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Microsoft recently released a free Windows 10 Pro product key. Confused as to what it does and how you can take advantage of it? Then this post is for you.

If you’re running version 1511 of Windows 10 Home An Insider Review of the Windows 10 Fall Update An Insider Review of the Windows 10 Fall Update The Windows 10 Fall Update contains many minor improvements, a few feature updates, and a bunch of new settings. We show you what to expect and which default settings you might want to adjust. Read More on a PC, the freely available product key (VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T) allows you to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. It does not give you a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. It just unlocks the Pro edition and initiates the system upgrade from Home to Pro.

You’ll still need to activate the Pro edition by purchasing a license from the Windows store The Ultimate Windows 10 Activation & License FAQ The Ultimate Windows 10 Activation & License FAQ One of the big confusions surrounding Windows 10 concerns its licensing and activation. This FAQ will shed some light, explain what has changed with Windows 10 version 1511 (Fall Update), and translate activation-related error codes. Read More . Until you do this, you’ll face some limitations like unavailable features, grayed out settings, and watermarks.

The good news is that if you have a product key for the Pro edition of previous Windows versions, say Windows 7 or Windows 8, that same key can also take you from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro. In this case, the upgrade is free and saves you about a hundred dollars.

Note that you’ll need to have the November Update (version 1511) of Windows 10 Home installed for the public product key to work. And here’s where you can change the key: Settings > Update & security > Activation > Change product key.

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The Windows 10 Pro edition gives you extra features like Bitlocker Drive Encryption and finer control over Windows Update. Don’t be discouraged if the upgrade takes quite a bit of time. That’s to be expected.

Have you used the free product key released by Microsoft? Did it work for you? Tell us in the comments.

Image Credit: tanuha2001 / Shutterstock.com

  1. Leo Ooms
    January 18, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Gordon Hay, you have a lot of patience, and in this case it's needed. ;-)

    Guys an' galls, read the following very slowly and carefully!

    The article above is only for those that have Windows 10 home edition.
    The problem is you can't activate a Windows 10 home with a Windows 7 or 8 pro key. It will NOT upgrade the 10 home to 10 pro.

    The above key does NOT activate Windows!
    The purpose of the key given here is just to upgrade your windows 10 home installation to pro so you can activate it with your valid Windows 7 or 8 key.

    Happy computing to all of you!

  2. Christian
    January 7, 2016 at 9:05 am

    If I have windows 10 home already installed, does it reinstall it again if I upgrade to pro?

  3. Wm Brown
    January 3, 2016 at 7:48 am

    The MUO TITLE for this article needs 6 more words added to it after the final word 'Pro' ........ and they are:

    "THAT ALLOWS YOU TO BUY IT"!!

    Just sayin' ... you know?

  4. longtimereader
    December 31, 2015 at 10:49 am

    New year resolution for makeuseof : Quality control, Quality control, Quality control...

  5. epiquestions
    December 31, 2015 at 3:40 am

    I already used this key to fresh install a windows 10 pro. You still need to have a valid product key I think because the default key is only valid for a certain number of days (i forgot)

  6. A Longtime Muo Reader
    December 30, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    More and more Muo titles have clickbait-styled titles. I trusted this article's title and also this website so much I was simply a 'paste' away from changing my product key. Thank goodness I read the full article. Muo, your recent clickbait styled titles and also short and rather pointless articles are making me lose my trust in it.

  7. Gordon Hay
    December 30, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    This key is primarily for anyone who wants/has to do a clean install of Windows 10 using a bootable USB drive created with the Windows media creation tool. Because of the new device-specific way that W 10 is activated installing direct from a bootable drive gets you the Home version only, you then upgrade to Pro using the default key and activate it with your 7/8/8.1/10 Pro licence key.

    If you already have a Pro version of Windows on your machine and want to install 10 Pro in a single step you must start the install by opening the setup.exe file on the USB drive from File Explorer and you will get the option of Home or Pro versions.

    • Kieron Quinn
      December 30, 2015 at 7:08 pm

      Yup, can confirm, did this this afternoon. Media tool installed W10 home on a machine that had W10 Pro, W8.1 key didn't work, found this key. I now have pro with no issues, watermarks or store prompts. Nice of MS to not make me reinstall at least

  8. youamlame
    December 30, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    If this doesn't activate Windows 10 Pro what's the point? Was this just clickbait?

  9. Richard
    December 30, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    I have to admit I am not seeing the "free" here either. If you already have the pro version of win 7 or 8 you get the pro version of win 10 so the key is not needed.

    If you are on the home version and use this key then you still have to purchase the pro upgrade before the functions unlock. How is that free?

    • Mag
      December 30, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      Yes, this. ^

  10. Jace Sheppard
    December 30, 2015 at 11:05 am

    Searching Google with that product key indicates this key has been out since the summer.

  11. cmcollins001
    December 30, 2015 at 10:17 am

    If this doesn't activate Pro, then I don't understand the point. I can "upgrade" from Home to Pro, but it doesn't activate it.

    Going from a Windows 7 Pro to Windows 10 Pro may take a little bit longer, but it does work and Windows 10 Pro is activated.. Just pasting that key in the "change product key" box only gives you Windows 10 Pro that isn't activated.

    You're still required to go to the store and purchase Windows 10 Pro. I'm just not seeing how useful this is.

    Here's a question, let's assume someone uses the key and "upgrades" from Home to Pro. They find out the key doesn't activate Pro...how do they go back to the Home version? Do they have to reinstall from scratch?

    I have Home on mine (new laptop that came with Home), but when I upgrade my SSD to a higher GB, I'm going to install Win 7 Pro and upgrade to 10 from there.

    • Gordon Hay
      December 30, 2015 at 7:33 pm

      If you use the default key you don't need to install 7 Pro first, just install 10 Home, use the default key to upgrade to 10 Pro, then insert your 7 Pro key to activate it.

      • cmcollins001
        December 31, 2015 at 12:42 am

        That doesn't work. At least it didn't work on the other laptop I used to test. The device wan't entitled to Windows Pro and using a valid Win 7 Pro key to "upgrade" returns an error saying it's the wrong key.

        • cmcollins001
          December 31, 2015 at 12:49 am

          I may do another fresh install from the media creation disk I made and just start from scratch and see if that works. I tried things from an already installed version of Windows 10 Home.

        • Gordon Hay
          December 31, 2015 at 8:27 am

          Just to be clear, you use the default key given in the article above to "upgrade" from W 10 Home to Pro, then use your 7 Pro key to "activate" it. One circumstance in which a Pro key for 7/8/8.1 might not work (probably won't) is if it was purchased as an "upgrade/added feature" to an OEM installed Home version of Windows.

        • cmcollins001
          January 1, 2016 at 12:26 am

          I tried it again, downloaded the newest Windows 10 Media Creations Tool to a newly formatted USB drive, installed Windows 10 Home using custom install and deleting all the other partitions, loaded Windows 10 Home, used the key in the article to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro then attempted to use one of the many Windows 7 Pro license keys I have to activate Windows 10 Pro and none of them worked.

          The Win 7 Pro keys I used are from old laptops that had Win 7 Pro but the laptops have died, so they are not upgrade keys.

        • Gordon Hay
          January 1, 2016 at 10:48 am

          This default key method of upgrading to 10 Pro is intended for use with a previosly purchased key or one for an earlier version of Pro previously installed on the machine you want to upgrade - this was what I thought you were trying to do and I offered advice on that basis. I'm sorry if you took this advice to mean that any Pro key would work - a key for another machine which came with an OEM installed Pro version is not valid for use on a different machine in this specific way

          As far as I know the only key not previosly associated with the machine you want to upgrade that would work is one for a legally-purchased installation disc for an older Pro version of Windows which has not "used up" all the permitted number of installs.

          You could try phoning MS support to see if you can persuade the agent or supervisor to validate one of your old keys for use on your current device.

          There is a MS Community Wiki article on the subject of W 10 activation - I haven't read all the comments but you might find something useful there -

          http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/wiki/insider_wintp-insider_install/how-to-troubleshoot-product-activation-in-windows/33f31475-93b3-4d1c-812f-4b21fbd807a7

          Good luck!

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