Windows 10 Activation
If online activation does not work, use the automated phone system to activate Windows. You must activate Windows within 30 days of installation. Activation helps verify that Windows on your computer is genuine.
Activate using the Internet
When you begin the activation process, Windows tries to detect an Internet connection. If one is found, you can activate online.
- Select the Start button, then select Settings > Update & security > Activation.
- If Windows detects an Internet connection, click Activate Windows online now. Administrator permission required If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
- Type your Windows 10 product key when prompted, click Next, and then follow the instructions.
- Press the Win+R keys to open Run, type SLUI 4, and click/tap on OK. (Typing SLUI.EXE 4 into the search bar also works.)
- Select your country or region, and click/tap on Next.
- Call one of the provided phone numbers for a Microsoft Product Activation Center. It would be best to call the toll free number.
- Enter the Confirmation ID and then click on ‘Activate Windows.’
- You’re all set! 🙂
Methods of Windows activation
Depending on how you got your copy of Windows 10, you’ll need either a digital license or a 25-character product key to activate it. Without one of these, you won’t be able to activate your device.
- 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.
- A product key is a 25-character code used to activate Windows. What you’ll see is PRODUCT KEY: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX.
After determining which activation method you use, follow the steps in the corresponding Activate using a digital license or Activate using a product key.
Understanding Digital Entitlement
Digital entitlement happens when you upgrade to Windows 10 from a genuinely licensed copy of Windows 7 or 8. You’ll never need to enter a product key again if you need to clean install on the device you upgraded on. Microsoft essentially is writing the Windows 10 key to your BIOS, storing it permanently on your device and not on the hard drive or through the OS itself.
Even now, after upgrading to Windows 10, then performing a clean install, you’ll find a handy little “Skip” button where you’d typically enter a product key. This is because the Windows installation sees in your BIOS you’ve already upgraded and had a genuine Windows 10 license key.
If you need to swap out or install a new, motherboard, you will have to call Microsoft to extract and/or transfer your license key to the new component.
There are still issues that may pop up where you’ll have to call to verify your Windows 10 installation in the future, just like with any previous version of the OS. However, as long as you have proof of purchase of the original computer and/or license key from an earlier version of Windows, this process is relatively easy.