It is preinstalled on your device, included with the device packaging, or included as a card or on the Certificate of Authenticity COA attached to the device. Buying from www. Find it in the confirmation email that contains the order history. If you're having trouble locating your product key, see Find your Windows product key and Find your Microsoft downloads and product keys. If you have a digital license for Windows 10 Pro, and Windows 10 Home is currently activated on your device, you'll see one of two messages when you select Go to Microsoft Store :.
If you see Buy , you may need to purchase a Windows 10 Pro license. Or, try to sign in to Microsoft Store with the Microsoft account that was used to purchase the Pro license.
Then, follow the instructions to install Windows If you have a digital license for Windows 10 Pro, but Windows 10 Home isn't activated on your device, select Troubleshoot and then follow the instructions to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. Select Change product key , and then enter the character Windows 10 Pro product key. See the following for more help activating your valid product key or digital license for Windows 10 Pro:.
Get help with Windows activation errors. Activation in Windows Open Activation settings If you have a digital license for Windows 10 Pro, and Windows 10 Home is currently activated on your device, you'll see one of two messages when you select Go to Microsoft Store : If you see Install , select the button to install Windows 10 Pro.
Select Next to start the upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. Having issues with activation after your upgrade? See the following for more help activating your valid product key or digital license for Windows 10 Pro: Get help with Windows activation errors Activation in Windows Need more help? Join the discussion. A subscription to make the most of your time. Try one month free. This down-market edition maybe we should just call it Windows for Cheapskates doesn't have the features you need for getting real work done: Remote Desktop server access, BitLocker disk encryption, group policy support, and control over when updates get installed, just for starters.
Those keys can be reused to enable an upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro, potentially saving you the upgrade fee. In fact, you can use a product key from any of these older Windows versions to perform a clean install or to upgrade to Pro. It's worth rummaging through your garage, storeroom, or email archives to see if you can locate one of those old keys.
Maybe you still have a key for one of the heavily discounted upgrades to Windows 8 Pro that Microsoft offered in the first few months after that product's ill-fated launch in Or perhaps you have a shrink-wrapped retail copy of Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate, where the license associated with the product key is no longer in use.
Best of all, you only need to use the older product key one time. After you complete the upgrade from Windows 10 Home, the Windows 10 Pro digital license is attached to the specific hardware you just upgraded, allowing you to reinstall that edition of Windows on that hardware anytime, without the need for a product key. This scenario worked during the early Windows 10 upgrade program, and after some testing and multiple reports from independent testers worldwide I can confirm that it still succeeds in , more than five years later.
Microsoft first made this option available in Windows 10 version Since then, they have simplified the process dramatically.
Here's the scoop. Some vendors offer an upgrade option as part of the purchase, but many PCs sold in the retail channel are preloaded with Home edition. This could also be the case if you took advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade offer on a PC running a Home edition of Windows 7 or Windows 8.
In either case, the upgrade takes just a few minutes. You'll see a succession of progress screens and your system will restart. After the upgrade completes, you should see a Success notification. Check the Activation screen again to confirm that you're now running Windows 10 Pro.
After you've successfully performed a Home-to-Pro upgrade, you can file that product key away. Your upgrade is now a digital license, attached to your unique hardware. If you perform a reinstallation of Windows, Microsoft's activation servers will recognize the hardware and activate Windows 10 automatically. I have tested this scenario multiple times on hardware that originally shipped with Windows Home and was upgraded to Windows 10 Pro.
After the upgrade was complete, I used a bootable USB flash drive containing Windows 10 setup files to reinstall a clean copy of Windows 10 Pro, skipping the option to enter a product key as part of setup, as shown below. When prompted, be sure to choose Windows 10 Pro as the edition to install. The system was properly activated, because Microsoft's servers recognized the hardware and used the digital license.
The ultimate Windows 10 information hub. Looking for technical information about Windows 10 releases, new features, known issues, troubleshooting, and tech support? Start here. The one gotcha in this series of scenarios comes when you have a system that includes digital licenses for both Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro.
In that scenario, you can inadvertently restore Windows 10 Home. This happened recently when I used a recovery image to reinstall Windows 10 on a Surface Pro PC that had originally shipped with Windows 10 Home and had been upgraded to Windows 10 Pro. Not surprisingly, using the recovery image gave me an installation of Windows 10 Home. If that happens to you, don't bother searching for the product key you used to upgrade.