Windows 10 activation problems. How to resolve

windows 10 activation problems
windows 10 activation problems
Written by Emma Davis

Having problems related to Windows 10 activation? The solution may be as simple as it can be. Below please find certain recommendations on how to find out why Windows fails to activate and what can be done about it.

Back in 2015 when Windows 10 was initially released, Microsoft offered a cost-free upgrade for millions of customers using Windows 7 and 8. The method this worked implied you didn’t have to obtain a fresh product key. Sometimes this can result in a few issues if you ever would like to reinstall Windows 10. 

In case you’re experiencing problems activating Windows 10, these are some factors why that might cause difficulties as well as the remedies on how to resolve these problems.

Did You Activate Your Windows 10?

You can research the activation stage in the Settings app. Refer to the Start icon, then the cog to reveal Settings.

Proceed to Update & Security, then Activation. This is what you will encounter when Windows is properly activated:


Windows 10 activation settings

What you’ll also see is all kinds of links and options to get assistance and attempt to resolve activation troubles.

Troubleshooting activation problems Windows 10

The Activation area in the Settings app should provide you with enough details to find out why Windows fails to activate. Consider trying another network connection if available, so instead of Wi-Fi, connect to Ethernet or vice versa to examine whether that works in your case.

Another inspection to undertake before referring to any of the solutions below is to update Windows 10 to the freshest version. This can be done by applying the Windows Update option which you’ll locate in Settings > Update & security > Windows Update.

In case Windows 10 was activated before and is now reporting to you it is not activated, this could occur because you amended some hardware, normally something substantial like the motherboard.

Troubleshooting activation problems

Troubleshooting activation problems

Windows needs to be reactivated to make sure you don’t use the same key on several (or too many) computers or laptops, and amending the motherboard and processor can make it look to Windows as if it’s a completely different workstation.

It’s definitely very annoying to experience the case when you upgraded from Windows 7 or 8 and eventually reinstalled Windows, this reactivation doesn’t take place automatically – or at least you can’t do anything to make it happen. This may occur because you never merged your Windows 10 product key with your Microsoft account, and you most likely didn’t do that because you didn’t think it’s possible.

Irrespective of the situation, there are a few things you can do. In the first place, go to the Troubleshoot link on the Activation page in Settings. If it helps, it’s the simplest solution available, but, most likely, this will not happen.

Also consider this tutorial: Windows 10 Search Issue. How to fix search problems in Windows 10?.

In case of error notification, you can google it to obtain more information, but you’ll most likely reveal that there’s nothing you can do personally to resolve the issue. There are some exceptions too. Certain programs – a firewall – might block Windows from getting in touch with the activation servers, your Internet connection might be unactive or the servers themselves could be overloaded or temporarily unreachable. It could be that you’re attempting to apply a Product Key for another version of Windows 10 that you’ve previously installed. If this is the case, reinstall the proper version, such as Home or Pro – they have different Product Keys).

Another obvious milestone is to click on Change Product Key and specify your key, provided that you have got one. In case you don’t own one, probably because you upgraded from a previous version of Windows, you’ll have to get in touch with Microsoft technical support1.

You can do this by means of the built-in Get Help application. Look for it by indicating ‘Get Help’ in the search box close to the Windows icon on the desktop.

windows-10 activation problems - help-app

Windows 10 Get Help Application

Simply follow the on-screen instructions to specify a description “I can’t activate Windows” and then choose from the solutions available. These should include a live chat and a phone number to ask for a call-back.

The technician will most likely find out about your product key (which you haven’t got) or the product key for the previous version of Windows that you upgraded from. If you can’t specify such information, then regretfully it’s the end of the chat, since Microsoft doesn’t activate Windows 10 for customers without certain proof that they’re entitled to it. Your only solution, in this case, is to purchase a product key.

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  1. Get help with Windows activation errors:
Windows 10 activation problems. How to resolve
Windows 10 activation problems. How to resolve
👉🏻 Having problems related to Windows 10 activation? Troubleshooting activation problems. The solution may be as simple as it can be.

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About the author

Emma Davis

I'm writer and content manager (a short time ago completed a bachelor degree in Marketing from the Gustavus Adolphus College). For now, I have a deep drive to study cyber security.

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