In Windows 10, in addition to versions that differ in functionality (Home, Pro, and so on), there are also different types of licenses that show how the key was purchased and whether it was attached to a specific PC. There are 5 ways to get a license key:
- Retail / ESD channel. The most common option: the key was purchased from an authorized dealer or on the Microsoft website. It can also be obtained when upgrading from previous versions of Windows (7 or 8). Of the advantages – after deactivation on one PC, the key can be used on another.
- OEM channel. Most likely, you have a laptop or tablet on Windows: in this case, the manufacturer pre-purchases the keys from Microsoft and preinstalls Windows. You cannot use such a key on another PC, but you can, of course, reinstall the system on the original one.
- Volume_MAK. The so-called corporate license: often large manufacturers buy a key (or keys), which can be used only a certain number of times (sometimes even one). For obvious reasons, such a license cannot be on the home computer of a law-abiding user.
- Volume_KMS Another type of volume license. The key can be activated immediately on a large number of PCs, but it must be authenticated at least once every 180 days. Actually, the keys to KMS activators do not pass it, so once every six months, you need to re-activate.
- Evaluation. Displayed as TIMEBASED_EVAL channel. This is a license that is issued free of charge, but for a certain period: for example, the Enterprise edition can be absolutely legally used for 90 days.
Checking the type of license is quite simple – open PowerShell as administrator (the easiest way to do this is by right-clicking on the Start menu and selecting the appropriate item) and enter the command slmgr / dli:
An important warning: starting from build 1703, the SLMGR utility may show the key of your version of Windows by default, and it obviously will not match the real one. But the type of license it indicates is correct.