Threshold 2, the first big official upgrade to Windows 10 since its July 29 launch, is on schedule for arrival next month. Members of the Windows Insider program have been testing previews of the new builds for the past month and the latest Threshold 2 preview release, build 10565, contains a welcome change.
For Windows 10, Microsoft radically revised its activation rules, effectively eliminating the role of product keys in most upgrades.
The current rules, as revised for the July 29 public release, make it easier to reinstall Windows 10 on a PC that's already been activated. That's because Microsoft's activation servers can recognize the hardware fingerprint, match it with the saved activation record, and automatically approve the activation request online.
But those same rules cause headaches for Windows purists who prefer to start with a squeaky clean install when moving to a new operating system. In the initial public release (build 10240), Windows 10 required at least one upgrade install over a fully activated Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PC to enroll the PC's Windows 10 license on Redmond's activation servers. After that enrollment is successful, those servers are able to activate the PC automatically when the proper edition of Windows 10 is installed later, assuming the hardware hasn't been significantly changed.