Win10 deactivated - how to get a working Win10 back Solved


  1. Posts : 5
    win10 enterprise
       3 Weeks Ago #1

    Win10 deactivated - how to get a working Win10 back


    My Surface is an ex employer machine. Purchased new it was delivered with 8.1 Pro and I have the key for this. My office installed Win10 Enterprise and I have been using that licence both at work and since the Surface ownership was transferred to me when I left.

    Last week Win10 deactivated and the error message I get when trying to reactivate it is that the mutli-use licence has been activated too many times. I've talked to my old employer but they can't help me.

    From what I've read I can download and install Win10 Pro and use my 8.1 Pro key to activate it giving me a viable Win10 install.

    Is that the right way to go about getting back to a working copy of Win10?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 9,639
    10 Home x64 (1809) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       3 Weeks Ago #2

    ibex said: View Post
    My Surface is an ex employer machine. Purchased new it was delivered with 8.1 Pro and I have the key for this....
    ...From what I've read I can download and install Win10 Pro and use my 8.1 Pro key to activate it giving me a viable Win10 install.
    Is that the right way to go about getting back to a working copy of Win10?
    Welcome to TenForums.

    Yes, that should work. In fact, you probably won't even need the key. A machine supplied with an OEM install of Windows 8, 8.1 or 10 should have its key embedded in the bios. Setup should read this and not ask you for a key.

    But there may be an even simpler way without needing to reinstall Windows at all. You can downgrade your existing install from Enterprise to Pro by entering a valid Pro key, and an 8.1 Pro key should be accepted to activate Windows 10. See this tutorial:

    Downgrade Windows 10 Enterprise to Windows 10 Pro | Tutorials
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  3.    3 Weeks Ago #3

    I'd try the downgrade (change product code) first. If it works you'll get to keep all you installed Apps and Programs and your current setup. I've done it several times. I've only ever used Windows 10 Retail keys though.

    If you do decide to start over, and get prompted to enter a key, enter the 8.1 Pro key. If it won't accept it, leave the product key box empty and click I don't have one.
    Then select Pro from the list and install Pro. Once thats all done go into settings and navigate to the activation screen and try the 8.1 Pro key again.
    As Bree mentioned, your install media "should" look for the embedded BIOS key. I posted the above just in case it doesn't see it and you have to enter it manually.
    My laptops OEM Windows 8.0 Core key isn't auto detected anymore. Hasn't been for several builds now. I'm fine with that though as I don't want Home.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    3 Weeks Ago #4

    ibex said: View Post
    .. the error message I get when trying to reactivate it is that the mutli-use licence has been activated too many times. I've talked to my old employer but they can't help me.

    Unless there's an error somewhere (with MS or Windows again?), I think it could mean that your product key was used to install a number of devices that went beyond the licensed copies. I'd also wonder how many people have access to your product key.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    3 Weeks Ago #5

    hello10 said: View Post
    Unless there's an error somewhere (with MS or Windows again?), I think it could mean that your product key was used to install a number of devices that went beyond the licensed copies. I'd also wonder how many people have access to your product key.
    Enterprise can only be activated with a Volume License Key, or a MAK, Multi Activation Key.
    If it's activated with a VL key, activation will time out when said device can no longer connect to the activation server, or that key is removed from the activation server. Devices activated with VL keys have to reactivate at timed intervals. That activation server is usually an on premise server setup by that company.
    MAK keys have a limit on how many PC's can be activated with that key. Exceed the limit and you can't use the key to activate any more. They are "supposed" to remove the VL activated install and either leave it blank with no OS. Or legally activate it with a retail or OEM key etc.
    I get MAK keys for use with Enterprise via my My Visual Studio subscription. My MAK keys get a Digital License.

    We see it quit often here, used PC that was originally VL activated, times out and fails activation. Legally that company cannot resell a PC that is VL activated. Its a corporate license.
    Last edited by alphanumeric; 3 Weeks Ago at 07:33.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  6. Posts : 5
    win10 enterprise
    Thread Starter
       3 Weeks Ago #6

    Bree said: View Post

    But there may be an even simpler way without needing to reinstall Windows at all. You can downgrade your existing install from Enterprise to Pro by entering a valid Pro key, and an 8.1 Pro key should be accepted to activate Windows 10. See this tutorial:

    Downgrade Windows 10 Enterprise to Windows 10 Pro | Tutorials
    That worked beautifully - thank you.
    I used the generic Win10 Pro product key from the tutorial you linked and it activated straight away. Who would have thought it would be that easy.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 9,639
    10 Home x64 (1809) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       3 Weeks Ago #7

    ibex said: View Post
    I used the generic Win10 Pro product key from the tutorial you linked and it activated straight away. Who would have thought it would be that easy.
    Great news!

    If it activated from the generic key then that means at some time in the past it must have had its pre-installed OEM Windows 8.1 Pro running and activated, then upgraded to 10 Pro. This would have put a digital licence for 10 Pro linked to the hardware ID of the PC on Microsoft's activation servers. Without that digital licence the downgrade to Pro wouldn't have worked, you'd have had to enter a valid Pro key instead of the generic one.

    My guess is that your office didn't clean install Enterprise, rather they set it up out of the box with it's original install of 8.1 Pro, then upgraded it to 10 Pro, then upgraded that to Enterprise.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  8.    3 Weeks Ago #8

    What Bree said.
    It's nice when the easy way works.
    You likely won't notice any difference other than it saying Pro in settings menu's instead of Enterprise. And no nagging you to activate.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 

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