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Win 10 "upgrade" install on new HDD?


Diamond Member
Dec 3, 2010
Had Win 7 installed on a PC and wanted to upgrade to 10. The HDD which had win 7 on it has been completely formatted and then it took a dump and died. Now I need to buy a new HDD and install Win 10 on it. Will I get pestered for a Win 10 activation license if I install 10 on this new HDD? Do I need to find my Win 7 key somehow?


Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
If you had ever installed and activated Windows 10 on that system, it should reinstall without any problems (even if you had gone back to Windows 7).

OTOH, if it never was upgraded to Windows 10 and you are just now doing it, you will need the Windows 7 key to complete the upgrade.

That being the case, you can always install Windows 10 without a key. Once the trial period runs out, it will still work with only a couple of pretty minor restrictions.

Windows 10 keys are plentiful via eBay and on the Internet. Microsoft doesn't seem to care about how widespread they are (though be aware they could disable them at any time), so there is that option as well.


Senior member
Nov 22, 1999
It would be handy to have your old Windows 7 key. I just used an old, previously unused windows 7 upgrade family pack key to do a fresh Windows 10 install a new system, and it activated without a hitch.