Microsoft had heavily been marketing a 1 Year Free Upgrade for Windows 10 from Windows 7 and windows 8.1. That 1 Year Ended on the 29/07/2016. Now Microsoft at different levels; website, technical support and marketing state the Free Upgrade has Ended however they do so with some inconsistencies. There is a post about Accessibility users with a slightly newer upgrade assistant here.
Despite all the statements from Microsoft Marketing stating the Free Upgrade has Ended it appears:
Slight changes have been made to Windows 10 Installation Media*.
No changes have been made to Windows 10 Activation Servers**.
At current the Windows 10 RS1 .iso will accept Windows 7/8.1 OEM and Retail keys during installation. This is expected as otherwise users will install the incorrect Edition. However fresh keys also continue to activate systems not already been made Windows 10 Device. For more Details see Download a Windows 10 OEM and Retail .iso.
* 07/08/2016 There appears to have been some minor changes to the Windows 10 RS1 Media Creation Tool and Windows Installation Files is an Upgrade Install is attempted. These changes mean the user is asked for a Windows 10 Product Key and Windows 7/8.x keys are rejected. These changes are very minor and can be overcame with a few clicks.
** 10/08/2016 Tested 3 systems with Windows 7 Pro OEM Licenses that weren't Windows 10 Pro Devices. Clean installation of Windows 10 Pro with the product key input during installation of afterwards in settings lead to Microsoft Product Activation and the systems being designated Windows 10 Pro Devices.
** 10/08/2016 Tested the 10130 Upgrade Path in a Fresh VM. It still works:
It is extremely unlikely that Windows 10 RS1 installation media stops accepting Windows 7/8.x keys during installation as the wrong Edition of Windows may be installed resulting in many Product Activation issues…
If the Product Key is rejected in System/Settings when Windows 10 tries to contact the activation server it'll also cause Product Activation issues. I don't think this is likely to happen; it depends if Microsoft want to get serious about stopping offering the Free Upgrade…
If you haven't upgraded to Windows 10 TH2 you will get a 2 day countdown from the GWX (Get Windows 10 Nagware).
I decided to change my date/time in my UEFI BIOS and I got this.
The Windows 10 TH2 Media Creation Tool seems to be unphased by the date change however.
Note that the Windows 10 TH2 Media Creation Tool seems to be completely unphased by the fact that the system's date has changed. This may be because either it connects to Microsoft Servers and the servers report the true date or alternatively because Microsoft have no intention on stopping the Free Upgrade. More testing needs to be done.
If the Free Upgrade period ends as Microsoft Marketing are aggressively stating (personally I don't think it will as Windows 7/Windows 8.1 Product Keys are too embedded with Windows 10 product Activation) then you have a mere 4 days left to upgrade if you haven't already.
This guide here gives detailed notes on A Clean Installation:
I made a Recovery Drive of Windows 10 14383 from my Latitude 7350 and clean installed it on an OptiPlex 390 system which has never been made a Windows 10 Pro Device:
I then used the OptiPlex 390's Windows 7 OEM Key to activate Windows 10 RS1 Insider Preview.
I have completed the same test with build 14393. There isno audio here as the results are identical:
Notes: As we have everything updated in these Insider builds to match the final release in order to stamp out the last bugs – this includes the license agreement, Edition and lack of watermark. Then we can say for sure that as far as the Operating System is concerned Unused Windows 7 OEM keys are still accepted. Any changes to Product Activation are not incorporated into the installation media but this not rule out changes in the Microsoft Product Activation Server.
My personal opinion is the Free Upgrade will continue after the 29th of July… Windows 7/Windows 8.x keys are too embedded into Windows 10 and the deliberate breakage of product activation without time for testing on an Insider Preview build is a really silly move for Microsoft.
I have bought several second hand Windows 7 OptiPlex 390/790/7010 models this week that aren't yet upgraded to Windows 10. I plan on using these to see if the Free Upgrade will continue to work after the 1 Year Free Upgrade period. I will report my findings…
Some of the Media Creation Tools are giving a 404 error… The most problematic ones are the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant (needed for Windows Vista and Windows XP systems) and Windows 8.1 with Update 2 Media Creation Tool.
File Name and Information: WindowsSetupBox.exe (4,839 KB)
Remarks: Was Windows 8.1 Retail only blocking Windows 8 Retail Keys and all OEM keys. Tricks with the Windows 8 Retail Only Downloader and generic product keys could be used with a Windows 8 Retail key.
Windows 8.0 Retail Only Downloader (requires a product key) – 404 Error
The fact that the latest version of Internet Explorer supported for Windows Vista is Internet Explorer 9 means Windows Vista has effectively reached End of Life. No Security Updates for Internet Explorer may make it no longer safe to use.
Google are also dropping Windows Vista support for Chrome in April 2016 as they agree that Microsoft no longer actively support this Operating System:
Almost all major venders eg. Intel, AMD, NVidia provide no new drivers for Windows Vista. This means new peripherals may not work with a Windows Vista PC.
What to Do if I'm Still Running Vista?
First you should assess the value of your system… If your systems hardware passes the minimum system requirements to Windows 10, most PCs shipped with Windows Vista will be capable then you should consider migrating to Windows 10. Unfortunately there is no "Official Free Upgrade" however the "Unofficial Free Upgrade" path via the expired Windows 10130 Insider Preview Works Well… I document this in detail here Windows Vista → Windows 10 Insider Build 10130 (Clean) → Windows 10 TH2 Pro. Although the Insider Preview Build 10130 expired in October 2015 workarounds to change the date to September 2015 still allows the Windows Insider Preview 10130 to act as an eligible Windows Edition to upgrade to Windows 10 TH2 Pro. This "Unofficial Free Upgrade" path has worked for the last 3 months…
If your system was very low end and fails to pass even these minimum requirements its time to buy a new system. If on a budget a second hand ex-business Dell OptiPlex 780 Desktop or Latitude E series with a Windows 7 OEM license and free upgrade to Windows 10 TH2 are good choices. Personally I do not recommend upgrading a system which contains DDR RAM, IDE HDDs or a single core processor. Anything like Intel 915GM graphics or worse won’t cut Windows 10 and even you get it to install it will be woefully slow. The minimum hardware I would recommend upgrading is a Dell latitude D820 with a Intel Core Duo T7200, 2 GB DDR2 PC2-5300 RAM and Intel 945 graphics.
Checking Windows 10 System Requirements
If you aren’t sure whether your legacy hardware running Windows XP/Vista is capable of running Windows 10 run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant (which runs on XP and Vista). The system requirements are almost identical for 32 Bit Windows 8.1 and 32 Bit Windows 10.
It will scan your computer to determine whether its compatible:
Click see compatibility details:
The compatibility details may show some of the following details to review:
You are looking for it to state issues specifically about your hardware.
The 4 issues it lists in this case aren’t significant:
Install an App to play a DVD. – No problem install VLC player after Windows 10 TH2 installation.
SecureBoot isn’t compatible with your PC. – No problem Windows 10 can run in a legacy BIOS using the MBR partition scheme. It won’t perform as well and will be less secure than a newer system with these technologies.
Sidebar Gadgets aren’t supported. – No problem, few people use these and the Apps in the Windows 10 Store are far superior.
Your screen resolution isn’t compatible with snap. – No problem the screen resolution for Windows 10 was lowered to support 800×600 as a minimum.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here's an excerpt:
About 1,000,000 people visit the Seattle Space Needle every year. This blog was viewed about 4,100,000 times in 2015. If it were the Space Needle, it would take about 4 years for that many people to see it.
Many Dell systems (and other OEMs) are not shutting down, restarting or coming out of standby correctly after the upgrade to Windows 10 TH1. When the system does not shutdown properly the display goes black but you can hear the system fans run in the background and the battery drains. You have to hold down the power button for 10 seconds to power it down fully. Then you can power it back up.
This seems mainly due to the Intel Management Engine Interface in particular driver version 22.214.171.1243 (Windows 10 TH1) or 126.96.36.1997 (Windows 10 TH2).
The latest driver by Intel is available here version 188.8.131.520:
This driver seems to work on many Dell's with the same issue. My Latitude 7350 for instance lists 184.108.40.2063 as the latest driver. Installation of the driver from the Inspiron 7347 gives it version 220.127.116.112.
Likely the same fix should apply to all of these systems:
I'd been complaining for at least a few years for various reasons about the lack of Downloadable Installation .isos in particular for Windows 7 OEM and Windows 8.x OEM licenses. It seems Microsoft have read all my complaints and made a move to deploy Windows 10 TH2 and later in a manner I would call proper Digital Deployment of Windows 10.
Good news from Gabe Aul…
"Device activation improvements: We have received a lot of feedback from Insiders on making it easier to activate Windows 10 on devices that take advantage of the free upgrade offer to genuine Windows by using existing Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 product keys. If you install this build of the Windows 10 Insider Preview on a PC and it doesn’t automatically activate, you can enter the product key from Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 used to activate the prior Windows version on the same device to activate Windows 10 by going to Settings > Update & security > Activation and selecting Change Product Key. If you do a clean install of Windows 10 by booting off the media, you can also enter the product key from prior Windows versions on qualifying devices during setup. Refer to the Insider Hub for more information on these activation improvements including requirements."
Test 1: The Windows 10 TH2 Beta Build 10565 Pro .iso accepted the Windows 7 Professional OEM key from my Windows 7 Professional COA:
Inputting the Windows 7 Professional OEM key from the COA took me to the license agreement screen:
This means Windows 7 OEM keys on the COA should also be usable to activate Windows 10.
Windows 8.x UEFI BIOS Embedded SLP OEM Key Test
Test 2: The Windows 10 TH2 Beta Build 10565 Home .iso automatically input the Windows 8.1 (Home) UEFI BIOS SLP key and took me straight to the license agreement screen.
This means that Windows 8.x OEM SLP keys including "with Bing" Editions should automatically be input with Windows 10 Installation media and activate.
Test 3: The Windows 10 TH2 Beta Build 10565 Pro .iso didn't acknowledge the Windows 8.1 (Home) UEFI BIOS SLP key and asked for a product key.
The wording of this screen will cause confusion for those with UEFI BIOS Embedded SLP keys and it would be better if the installation media recognised the fact that there was a Windows 8.1 (Home) UEFI BIOS SLP key and stated:
Windows 10 Home Product Key Detected. Exit setup and begin installation from Windows 10 Home Installation Media or Input a Windows 10 Pro key to change Edition.
Previous Installation Feedback
Previously feedback was given in great detail by myself and others here:
Since Microsoft have taken this feedback into account and also made downloadable installation media for all Windows 10 OEM and Retail Editions. The digital distribution of Windows 10 is now almost flawless certainly on par to what we recommended.
Now the only problem is those systems with the faded Windows 7 COAs however if a system has a faded COA and has previously been upgraded to Windows 10 then it can be reinstalled without a product key and as it is already a Windows 10 Device will activate automatically online.
The only systems that will have a problem with the Windows 10 Upgrade are those with a failed Windows 7 Installation e.g. from software corruption or a failed hard drive/solid state drive and a faded COA. Fortunately for most Windows 7 systems Dell have shielded most COAs in the battery compartment to prevent the COA from fading.
The recommended by Dell source is Dell Drivers and Downloads but I prefer the Dell FTP Website as the later consists of direct download links and is hence usually more reliable.
Note on the FTP Website all drivers for all OS are listed and you must select the ones which apply to you (WB64a = Windows 8.1 64 Bit, W1064a = Windows 10 64 Bit).
Note in all of Dells official services the drivers are listed alphabetically by category with applications before drivers.
This is not the install order and the system likely won't function optimally if the drivers are installed in the order listed by Dell…
We have asked Dell via IdeaStorm to list the drivers in the correct install order.
When downloading all the system drivers I recommend saving each driver in an appropriately labelled folder and adding a numeric prefix to the folder. This will ensure that you install the drivers in the recommended order.
If Dell don't support Windows 10 but support Windows 7/Windows 8.1 in most cases the drivers required will be inbuilt or obtained via Windows 10 Update. Otherwise use the Windows 7 driver versions where instructed.
For even older systems that are capable I had listed an assortment of Unofficial Drivers for Windows 7 which covered most systems shipped with Windows Vista or Late Windows XP systems. Most of the drivers in these unofficial driver sets will be inbuilt into Windows 10 or automatically obtained via Windows 10 Update.
Installation Order of Dell System Drivers
If upgrading your OS from an older version of Windows to a newer one it is recommended to have the latest Dell BIOS firmware which may have enhancements which make the system run more reliable under the new version of Windows. Care should be taken when updating the BIOS as a failed BIOS update means a dead motherboard see Updating the BIOS for details.
You should only update your BIOS from your old Windows install if its stable and not infested with Spyware/Malware!
You may also have firmware updates for separate components such as hard drives or solid state drives. Firmware updates may also have enhancements which make the system run more reliable under the new version of Window. Care should be taken when updating the firmware as a failed firmware update can lead to a non-functional drive see Updating the Firmware of a Solid State Drive or Hard Drive for Details.
There are also firmware update for optical drives (CD, DVD, Blu-Ray) and the instructions for updating the firmware of these components are similar to the Hard Drive and Solid State Drives. Care should be taken when updating the firmware as a failed firmware update can lead to a non-functional optical drive.
Storage Conroller "F6FLPY" SATA Preinstallation Drivers
These are drivers (labelled F6FLPY Drivers for historical reasons) which need to be loaded before the Windows Installation completes in order to access the storage controller to install Windows on the HDD/SSD.
As Windows 10 Installation Media is likely going to be kept up to date this step is not necessary for the bulk of Windows 10 Installations so ignore this step.
Dell System (Notebook/Desktop) Software – Under System Utilities
Dell System Software is not needed for Windows 10 in the bulk of cases however I recommend installing it if you are using a system shipped with Windows 7 that has a Docking Station use the latest Windows 7 version here that will work with Windows 10.
Chipset Drivers – Intel Chipset
Your system will have either an Intel (most Dell systems) or AMD chipset… Right click the Start Button and select System. Under processor you will be told whether or not you have an Intel or AMD chipset.
If using an Intel system (most systems) install the Intel Chipset Installation Utility/Intel Chipset Device Software before any of the other drivers. The latest version can be obtained from Intel.
Chipset Drivers – Intel Engine Interface Driver
Next if using an Intel system the Intel Management Engine Interface Driver (also known as Intel AMT/HECI). If using an Intel system right click the start button and select Device Manager. Under system Devices look for an entry called Intel Management Engine Interface. Look at the driver version:
If it is driver version 18.104.22.1683 note that it has a serious flaw which results in a black screen that can't be exited without forcing a shutdown after the system goes into standby.
Intel Rapid Storage Technology Applications – Under SATA Drives and/or CPU
If using an Intel system right click the start button and select Device Manager. Under IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers look for an entry called Standard SATA AHCI Controller. Right click it select properties, then select Details and change the property to hardware IDs:
Hint press [Ctrl] and [ f ] on this page and search for your hardware ID e.g. 1E02 as the GIF shows meaning I should use driver version 22.214.171.1248.
Intel Rapid Storage Technology is available to download from Intel download the version that matches your hardware ID.
126.96.36.1991 (6-7th generation)
Intel® 200 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI/RAID Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_A282)
7th Generation Intel® Core™ Processor Family Platform I/O SATA AHCI/RAID Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_A102)
Intel® 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI/RAID Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_A103)
6th Generation Intel® Core™ Processor Family Platform I/O SATA AHCI/RAID Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_9D03)
188.8.131.521 (4th-5th generation)
Intel(R) 9 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_8D02)
Intel(R) 9 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_9C83)
Intel(R) 9 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_9C82)
Intel(R) 9 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_8C83)
Intel(R) 9 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_8C82)
Intel(R) 8 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_9C03)
Intel(R) 8 Series/C220 Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_9C02)
Intel(R) 8 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_8C03)
Intel(R) 8 Series/C220 Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_8C02)
184.108.40.2068 (3rd generation)
Intel(R) C600 Series Chipset SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1D02)
Intel(R) 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1E02)
220.127.116.111 (1st-3rd generation)
Intel(R) 7 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1E03)
Intel(R) Mobile Express Chipset SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1C03)
Intel(R) Desktop/Workstation/Server Express Chipset SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1C02)
Intel(R) 5 Series 4 Port SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3B29)
Intel(R) 5 Series 6 Port SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3B2F)
Intel(R) 5 Series/3400 Series SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3B22)
18.104.22.1683 (1st-2nd Generation)
Intel(R) ICH10R SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3A22)
Intel(R) ICH10D/DO SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3A02)
Intel(R) ICH9M-E/M SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2929)
Intel(R) C600 Series Chipset SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1D02)
Free Fall Sensor – Under System Utilities
This is mainly just present for newer laptops. The free fall sensor is designed to help prevent data loss from the hard drives which may be caused by dropping of the unit or autorotation of touchscreens.
Sometimes Dell will also list the Free Fall sensor under the Chipset category.
Video Driver – Under Video
There are in general variants of video cards present in Dell systems. If you are unsure identify it using the hardware IDs see Checking Hardware IDs in the Device Manager in Windows 10 by doing this you should determine if a driver is installed for the video controllers. Microsoft are working with the big 3 vendors Intel/AMD/nVidia and most the drivers for the video cards will be applied automatically via Windows Update.
If the Display Adapter isn't labelled "Microsoft Basic Display Adapter" then Windows 10 has likely obtained the driver automatically via Windows Update so I would advise not attempting to install drivers unless Dell have listed Windows 10 compatible drivers.
If you have a 2012 or newer system and Dell provide Windows 10 drivers your laptop may have switchable graphics and require the Intel driver to be installed first then the corresponding nVIDIA/ATI video driver for full performance. There may be a few variants of graphics cards for a laptop and you must select the correct ones.
If you have a Windows Vista/Late Windows XP system upgraded to Windows 10 and the display adapter is labelled "Microsoft Basic Display Adapter" you may need to install the Windows Vista driver via the device manager in the few cases where Windows Update doesn't get the driver.
Touchpad – Under Input
This is for laptops only. There are 4 main brands of Touchpads used in Dell systems Synaptics, Alps, Cyprus and Elan. If Dell list a Windows 10 driver install it. Otherwise see my notes in Dell Touchpad Drivers where I have attempted to list Dells compliment of drivers, and compatible systems at the bottom tested by end users. Forcing installation of a newer driver via the Device Manager often works better than inbuilt Windows 10 support or installation of a Windows 7/8.1 driver.
Audio – Under Audio
Windows 10 supports many legacy devices natively or obtains the driver automatically via Windows Update. I recommend only installing the Dell driver if Dell list it as Windows 8.1/10 compatible or installing the Windows 7/8.1 driver only if you experience audio problems.
Ensure you install any audio drivers before audio applications and only install audio applications if Dell list them as Windows 10 compatible.
Network Ethernet Driver – Under Network
This usually mentions Ethernet/LAN/Broadcom/Realtek in the description. Sometimes Intel, Atheros but the latter two can also be the wireless card. Many newer laptops are being sold without an Ethernet port to save space and rely on the wireless cards only.
If you have an Intel Ethernet Controller you can install the latest driver from Intel.
Microsoft are working with these main vendors to ensure that these drivers are inbuilt to Windows 10. In most cases you won't need to install any drivers unless Dell list a Windows 10 compatible driver.
Wireless/Bluetooth Card – Under Network
For >2012 systems the Wireless/Bluetooth are usually the same card. For <2012 systems they were 2 separate cards and Bluetooth was optional. For <2010 Desktops in most cases there was no wireless card.
If you have an Intel Wireless Card download the latest Wireless driver here and Bluetooth driver here.
Microsoft are working with these main vendors to ensure that these drivers are inbuilt to Windows 10. In most cases you won't need to install any drivers unless Dell list a Windows 10 compatible driver.
With Windows 10 there are many issues with Wireless Cards:
Broadcom Wireless Cards continuously disconnect saying the connection is limited – this is likely a driver issue and I hope Broadcom/Microsoft release a newer driver via Windows Update. In my personal systems I have replaced all Broadcom Wireless cards with Intel Wireless cards.
Very old Intel Wireless Cards continuously disconnect and this can be fixed by disabling the power management setting of the card in the device manager.
Keyboard/Mouse Drivers – Under Input
There may be additional input drivers if you purchased a non-standard keyboard for a desktop e.g. a wireless or Bluetooth keyboard. If using a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse install the keyboard/mouse drivers after the Bluetooth driver. If your keyboard/mouse is Logitech branded you should install the latest version of Logitech Setpoint.
TV Tuners/Other Video (If applicable) – Under Video
Many systems don't have these and are only added via customisation. With the loss of Media Centre in Windows 10 these will be pretty useless.
Dell Quickset or Dell ControlPoint or On Screen Display – Under Applications
Dell Quickset is for the power settings and Fn keys. In some systems this is called Controlpoint (some Vostros/Latitudes/Precisions) or On Screen Display (some Alienwares/Inspirons). Install the Windows 10 application if Dell list one otherwise install the Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 application i.e. install the latest application available. If your system shipped with Windows Vista see Unofficial Driver Sets.
For some newer Latitude (E Series)/Mobile Precision Workstations Dell Quickset was replaced by Dell ControlPoint but its not always listed under Driver and Downloads or these models. If you cannot locate Dell ControlPoint System manager which should control the volume meters on these models then use the following ones here:
R312259 A21. Version 1.7.10000 Update Package Windows 7 64 bit
R312260 A21, Version 1.7.10000 Update Package Windows 7 32 bit
Webcam Driver – Under Input
Webcam drivers will be natively included in Windows 10. Application wise Windows 10 has a Camera App and as a consequence Dell Webcam Central does not support Windows 10.
Like Dell Webcam central the Camera App is limited. If you want a nice screen recording and webcam recording Application I advise using the free version (ensure you click get it free) of Debut Video Capture. The free installer is called debutsetup.exe and the pro installer is called debutpsetup.exe.
Mobile Broadband Drivers – under Communications
Most users don't have these but the drivers are there for the users that do.
These are the main drivers and I have tried to give a basic guide to cover all systems. There will of course be some other variants from model to model and customisations within the same model such as mobile broadband cards, TV tuners and other drivers depending on your systems configuration.
There may also be security drivers for the business Latitude and Optiplex series.
I am proud to say my website the DellWindowsReinstallationGuide Unofficial Windows Reinstallation Guides for Dell Computers (although most guides work on other OEM systems) has now reached 5,000,000 views and 2,500,000 visitors.
My guides are now updated for Windows 10 including the documentation of the 2 month free upgrade path for Windows XP/Vista users.
YOU CANNOT CLEAN INSTALL INITIALLY OTHERWISE YOU PASS UP YOUR FREE UPGRADE
UPGRADE TO WINDOWS 10 VIA WINDOWS UPDATE OR BEGINNING THE WINDOWS 10 SETUP WITHIN THE WINDOWS 10 DESKTOP. THIS WILL REGISTER YOUR DEVICE AS A WINDOWS 10 DEVICE AND YOU MAY THEN CREATE A RECOVERY DRIVE AND CLEAN INSTALL.
From my extensive testing of the new Microsoft Product Testing introduced into Microsoft Windows 10 RTM I can tell you the following:
Direct clean installation from Windows 10 Installation Media, skipping product key twice or using the generic key leads to an unactivated product.
Using the .iso to upgrade from the Windows Desktop will only allow activated versions of Windows to release the license agreement screen. This only allows Activated versions of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 Insider 10130.
For Windows Insiders Windows 10130 is then updated to Windows 10162 via Windows Update and this is updated via Windows Update to Windows 10240 (RTM) .
Once the initial upgrade to Windows 10240 is complete the device is registered to Microsoft as a Windows 10 Device.
Once a device is registered, you may create a Recovery Drive and Clean Install.
The Recovery Drive may be used on other devices but you will encounter Microsoft Product Activation issues if the device isn't initially upgraded via Windows Update and Registered as a Windows 10 10240 RTM device.
The product activation is tied to the device. You can reinstall using a different Microsoft Account or Local Account and the device will activate.
You may change minor hardware such as a SSD/HDD and clean install. I changed from a SSD to HDD for a quick test and Microsoft Product Activation was applied.
It seems Windows Insiders with Build 10130 will be passed as eligible to reach Windows 10 RTM even those who lacked a Windows 7/8.1 Base license. Those who look to join the Windows 10 Insider program after the Windows 10130 .isos have been removed will not be able to install and activate Windows 10 Insider 10240 RTM.
Windows 10 Build 10240 should be offered via Windows Update for Windows Insiders follow the instructions here:
Windows Insiders may leave the Windows Insider Program once on Windows 10 RTM as demonstrated.
There is no expiry date. no watermark on the desktop and it says Windows 10 Pro in System. The EULA does not mention prerelease software.
After the Windows 10 Upgrade via the Store you may use the inbuilt features to create a Recovery Drive which can be used to clean install Windows 10 Build 10240. The Recovery Drive can be used to install Windows 10 Pro RTM on another Device so appears to be generic Windows Installation Media Locked to an Edition but if the device has never been updated to Windows 10240 via Windows Update you will encounter Microsoft Product Activation Issues and be prompted to buy Windows 10. I tested a Recovery Drive created on a Windows 10 Build 10240 VM on a Latitude D820 with Windows 10162 and encountered the Microsoft Product Activation issues. See here for details:
It seems like Windows Insiders will be offered Windows 10 product keys possibly through an updated Microsoft Store and when Windows 10 RTM comes out, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users will be offered product keys via the Get Windows 10 App.
Note I also tested the ability to move documents, pictures, music and videos to another drive it seems to not work correctly: