Your Existing Installs Will Be Fine … Until You Upgrade?
Microsoft have announced that you will no longer be able to activate Windows 10 or Windows 11 with old Windows 7 and Windows 8 product keys. Unfortunately they weren’t very clear on what exactly this means for their users, and to add to the confusion Neowin and Ars Technica were both able to activate the current version of Windows 11 with Win7 keys. Neowin did try an Insider Preview build and were unsuccessful, so the policy may take effect when the next version of Windows 11 is officially released.
Your current installation will be fine, and you won’t encounter errors reimaging the machine as long as the hardware matches the digital signature created during your initial activation. It is not clear if you will be able to activate your existing Windows 11 on an upgraded or new machine with your Win7/8 key however. It may also be the case that if you hold on installation media with an older version of Windows 11 that you will still be able to activate, or if you go the long route and start from Windows 7 or 8 and go through the upgrade process.
We will keep an eye out for more details, if they emerge.