Can You Use Your Laptop Windows Key on Your Desktop?


It’s normal to wonder whether Windows allows you to use your windows key to activate Windows on two or more devices. That’s because you, the owner of the licensed key, reserve the right for the digital entitlement. But is it possible to use your laptop Windows key on your desktop? 

You may use your laptop Windows key on your desktop if you’re using a retail copy or have upgraded from the previous Windows versions (7 or 8). However, you cannot move Windows 10 to your desktop if it came preinstalled in your laptop by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

If you want to learn more about what you can and cannot do with your Windows keys, you’ll find this article useful. Read on for an in-depth discussion on whether you can share windows keys between two (or more) devices. 

windows key with laptop on table

Can I Use My Laptop Windows 10 Key for My Desktop?

You can use your laptop Windows 10 Key for your desktop if you’re using a retail copy or upgraded from Windows 8 or 7. However, it’s important to note that activation greatly hinges on the type of Windows licenses you have. 

If you upgrade to Windows 10 using a retail copy of, say, Windows 7, 8, or 8.1, then you’ll be able to transfer the Windows 10 key from your laptop to your desktop. That’s because Microsoft allows customers to upgrade and keep the retail rights from where the key was derived. 

Since Microsoft doesn’t permit the transfer of OEM Windows, you cannot transfer your Windows 10 from your laptop to your desktop if you upgraded to Windows 10 from OEM Windows 7 or 8. 

Your laptop Windows 10 key wouldn’t activate your desktop Windows if it came from the original equipment manufacturer.

A retail Windows 10 product key can be transferred, though it has to be uninstalled first. Once uninstalled, you can then go on to install it on your desktop. 

How To Uninstall Windows 10 Key

Although Microsoft allows users to move or transfer Windows 10 keys to other devices, it doesn’t allow simultaneous key usage. It means you must first uninstall the product key from your laptop. 

The good thing is that uninstalling a windows 10 key is not rocket science and will take you a couple of minutes to complete. 

Launch Command Prompt

The first step towards uninstalling your Windows 10 keys from your laptop is launching the command prompt. Here’s how:

  • To launch the app, you’ll need to click on the Start button and search for the Command Prompt manually. 
  • Alternatively, you can type cmd in the search bar on the left side of the taskbar and press Enter to launch the app as an administrator.  

Enter Commands

Once you’ve launched the command prompt, you’ll need to type in slmgr /dlv to get your activation ID. 

Some users prefer skipping this step, instead opting to type slmgr /upk directly to uninstall the product key. 

Note: While there won’t be much difference, typing slmgr /dlv allows you to know more about the status of your product key. It can come in handy if you bought a second-hand laptop (or were gifted) and you don’t know the license type of the key. 

After typing the command, a detailed message box will pop up and provide more information about your PC’s license status, meaning you’ll also get to learn whether you’re using a retail or OEM license. 

windows script host license information

The activation ID is mostly on the third line from the top, right above the application ID, as observed from the image below. 

windows script host activation id

Copy the activation ID and paste it after typing slmgr /upk on the command prompt such that it resembles the image below. 

command prompt slmgr command example

Once you’ve keyed in the above command, press Enter, and you’ll see a notification that the product key is successfully uninstalled. Receiving this prompt from Windows means you can proceed to install the product key on your desktop. 

Note: you won’t be allowed to activate an OEM product key on your desktop. So if the command prompt notifies you that the product key on your laptop is OEM, you’ll need to purchase your product key separately to activate your desktop. 

Windows 10 Activation Via PC With a Laptop Key

As mentioned earlier, Microsoft allows you to use the same product key on your devices. 

However, it must be licensed for retail, and you uninstalled it in the previous device before making any new installations

Below are steps to observe when activating Windows 10 on your desktop using your laptop’s key.

Launch the Command Prompt

Open the Command Prompt to install or uninstall a product key. 

Type cmd on the search button on the taskbar, press Enter and wait for Command Prompt to launch. 

You can also manually take the longer route search for the Command Prompt, then choose the Run as Administrator option.  

Paste Your Product Key As You Enter Commands

When installing your product key on your desktop, you’ll need to paste it immediately after typing the slmgr /ipk command. 

Your command should appear like this: slmgr /ipk xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx – where x is your product key. 

Once you press Enter (and your product key is valid), you’ll receive a prompt notifying you the product key has been installed successfully. 

You can also confirm the license status and whether your Windows has been fully activated by typing slmgr /dlv.

PC Windows 10 Activation Via Support Assistance 

Some users complain of difficulties in activating Windows 10 using the Command Prompt. If you experience such problems, you can contact Microsoft support for further assistance on activation, as explained below. 

Note: these tips apply if you have a retail license as activations will be unsuccessful using OEM licenses. 

Read on to learn how to activate Windows 10 on your desktop using support assistance.

Launch Command Prompt

Type cmd on your search bar and press enter to launch Command Prompt directly as an administrator. 

Once Command Prompt has launched, the next step is typing your command. 

In this case, you shall type slui 4 and press Enter. Doing so will allow the activation wizard to pop up, which will help you get in contact with Microsoft’s support team. 

Choose Your Country and Call Microsoft

The next step is fairly straightforward. Choose your country or region and press Next to continue with the process. 

Once you’ve pressed Next, a prompt will appear, giving you the option to call and explain your issue with the support team. An installation ID will appear on your screen, which you should share with Microsoft’s agent before entering the confirmation ID sent to you.

After entering the confirmation ID, press the activate Windows button as indicated below. Your desktop should now have an activated Windows 10. 

You might need to restart your device after completing the activation process. 

Final Takeaway 

As can be seen throughout the article, it is possible to use your laptop Windows key on your desktop. 

However, you must have a retail product key to activate Windows on your desktop, as an OEM license can’t be transferred from one device to another.

Remember, when transferring a product key to another device, it’s crucial to ensure you match the edition your license activates. 

For instance, when moving a Windows 10 Pro product key, Microsoft will only allow you to activate a desktop running Windows 10 Pro and not another version like Windows 10 Home.