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Question Misled by Microsoft Store: Windows 10 Pro upgrade from Home, versus Windows 10 Enterprise

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,085
1,123
126
I won't belabor this -- changes in the software licensing models, the need of layers of security and password protection, changes from MS established practice for installation and upgrades, have all caused me to spend extra time and trouble.

I usually go for the Pro versions of Windows, although I have one system running under Ultimate (Win 7).

I have my (sig) computer system, which went "down" in January due to an accident with a (F***ing) vaping pen in a USB port. If you've been around the forums enough this year, maybe you read my threads and posts about it.

I replaced the motherboard and was up and running just fine by end of February. I take my damn time with this stuff, because panic and hurry lead to mistakes, more trouble, and stress. I had a backup system (Win 7) outfitted with additional software licenses so I could do my day-to-day work. And when I'd replaced the motherboard, everything was Kosher and fine, until middle of last month.

My tech-friends concur that it is probably the power-supply or PSU. It was a Seasonic Titanium 650W unit with a ten-year warranty. The indications suggest that it probably suffered some damage or degradation with the USB controller, or that some part of it had been damaged or degraded, and that several months later, it is failing to supply power to the PCI-E ports so that it doesn't display system post, and an add-in SATA controller-card which also posts during boot-time shows faint lettering on the monitor. I'd swapped out the graphics card with an identical unit for test, So it's not the dGPU. So -- yes -- it is (probably) possible that a Seasonic Titanium can fall short of its warranty period with damage done primarily to a now-replaced motherboard. If you have other observations, your comments would have value, but this isn't about hardware.

I decided -- after five years of planning, thinking about, and then deferring the purchase of a current model laptop, that I was finally going to do so. It was an opportune time. Since my backup computer -- a Sandy Bridge with Win 7 -- is eleven year old technology and seven-year-old hardware, and since it's always getting quite a workout doubling as an HTPC and feeding a monitor and an HDTV both, I didn't want that sort of interruption before fixing my Windows 10 system (in my sig). I have many things to do for the family and the household, and I'm moving forward in several different little projects.

So I could see that I could get my laptop this year, given all the stimulus freebies we got which would not do much good for anyone in my savings account. Even so, I was able to purchase the laptop on a credit card, and find that I had enough income next month to pay for the whole things without tapping savings. So what I was planning to save won't be saved, but I'm not "drawing on my saving account".

I didn't have a lot of time, ordinarily taking months to track down the purchase with the biggest promise. I wanted a top-end laptop. I looked at COSTCO before checking elsewhere. Coming back to COSTCO, they were offering an LG Gram 17 with a $200 discount, and I found, in fact, that the top-end Gram 17 with extra memory and a 1TB drive ALSO had a $200 discount. PC Magazine had glowing reports for the LG Gram 17. So I ordered it.

I knew I was getting Windows 10 Home with it, and I was willing to deal with the limitations. But it was important to connect the system to my Win 2012 R2 server upstairs. I've been through all this before, because my brother (upstairs) is using Win 7 Home (despite that I'd installed Win 10 Home on his box). Either way, the connection to the server is "more trouble" with a "Home" version. I won't go into the details of it.

So I was prepared to upgrade Win 10 Home on the LG Laptop to Win 10 Pro. I went out to the Microsoft Store, found the upgrade page, and began clicking and answering questions.

Here's the point of all this. I follow the old "Workgroup" model for my home network. There was a work-around for the Win 2012 installation which allowed me to do this, rather than connecting other systems to a domain. Moreover, I didn't like it when MS changed their account/password/log-in model to create a "Microsoft account" with your e-mail address. So with other Win 10 installations, I chose the "business" model option, which allows creating a traditional account-ID and password not too different from the Workgroup model. I wanted to create my internal household ID and password for the new laptop, knowing I would still be able to have it log in to my Microsoft account as needed.

MS Store asks you whether you wanted the Win Home upgrade as "Personal" or "[business] commercial", and I picked Commercial.

I got the upgrade for $90, but was puzzled as to what I saw after rebooting and checking the OS information under Settings and System. It showed "Windows 10 Enterprise". I thought about it, and figured that it was still all just "Kosher" and nothing to be concerned about. A few hours later, I did some web searches to find out just exactly what else I got with this "Enterprise" version. And I discovered the the license model used is not the same as the Win 10 Pro license. instead, it can cost you something like $84 per year, and I'm still not completely assured about that.

What did I get myself into, and how do I get out of it? Some preliminary searches tell me that I can actually "down-grade" an "Enterprise" OS to a "Pro" OS. But there are snags and pitfalls in all such things, from my experience.

Comments? Ideas? Assurances? Comfort? Tell me what you KNOW! The damn laptop cost me about $1,700, and the OS upgrade was $90. What do I have to expect from this "Enterprise" license? What do you recommend,?
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,085
1,123
126
So . . . See?! A person tries to rush through things too quickly, and things get borked. We hope the borking is temporary.

But -- what do you do in a panic? Go to Anandtech! Post a thread! Doesn't my thread look panicky? It does.

Like everything else with my computers and OS's, my tablets, my phone -- if I run into a snag, I go searching around on the web. Such is what I did before and after I started this thread. Windows Ten Forums, Microsoft Communi-titty, Answer Works . . . everywhere. You read through the threads and answers. There are misgivings where you see someone followed another's directions and the problem did not resolve. My own practice is to compile the results of these searches into a single Word document -- sometimes just Notepad -- so I can make further study (trying to stay calm, ya see . . . )

After enough of this poking around, it seemed that the problem would be solved by using either a Windows "generic" license key, an OEM White Box key that had never been installed or used, or a retail key. I'd have to go to Settings . . . . Windows Activation, and "Change License Key".

But what's this "generic" key, or how do you get from there to a fully activated installation?

Here's what happened.

I was checking my e-mail account for the e-mail I used back in 2014 to set up my MS account. Up popped my "order" and receipt from the MS Store. And the receipt said "Windows 10 Professional" -- not "Enterprise". At this time, I had shut down the laptop. And before I shut it down, it had shown Windows 10 Enterprise as fully activated. So when I booted up, I got the warning that my license or activation key was not valid, and Windows couldn't be activated. Yet it had shown "activated" with "Windows 10 Enterprise" before the shutdown. I was in more of a panic, but I was getting my act together, so to speak.

MajorGeeks had a "downgrade from Enterprise to Pro" procedure, snagged in my searches. It was the easiest to follow. I had a choice: I could follow it and add the license key from my unused White Box OEM disc, or I could use the commonly-mentioned generic license key.

I craftily decided to try the generic key, just to see what happened. The laptop activated, showing the operating system now as Windows 10 Pro, as opposed to Enterprise.

Apparently, this proves the value and beauty of digital licensing. Once the generic key had been entered under my MS account, activation proceeded to do its thing, conferring with some MS server, which likely recognized my hardware in association with my account. Then, it activated what was now the Pro version.

I'll see what happens when I boot up again and use the fingerprint feature to logon, but I think this has been totally licked and fixed. And thank God, it only cost me $90. I had expected when I bought the laptop that I would only spend about that much.

For people who read through this thread, knowing that all my posts are somewhat prolix, I apologize. But again, maybe it's useful information for people who end up in a similar situation with a new laptop -- choosing the "business/commercial" button instead of the "personal" button.

Would anyone think I'll be eager to get Windows 11? One friend I know told me they would force us to upgrade to it. Too . . . much . . . freaking . . . CHANGE! Change costs a lot of change!
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
52,589
7,262
126
Odd, I wouldn't think that "Enterprise" editions of Win10 would be sold in the MS Store. I thought that those were volume-license only.

Cool story bro.
 

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