The most commonly employed operating system worldwide is Windows, which can be installed on personal computers (PCs). When you purchase a new PC, you’ll need to transfer your license from the old one. This guide will offer step-by-step directions on how to achieve this.

Understanding Your Windows License

To get started, let’s establish a basic understanding of your Windows license. When you purchase Windows 10 or 11, you are essentially buying the license to use that software. This license is unique to your computer and is what verifies your software’s authenticity. 

But what occurs when you acquire a new computer? You’d certainly want to transfer your license to the new PC, right? 

Checking Your License Type

Before proceeding, it’s important to check the type of your Windows license: OEM, retail, or volume. This information is crucial as it determines if you can transfer your license. Retail licenses are fully transferable, while OEM licenses are tied to the initial PC on which they are first activated. Volume licenses, meant for businesses, have their own set of rules.

Unlinking Your License From The Old PC

To proceed with the license transfer, you first need to unlink your license from the old PC. To do this, you need to connect your Windows license to your Microsoft account. Here’s the step-by-step process:

  1. Open the ‘Settings’ app on your PC. You can do this by clicking on the ‘Start’ button and then the ‘Settings’ gear icon.
  1. Select ‘Update & Security’, 

then select ‘Activation’.

  1. Here you will see the ‘Add an account’ option. Click on it and sign in to your Microsoft account. Make sure you’re using the same Microsoft account that you want to link with your Windows license.
  2. After signing in, your license will be linked to your Microsoft account.

What you have essentially done is store your Windows 10 or 11 license in your Microsoft account. This process makes the transfer to your new computer much smoother. 

Please note that if you don’t see the ‘Add an account’ option, it means your license is already linked to your Microsoft account. In that scenario, you can proceed to the next step, which is transferring your license to the new PC. 

Linking Your License To The New PC 

Before you proceed, make sure you are signed into your Microsoft account on your new PC. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Open the ‘Settings’ app.
  1. Click on ‘Update & Security’, 

then ‘Activation’.

  1. If Windows isn’t activated, you’ll see an option to ‘Troubleshoot’. Click on it.
  2. The troubleshooter will detect the issue and give you the option to activate Windows using your Microsoft account. Click on ‘I changed hardware on this device recently’.
  3. Sign in to your Microsoft account.
  4. You’ll see a list of devices linked to your Microsoft account. Select the PC you want to reactivate Windows on, then click on ‘Activate’.

By following these instructions, you should be able to transfer your Windows 10 or 11 license to your new PC. Remember, this process only works with retail licenses. OEM and volume licenses have different rules. Understanding the type of your license is crucial before you start this process.

Troubleshooting License Transfer Issues 

Sometimes, things might not go as smoothly as planned. You may encounter challenges during the transfer procedure. In such cases, the built-in Windows troubleshooter can guide you through resolving these issues.


Transferring a Windows 10 or 11 license to a new PC isn’t a complex endeavor. With a clear understanding of your license type and the correct path to unlinking and linking your license, you’ll have your new PC set up in no time.