Windows 10 Pro activation key

I want to upgrade my Windows 10 Home version to the Pro version. I want to purchase an activation key.

The big retail stores sell them for ~$100 for an upgrade from the Home version, and far more for a fresh activation.

I looked on eBay, and there seem to be many different varieties, coded as FQC-10069, FQC-08789, etc.
Reading various comments on the meaning of the codes, I remain confused.

I already have Windows 10 Home installed, but not activated. I want to activate it with a Pro key.

People are selling sealed DVD versions, and on flash drives, etc. They are selling them from the USA (my location), and from Germany, etc.

Does any of the above matter?
Will all of the above simply activate my installation when I use the activation key that comes with the box that I purchase on eBay?

Is there a better place to purchase a Pro activation key?

I do not mind buying a key. I just do not want to be hosed on the price.

I am hoping that someone here has been through this exercise and can offer me guidance.

This may be one of those questions that can get this forum closed. So, maybe you can delete your post before people will start chiming in with answers.

To address @Jacek’s concern, please note the following:

I am not looking for anyone to post anything illegal or inappropriate.
I am seeking to purchase a legal, legitimate Windows 10 Pro activation key.

Do not read anything between the lines. There is nothing there.

I want to understand the various options for purchasing a key. I do not want to, for example, purchase one from Germany, only to find out that there are regional restrictions. I have no idea whether or not there are such restrictions, which is why I am asking if anyone knows.

Please provide only proper, legal advice.

The above goes for any topic. Nothing underhanded or illegal should ever be discussed.

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If anyone posts anything that will violate this site’s terms of service, or Microsoft’s terms of service, or anything remotely improper, I will delete this thread.

There is no ‘delete’ in this forum. You can flag it, but it will still be readable.

What you are doing is for a potential few bucks gain for you, you are putting this forum at risk of being closed for the rest of us.

There are absolutely sites that sell them but I can’t vouch for any of them. If anyone is curious about license keys, many businesses end up with piles of them they don’t end up using, and this is a great way to clean out their inventory so-to-speak.

This article scared me off last time I looked (suggests M$oft gets weird about international keys sometimes), but honestly, if the key works for 8 months and only costs $5, that’s a pretty huge savings. It might be worth the gamble. And some of those resellers offer a guarantee anyway - just nag them and they’ll send you a new key if it doesn’t work immediately.

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Persons that make illegal comments are to blame.
Persons that make illegal comments are the law breakers.

Responsible people having civilized discussions are not responsible for the actions of anyone other than themselves.

No one should be silenced due to the bad acts of others.

If anyone puts this forum at risk, by breaching the rules, or running afoul of the law, then they should be banned. Not the other way around. Silencing a legitimate topic of discussion is a form of a ban.

And that I, or anyone, should be admonished for trying to find a better deal on hardware, software, or any other commodity, is improper.

And that I, or anyone, should be admonished for wanting to learn about the various offerings, is improper.

Let’s never take the side of the criminals. Stopping legitimate discussion is doing so.


I want a sure thing.
If a key suddenly becomes invalid, then that was probably not a valid key. I want nothing to do with that.

I purchased two Home keys from Micro Center, when I purchased my 5950x systems from them.
I opened the shrink wrap on one of the packages, to use the flash drive to install Windows 10.

But I never peeled back the activation code, because at the time, I was still mulling over possibly switching to Linux.

Now that so much time has passed, I can no longer return my two Home packages.

If I find a good deal on Windows 10 Pro, then I can sell my sealed Home version (unless someone advises me that that is not permitted by Microsoft or some other governing body).

I might have to use my Home activation codes, and then purchase the Pro upgrade key, which will cost less than a straight Pro purchase. But I am still trying to figure this out

I will take a look at the link you provided. But I suspect that a $12 Pro key is not on the up-and-up.

By the way…
The reason I thought that better deals would be available for activation keys is after I purchased my Mini PC for $94.99 on Amazon.

That purchase included Windows 10 Pro, along with an entire computer.
So paying Micro Center, and other such places, over $100 for just the license, seemed like a rip-off.

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What advantages you are looking from getting a Pro version for farming, besides being able to RDP?


I want the Pro version 100% for Remote Desktop server – nothing else.

I have two plotting machines, and I have them connected to a KVM box that connects my keyboard, monitor, and mouse to the console of one of the computers. Switching between the two computers is not instant. It is not slow, but the slight delay is slightly annoying. The delay is with my monitor syncing its signal. It goes blank for a moment with each switch.

If I could RDP to plotter #2, it would be as close to instant as possible. It would simply be another window on the task bar of plotter #1.

I recently purchased a bare bones Win 10 Pro (pre-installed) mini PC, and connecting to it via RDP is great. The window opens as fast as any other window.

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If you google search, you may be able to find some alternates. Here is one, which I haven’t tried

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I did this very same thing a few months ago for Windows 11. I just went on to the Microsoft site and purchased the upgrade. It didn’t cost that much, can’t remember how much exactly, and the upgrade worked.

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Approximately 3 years ago, I purchased two laptops (different models) from Micro Center. Both came pre-installed with Windows 10 Home.

I purchased an upgrade CD from them, that did not work.
I went back to the store, with my laptops, and their tech people could not get it to work.

A Manager seemed to know that it would not work, and gave me a refund on the license upgrade. He was not too happy, because the activation code was revealed. The store had to eat the license.

He told me that I had to make the purchase directly from Microsoft, on-line.

I believe that cost me $99 – twice (once for each laptop).
After making the purchase, directly from Microsoft, I still could not get it to work (it has been too long for me to remember the issue).

I was able to get their tech support on the phone, and I had to give them remote control access to my laptops. It took them a while, but they got the upgrade to work.

Present time:
Searching Microsoft’s web site, as well as doing web searches, the only price I could find from Microsoft was $199.

As much as I want Remote Desktop server, I will not pay that much.

I just do not understand how new PCs are pre-installed with Windows 10 Pro, and some cost under $100. But try to purchase the Windows 10 Pro license on your own, and you get hosed.

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Simple. PC manufacturers get to load Windows (whatever ver) on their PCs for super cheap (because MS likes that to happen, and they want that to happen, so they sell vol licenses in humongous qty that way if you are an HP or Dell, etc.). BUT if YOU, little YOU, want to buy or upgrade, they’ll gladly take you to the cleaners for it. Why? Because they can (if you don’t figure out any other way). Capitalism.

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I just read the process involved for your Remote Desktop alternative.

That would work. However, I am vigilant about not adding 3rd party apps to my Chia boxes. I am keeping them clean from anything other than Chia’s official installation software.

If I were to make an exception, it would not be with anything from Google. They make great applications. However, they are mega-huge in the spyware business.

Nothing from Google will ever see my Chia boxes.
I don’t even open a browser (any browser) on my Chia boxes, to keep java scripts from running.

But thanks for your suggestion.

I was reminded that I had a computer with a retail Windows 10 Pro license.
That computer is long dead. So I will be checking with Microsoft about transferring the license.

I had purchased the license directly from Microsoft. I have their e-mail with my order number. I also logged into my Microsoft account, and they have a record of the sale. But no activation key code is listed, and I do not know the key.

Hopefully, I will be able to reach the right person at Microsoft and they will be able to work out the particulars for me to use my Pro license on one of my Chia boxes (the one on which I need Remote Desktop server to run).

If it’s just a plotting PC, why not just wipe and install Windows 10 Pro without a key, it will run quite happily with just a water mark sayings it’s not activated, Microsoft clearly allows this, as nothing ever happens, the OS continues running quite happily.

All my main PCs are activated, I’ve bought keys from a popular UK magazines website, and from a company called keysoff, and possibly other sites I don’t remember. If the key is ever revoked I guess you’d just get the not activated watermark.


I have considered doing so. My hesitation is due to the customizations that I have made.

  1. I have dozens of hard drives with NTFS mount points on the plotter. I would have to recreate everything, with all of the naming conventions that I have.

  2. I have customized my mouse settings in a way that is more Linux-like, and it was not easy to figure out. It involved Windows “Ease Of Access” – Hoovering the mouse to activate focus on the window below.

But unlike Linux, when Windows activates the Window, it raises the Window, which is annoying.
It also waits ½-second to activate the focus on a window, which might seem quick, but is a bit sluggish. ¼-second is more to my liking.

There are registry settings to customize both of the above, and I cannot find the one for preventing the active window from getting raised (I want a window raised only when I click on it – not when hoovering the mouse over it).

And I probably have other stuff set that does not cross my mind, and I will have to redo.

It would just be easier if I could activate what I have with a Pro key.

If Microsoft will not (or if I cannot reach them for guidance) transfer my no-longer-in-use Pro key from my dead system to my Chia box, then I will probably do a complete OS reinstall – time permitting.

Have you tried just using it that key.
As long ad its only on one system at a time you should be fine.
Sometines you need to speak to them to get it re-enabled, sometimes not.

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The computer that had it was a Home version with the Pro upgrade that I purchased from Microsoft.

I had a heck of a time getting it to work. A Microsoft support person had to remotely connect and run some cryptic commands to get it to work.

I do not even have the key’s code. What I do have is e-mail from Microsoft confirming my purchase.
My account on their web site also confirms my puchase.

So if I can reach the right person, I should be able to work this out.

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The amount of customizations you claim to have to put back in the new install would be less time spent then you keep typing on here. I really don’t know why your trying to make this a big retirement project. And run that lan cable along the baseboard and be done with it. You claim - time permitting are you working 50hrs week walking to work uphill in the snow both ways. Dude your killing us. The fact that you were silly enough to install Windows Home in the first place should have told you something.

I need some coffee…