Windows has been the most widely OS by many, however getting the latest Windows license, in this case, Windows 10, is costly.
You can simply get a Windows 10 installer from the Microsoft website and install it on your PC. But in the process, Microsoft will ask for an activation key and this is where you’ll need a license key for the installation to be successful.
A license costs about $139 and will eventually require you to pay an additional fee for upgrades.
You can skip the activation and not use a license but you might miss out on some of the Window’s features.
Here are some ways to get cheaper or even free Windows 10 license for your PC
Upgrading your Windows 7/8/8.1
You can get an activated Windows 10 from an upgraded windows PC. Microsoft has already ended the free upgrade offer a few years back but there is still another way to get that upgrade, still free of any charge: using the Windows activation servers.
For this, you should first ensure that your source is a PC with at least a Windows 7/8/8.1 and is a genuine copy activated with a product key.
A product key can only be used on one PC or laptop at a time. But you can still create a copy of your Windows10 for another PC which will not require a license key anymore.
You should then upgrade your OS. The Windows 10 upgrade should be available for free. Just prepare your PC by backing up your data and disconnecting external devices. Afterward, go to Microsoft’s Download Windows 10 page and click on the Download Tool button. Alternatively, here’s a complete guide on how to create a free Windows 10 installation media.
Run the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool, and select either create installation media for another PC or select upgrade this PC now if you’re already using the device that you want to activate Windows 10 into.
Take note that Windows might not be able to find your license key should you have recently changed some of your PC’s hardware, most especially the motherboard. This means you’ll need to reactive your OS.
You should also be aware that using this method might cause complications if Microsoft is unsure of your eligibility for the upgrade.
Using Microsoft Discounts
Microsoft is actually giving great discounts to students, parents of a student, faculty members, or US military members. The discount amounting to 10% for a range of Microsoft products does not include license keys. But the devices already come with an activated Windows 10.
You just have to check with Microsoft if your school or organization is listed in their database as eligible.
If you only need a licensed Windows 10 OS, you can also get it for Free only if you are a student. You can avail of this offer via OnTheHub which provides free Windows 10 Education for students. However, note that it is also subject to your school’s eligibility.
Should you find your university or high school listed as eligible, you can get a free licensed windows 10 which you can use even long after you graduated.
Purchasing Windows License from third-party sellers
If you’re simply looking for a cheaper license key, you can rummage the internet and find tons of third-party sellers, offering Windows 10 keys at a much cheaper price. The license keys you’ll be getting are OEMs or Original Equipment Manufacturer versions, which do not have any difference from the ones you can purchase from Microsoft.
Here are some of the marketplaces and sites where you can find merchants selling Windows 10 license keys for much cheaper prices.
(All prices mentioned are as of the date this article was written)
These sites are not black or grey markets for Windows key licenses. What you can find in them are OEM licenses which will work just fine as long as it is from legitimate sellers. For these, we advise that it is best for you to stay away from auction sites, peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing sites, or any other websites offering suspiciously cheap licenses.
If you choose to buy from third parties, you can also call Microsoft to assist you in using the license keys even if you did not buy them.
Also, note that OEMs are not actually published by Microsoft. This means that it will work for your PC but it will not be covered by Microsoft’s security warranties.
Buying second-hand license keys
One of the last options that you can also consider is to buy a used windows license key or a computer with one. This might be much cheaper than buying directly from Microsoft or third-party marketplaces.
You can buy maybe from friends or even Craigslist or eBay. But with this, you should also still be very cautious and careful. Make sure that despite being used, the license you’ll get is legitimate and won’t cause any complications for your device.
You should also be aware that this is against the license agreement, hence considered illegal. But you can still take the chance since Microsoft is not that aggressive when it comes to patrolling license keys. Just take note that with buying license keys illegally, there is the possibility that you will be deactivated without any notice.
If you really want to use Windows 10 as your computer OS, the best and safest way will be to buy directly from Microsoft. This will give you the perks and the security that comes with the license key. But we understand that not everyone can spend a fortune on a digital license. For that, feel free to make use of the methods above.