Windows 11 Pro installed, machine has W11 Home key and won't accept a Pro key


tawnytim

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I run a computer repair and of the thousands of times I've installed Windows over the years I've not run across this.

I clean installed Windows 11 Pro onto a machine. When I input the license, it won't activate because it says there's a Windows 11 Home digital license associated with the machine. I've removed everything using slmgr.vbs and installed the key that way but with the same result.

This doesn't have to be Pro either if we can't settle this. I either need to get this key activated or downgrade to home(without having to reinstall).

Any thoughts?
 

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Winuser

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Is it an OEM key from a different computer?
 

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cereberus

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Are you sure you installed pro - if bios has an embedded bios key, it will install home.
 

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tawnytim

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Are you sure you installed pro - if bios has an embedded bios key, it will install home.
Yes, we definitely installed Pro. As is the case many times, Windows didn't pick up a key from the UEFI during installation so when this happens, we normally choose Pro and sometimes it activates, sometimes it doesn't. Very peculiar behavior. I don't know why sometimes Windows doesn't pick up a key from UEFI really, but lots of times it doesn't and most times once the machine comes online and hits the activation servers, it activates. Very rarely it does not activate which makes no sense as the key is SUPPOSED to be stored in UEFI as well as on the user's MS account.
 

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RJARRRPCGP

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As is the case many times, Windows didn't pick up a key from the UEFI during installation

Very rarely it does not activate which makes no sense as the key is SUPPOSED to be stored in UEFI as well as on the user's MS account.
I think I had something like this yesterday! I have retail and it randomly wasn't recognized without running one of the activation troubleshooters!
This is unacceptable, even when I did change hardware, as I didn't change the motherboard. I didn't even change the CPU, much less the whole shebang! I only changed the SSD and RAM, due to an unexpected file corruption error from CBS. Albeit, I was going to change the SSD anyways.
 

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Megahertz

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Did you buy the OEM license from a reliable seller?
As it's a OEM license if it has once been used on another computer it can't be used on another.
If the computer has a Home license on BIOS, it will install Home without asking to choose between Home or Pro.

Edit: Once running Home, if the Pro is a OEM key, change the license key with a generic Pro key. (Windows doesn't accept a OEM Pro key to upgrade). It will upgrade to Pro, restart but wont activate. Then change the license key with the OEM Pro. Now it will activate.

 
Last edited:

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RJARRRPCGP

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Did you buy the OEM license from a reliable seller?
As it's a OEM license if it has once been used on another computer it can't be used on another.
If the computer has a home license on BIOS, it will install Home without asking to choose between Home or Pro.
Once running Home, change the license key. It will upgrade to Pro, restart and activate.
I have a retail Pro, FYI.
 

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Superfly

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Yes, we definitely installed Pro. As is the case many times, Windows didn't pick up a key from the UEFI during installation so when this happens, we normally choose Pro and sometimes it activates, sometimes it doesn't. Very peculiar behavior. I don't know why sometimes Windows doesn't pick up a key from UEFI really, but lots of times it doesn't and most times once the machine comes online and hits the activation servers, it activates. Very rarely it does not activate which makes no sense as the key is SUPPOSED to be stored in UEFI as well as on the user's MS account.
Well in all my testing (of activation issues)I have never had issues like yours - please post screenshots that we can see what's happening.

" it won't activate because it says there's a Windows 11 Home digital license associated with the machine" is particularly confusing.
 

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Megahertz

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Edit: Once running Home, if the Pro is a OEM key, change the license key with a generic Pro key. (Windows doesn't accept a OEM Pro key to upgrade). It will upgrade to Pro, restart but wont activate. Then change the license key with the OEM Pro. Now it will activate.
 

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    i5 6600K - 800MHz to 4400MHz
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    4+4G GSkill DDR4 3000
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    (1) -1 SM951 – 128GB M.2 AHCI PCIe SSD drive for Windows 7 and Lubuntu
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SIW2

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it won't activate because it says there's a Windows 11 Home digital license associated with the machine

Perhaps a screenshot of that message would be enlightening.
 

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idgat

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In all my experiences of clean installs, the only way to get Pro on a device that originally had Home to start with, is to install Home first then use the Pro key to upgrade.

Clean install Home, activate, upgrade key, reboot.

Absolutely.
 

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SIW2

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It depends what is meant by a clean install. That might not necessarily mean the standard windows setup routine from booted official ms media.

e.g. a clean install could also desribe the apply method because it isnt a repair or upgrade install. Or maybe the media has something in it to ensure pro is installed.

Or maybe something else.
 

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Superfly

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In all my experiences of clean installs, the only way to get Pro on a device that originally had Home to start with, is to install Home first then use the Pro key to upgrade.

Clean install Home, activate, upgrade key, reboot.

Absolutely.
Absolutely not... done many of these. in VM's admittedly, without issue.

Edit:

Clean install meaning deleting the partitions in Setup when running the ISO in a VM.
 

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NavyLCDR

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Another snag is that an OEM product key cannot be used to upgrade Home to Pro. The first thing we need to see is a screenshot of:
slmgr /dlv

Then we can see what we are starting with.capture3.jpg

I clean installed Windows 11 Pro onto a machine.

This doesn't have to be Pro either if we can't settle this. I either need to get this key activated or downgrade to home(without having to reinstall).

Any thoughts?
Why would you not be able to do another clean install? Why would you have to downgrade Pro to Home in place?
 

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Bree

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Windows didn't pick up a key from the UEFI during installation so when this happens, we normally choose Pro and sometimes it activates, sometimes it doesn't. Very peculiar behavior.
When you choose Pro in the install Setup installs it with the generic Pro key. Activation is then based on whether or not this PC has an existing digital licence stored on the Microsoft activation servers. If it already has a digital licence for Windows 10/11 Pro it activates, if not it won't.

An unactivated install of Pro should get issued a digital licence by changing the installed key to a valid Pro key for Win7, Win8/8.1, or Win10/11, provided, that is, that the key hasn't been used recently to activate another machine.
 

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    fully 'Windows 11 ready' laptop. Windows 10 C: partition migrated from my old unsupported 'main machine' then upgraded to 11. A test migration ran Insider builds for 2 months. When 11 was released on 5th October it was re-imaged back to 10 and was offered the upgrade in Windows Update on 20th October.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.
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    Dell Lattitude E4310
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    unsupported machine: Legacy bios, MBR, TPM 1.2, upgraded from W10 to W11 using W10/W11 hybrid install media workaround.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.

Superfly

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Another snag is that an OEM product key cannot be used to upgrade Home to Pro. The first thing we need to see is a screenshot of:
slmgr /dlv

Then we can see what we are starting with.View attachment 31603


Why would you not be able to do another clean install? Why would you have to downgrade Pro to Home in place?
I am gonna have to test this (my keys are now re-enabled - don't ask - just used a Win 7 key that I know was expired and it activated - must be a year since I last used it - I will have to find a Pro OEM )
 

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SIW2

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Not directly relevant to the thread question, but related to activation

I just used the gatherosstate dance for win 11 on a machine that has never had win10 inflicted on it.
 

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idgat

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Clean install meaning deleting the partitions in Setup when running the ISO in a VM.
Clean install meaning deleting all partitions and installation from Windows MCT boot USB or Rufus boot USB.

Never done it in VM so i suspect that might be where the installation is identifying the host machine original Home license (whether the host device is Home or Pro). I know it shouldn't, but we are talking about Microsoft/Windows .... :unsure:

EDIT
I did read somewhere, many moons ago, that installing W10/11 in a virtual environment requires a separate/different/additional license key - in the true spirit to the letter of the EULA - irrespective of the version installed on the host device. What that has to do with it, anyone's guess.

EDIT
I have said elsewhere, I have 4 retail upgrade keys Home > Pro (legit retail purchases, not $2 eBay/Amazon/etc). I am running 6 devices at home/office and all are Pro upgrades. Obviously I've doubled up somewhere, but it makes no never mind, I doubt whether MS gives a fig as long as they're legit.

ADMISSION : I have never tried the generic Pro key on clean install for a device that's previously gone from Home > Pro upgrade, maybe that's the secret?
 
Last edited:

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Superfly

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Another snag is that an OEM product key cannot be used to upgrade Home to Pro. The first thing we need to see is a screenshot of:
slmgr /dlv
Correct..

I Installed Home with a Microsoft Windows 8.1 RTM Core OEM:NONSLP key and it activated
Screenshot 2022-06-17 100045.png

Changing the key to Win 8 RTM Professional OEM accepted the key but no upgrade - remained Home activated.

Changing the key to Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Retail did go the upgrade.
 

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