This is one question that a lot of people have been asking, and Gabe Aul, the head of the Windows Insider program, finally answered it on Twitter today. Credit goes to Brad Sams at Neowin for catching this since it was a reply to another tweet.

Gabe states:

Once you upgrade W10 w/ the free upgrade offer you will able to clean reinstall Windows 10 on same device any time

There’s not a lot else to be said, but he also said they are working on some more information to make this more clear. What it does mean is that in order to get the free upgrade, you need to upgrade from an eligible device, and once done, you can then blow that away and do a clean install. I guess we’re not sure yet if that means you can do a reset using the Windows Recovery tools, or if you can actually start with a new hard drive or ISO in order to do the clean install.

Hopefully we’ll get the final bit of clarification on this soon, but since this is one of the most asked questions that I have seen, I felt it was worth letting everyone know.

Source: Gabe Aul via Neowin

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  • dishayu - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    That information doesn't really help clarify much. What counts as the "same device"? What If I change one of CPU, Motherboard, Boot SSD? Is it then the same PC or a different PC?

    What if I connect my SSD to a different machine, boot-up and do a clean re-install using recovery tool?
  • darqsyde242 - Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - link

    Typically, MS has defined "same device" as the Motherboard. However, it can trigger a re authorization if you replace a bunch of components (CPU, GPU, Drive, RAM, etc) all at once. But, even then it's typically an automated phone call to sort it out.
  • Da W - Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - link

    It triggered a reautorisation when a swapped my SSD!!!! Bunch of morons!
  • Samus - Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - link

    that's interesting. the only time I've ever had to reauthorize windows since WGA was introduced was when I swapped motherboards. either way, you can activate with a key 3 times over the internet and 1 additional time over the phone, per key.

    hopefully they will issue activation keys as part of the upgrade, making fresh installs easy.
  • tabascosauz - Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - link

    It's always via the automated call system, and never fails to re-authorize. Not hard to do.

    I'm concerned with how I will be able to reinstall? Can I get an ISO? Or do I have to do it thru some crappy new function of Windows Update/Recovery that messes everything up?
  • close - Thursday, June 4, 2015 - link

    If I'm upgrading my Windows 8.1 Pro on my device and then decide I wan to go back, will I be able to install 8.1 any time or am I stuck on Win 10?
  • therightclique - Thursday, June 4, 2015 - link

    Of course you'll be able to install Windows 8.1, assuming you have installation media for it.

    Why wouldn't you?
  • Zingam - Saturday, June 6, 2015 - link

    You can only replace your parts and reactivate just 4 times? Are they kidding?
    That's like if you replace your harddrive 4 times you have to buy a new PC?
  • jameskatt - Monday, June 8, 2015 - link

    A new hard drive makes your computer a new computer in Microsoft's eyes. How else can it tell otherwise?
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, June 12, 2015 - link

    Intel CPUs have an identifying number, probably so the NSA can track you more easily. There was a fuss about it long ago when it came out (Pentium Pro or something). I assume AMD chips also have this.

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