Do you have a Microsoft account? If not, you might want one especially if you are running a free upgrade version of Windows 10. Why, you might ask?
It began with Windows 8, when you first logged onto your computer, Microsoft asked you to create a Microsoft account (MSA). In the beginning, this was a nuisance that usually just locked people out of their computers when they lost their login credentials. However, with the anniversary update of Windows 10 that rolled out at the end of July, they made an important change.
If a user links their device with their MSA, they will stand a better chance of saving their free copy of Windows 10 in the case of a computer crash. We have already seen more than a few computers in the shop that have suffered a total system crash and when we go to re-install Windows 10, their computer's digital permission for Windows 10 is nowhere to be found. In those cases, we have to revert the computer back to its original OS. This is a problem because in two of those cases, the customers originally had Windows 8 machines and the digital product key for Windows 8 had been flushed by Microsoft 30 days after the machine converted to Windows 10.
Translation: the customer completely lost their operating system – the original one they bought and the free one that Microsoft convinced them to convert to.
What happens in that situation? The customer has to buy a new operating system – this can run anywhere from $110 to $130. Don't let this happen to you.
Sign up for a MSA (or you may already have one). Write down your login credentials somewhere safe and Don't Lose Them. Your credentials are an email address and a password.
By doing this procedure, you will increase the odds of retaining your free copy of Windows 10 in the case of a complete system crash or a significant hardware change. Please also be aware that there is a limit to the number of times you can re-activate Windows 10. I haven't been able to pin down what that limit is but I will keep looking.
While this system is not perfect, it may improve the odds of you not losing your free upgrade of Windows 10. With this conversion from “digital entitlement” to “digital license” for free upgrade users, Microsoft is trying to make the Windows 10 OS a little more stable for the many users who chose the free upgrade during the last year.
We will provide you with updates, as facts change.