Gifting a Windows Machine

I intend to gift a windows 10 laptop. I will reformat after saving data to another drive.
If I am understanding correctly MS will reload Windows. After the new OS loads should I log in before gifting? I am wondering if MS will question the ownership when the new owner logs in.

It shouldn’t matter, if the laptop is less than 6 years or so old. With UEFI, the serial number is store in the firmware and will be read when installing, so there should be no problems.

Part of the first startup after the install is setting the master user account. With Windows 10 that will be a Microsoft account. That means, after setting up your account, you will need to set up there account manually and then delete your account.

I would leave it alone and let them set up the main account themselves.

If you reformat the drive, Windows will be gone. You will need to have a Windows installation USB ready to use to perform the reinstall. Microsoft will allow the license to re-activate if the machine was properly licensed before you wiped it. (You can check this by going into the Settings, to the location where Windows Update is, and then looking at the Activation tab. If it says “activated with a digital license” then you’re good to go.)

Probably you should make the re-installation USB before you wipe the machine. To do that, go to Download Windows 10 and select the option to “Create Windows 10 installation media”.

I should point out that I have to ship the laptop to the next state. Can I just send it to her without registering my account? Will she then get trouble from MS in setting her own account?

Well, assuming the laptop came with Windows when purchased, which is pretty normal, the license belongs to the machine and not to the user. Giving the machine away, is giving the license away, and you nor she have any worries about MS caring that it is improperly licensed.

More specifically, there is a difference between an OEM license (one that comes with a machine) and one purchased direct from MS (in a box or otherwise.) OEM licenses are NOT portable between machines, the others, in theory, are.

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Sound like I’m good to go. Its a Dell with a factory install. Thanks PH I think she will be happy. Has been used very little.

You can also hold shift while restarting the laptop to go to the troubleshooting part of Windows 10 and it will allow you to wipe the drive and then it will reinstall Windows 10 on its own. There is a specific option that it says to use when you are selling or getting rid of the device. Also it is still possible to setup a local account which is what I usually do and just set it to user with no password. The new person can always reset it by the same means if they want to log in with a Microsoft account.

There is also an option to log into the machine as the administrator and set everything up and then reseal the device called the out of box experience. You would have to Google it for instructions.

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Maybe Windows should have a simple tool like “Prepare this computer for donation or resale” that requires one click then a confirmation.

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