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Windows 10 Activation
 Useful Links and Resources of Windows 10 Activation
 Windows 10 Activation Method
 Windows 10 Activation and Microsoft account
  Using the Activation troubleshooter after a significant hardware change

Windows 10 Activation

Useful Links and Resources of Windows 10 Activation

Windows 10 Activation Method

If you got Windows 10 by...  Activation method
Upgrading to Windows 10 for free from an eligible device running a genuine copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Digital license
Buying genuine Windows 10 from the Microsoft Store and successfully activated Windows 10. Digital license
Buying a Windows 10 Pro upgrade from the Microsoft Store and successfully activated Windows 10. Digital license
Being a Windows Insider and upgrading to the newest Windows 10 Insider Preview build on an eligible device that was running an activated earlier version of Windows and Windows 10 Preview. Digital license
Buying a copy of Windows 10 from an authorized retailer.
Product key
(On a label inside the Windows 10 box. A digital license will be given to your device for Windows 10 based on the valid product key you entered.
 
If you bought your PC from a manufacturer, the manufacturer, not Microsoft, must provide you a product key.)
Buying a digital copy of Windows 10 from an authorized retailer.
Product key
(In the confirmation email you received after buying Windows 10 or in a digital locker accessible through the retailer’s website. A digital license will be given to your device for Windows 10 based on the valid product key you entered.) 
Having a Volume Licensing agreement for Windows 10 or MSDN subscription.
Product key
(Available through the web portal for your program.)
Buying a new or refurbished device running Windows 10.
Product key
(Preinstalled on your device, included with the device packaging, or included as a card or on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached to the device.
 
If you bought a refurbished PC, the refurbisher, not Microsoft, must provide you a product key.)

Windows 10 Activation and Microsoft account

In Windows 10 (Version 1607 or later), you can link your Microsoft account to the Windows 10 digital license on your device. This can help you reactivate Windows using the Activation troubleshooter if you make a significant hardware change later, such as replacing the motherboard.

To add your Microsoft account and link it to the digital license:

  1. Select the Start  button, select Settings  > Update & security  > Activation  > and then select Add an account. You must be signed in as an administrator to add your Microsoft account.
  2. Enter your Microsoft account and password, and then select Sign in. You’ll also need to enter the password for your local account if the Microsoft account you entered isn’t a connected account.
  3. After you add your Microsoft account, you’ll see Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account on the Activation page.

Using the Activation troubleshooter after a significant hardware change

After you add your Microsoft account and link it to your digital license, you can use the Activation troubleshooter to help reactivate Windows after a significant hardware change.

  1. Select the Start  button, select Settings  > Update & security  > Activation , and then select Troubleshoot. You must be signed in as an administrator.
  2. The troubleshooter will show a message that Windows can’t be activated on your device. Select I changed hardware on this device recently, and then select Next.
  3. Enter your Microsoft account and password, and then select Sign in. You’ll also need to enter the password for your local account if the Microsoft account you entered isn’t a connected account.
  4. From the list of devices that are linked to your Microsoft account, select the device that you’re currently using, select the check box next to This is the device I’m using right now, and then select Activate.

If you don’t see the device you’re using in the list of results, make sure that you’re signed in using the same Microsoft account you linked to the Windows 10 digital license on your device.

If you’re signed in using the correct Microsoft account, here are some additional reasons why you can’t reactivate Windows:
  • The edition of Windows on your device doesn’t match the edition of Windows you linked to your digital license.
  • The type of device you’re activating doesn’t match the type of device you linked to your digital license.
  • Windows was never activated on your device.
  • You reached the limit on the number of times you can reactivate Windows on your device.
  • Your device has more than one administrator, and a different administrator already reactivated Windows on your device.
  • Your device is managed by your organization and the option to reactivate Windows isn’t available. For help with reactivation, contact your organization’s support person.

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ID: 180100033 Last Updated: 2018/1/31 Revision:

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