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If you activated a free upgrade to Windows 10 or bought and activated Windows 10 from the Microsoft Store, you have a digital license for your device. This means you can reinstall the same edition of Windows 10 that your device has a digital license for without entering a product key. During reinstallation, if you’re asked to enter a product key, you can skip this step. Windows 10 will automatically activate online after the installation is complete.

source: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12440/windows-10-activation

Does MS digital license 'fingerprint' hardware information during the free upgrade / activation and store it (at Microsoft) , so that the next re-install queries MS for the fingerprint and activates Windows 10?

Thought the disk drive may change, I expect that none of the other fingerprinted hardware will change.

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    Windows 10 digital license is associated with your PC hardware. It means, when you activate Windows 10, the activation online server will record your hardware ID and keep it in the cloud. So if you make significant changes, such as replacing your motherboard, Windows will no longer find a license that matches your PC. – Joy Sep 28 '18 at 9:41
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Does MS 'fingerprint' hardware information during the free upgrade / activation and store it, so that the next re-install queries MS for the fingerprint and activates Windows 10?

Yes; Windows has always been activated based off a hardware fingerprint though. Windows 10 has just made that process more transparent and with the most recent build made the process of transferring eligible retail licenses to another machine even easier.

A digital license (called a digital entitlement in Windows 10, Version 1511) is a method of activation in Windows 10 that doesn't require you to enter a product key. If you upgraded to Windows 10 for free from an activated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you should have a digital license instead of a product key.

How does a Windows 10 'digital license' activate the OS?

The only difference between a traditional Windows license and a digit entitlement is that you no longer have to enter the license key when you install Windows 10 if you have a digital entitlement. Windows 10 will automatically activate. Additionally, and specifically optionally, is the ability to link your entitlement to your Microsoft Account.

Source: Activation in Windows 10

Thought the disk drive may change, I expect that none of the other fingerprinted hardware will change.

Windows activation status has never been connected to the HDD.

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