft Account and Windows 10 activation. This is just a dialog that seems to make sense based on what we learned from Microsoft through Rod earlier today.
There is also no reason to believe that Microsoft will not continue to support manual activation over the phone like they do for Windows 7 and 8.1 for any edge cases that occur.
What do you think of this possibility?