You can actually use Windows 10 for free without activating it. But, there are lots of restrictions you have to deal with. The most standout one is that you computer will have a watermark on the bottom-right corner, which is annoying enough. To be able to use Windows the way it supposed to be, you need buy the license. But, which licence type you should buy?
Microsoft divides Windows 10 license into several types. There are three most common license types of Windows 10: Retail (FPP (Full Packaged Product)), OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), and Volume Licensing.
Windows 10 License Types
If you assembly a desktop PC yourself or just bought a new laptop that has no operating system yet and want to install Windows 10, you can use use Retail license. Retail license is also called as “boxed copy”. This is the type of license you get if you buy Windows 10 from retail merchant or from Microsoft Store. If you buy Windows 10 from retail merchant, the product key is commonly bundled with a DVD. This license type allows you to transfer product key to another PC and it’s legal. Retail is a license aimed at personal use.
OEM is the Windows 10 license aimed at computer manufacturers. Thanks to this license, it is possible for computer manufacturers to release laptops or desktop PCs preinstalled with Windows 10. This license itself is issued by original equipment manufacturer and it is not for sale and may not be transferred to another computer. If the OEM PC came preinstalled with Windows 10, the product key will be embedded in the UEFI firmware chip. This is the license type you have if you buy a new laptop or desktop PC that is preinstalled with Windows 10.
- Volume Licensing
Microsoft also provides a license for business, government and educational institutions for mass computer installation. The license is Volume Licensing, which falls into two categories: KMS Client and Volume MAK. KMS Client and Volume MAK product keys, are volume license keys that are not-for-resale. They are issued by organizations for use on client computers associated in some way with the organization. Volume license keys may not be transferred with the computer if the computer changes ownership. A volume license key (VLK) allows you to use a single Windows 10 product key for multiple installations. For instance, Windows Enterprise edition is activated with a volume license key. This license allows institutions that want to use Windows 10 to reduce the budget. The price of the license can be vary depending on the quantity and applicable subscription-term.
How to check the license type of Windows 10
You can check the license type of Windows 10 installed on your computer by calling Windows Script Host. To do so, open Command Prompt and type
slmgr -dli and hit enter.
The Windows Script Host dialog will appear once you hit enter. You can see the license type on the Description section as marked with a rectangle above.