Windows 10 Activation Help


  1. Posts : 1
    Windows 10
       #1

    Windows 10 Activation Help


    Hi Everybody,

    I updated to Windows 10 last week from what I thought was an activated version of windows 8.1, but now I'm stuck with an "Activate Windows" watermark in the bottom right of my screen (which goes over everything, not just the desktop) and I was wondering if in order to activate windows I could just buy a new product key, or would I need to re-install windows with the new product key. If anyone could give me any other idea of how to resolve my problem I would be truly grateful.
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  2. cereberus's Avatar
    Posts : 12,034
    Windows10
       #2

    First thing to try is to activate it using your windows 8.1 key (change product key) from activation menu.

    Use showkeyplus to extract 8.1 key if you do not know it.
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  3. bobkn's Avatar
    Posts : 3,648
    Win 10 X64 Pro 21H1 19043.964
       #3

    Windows 10 is supposed to activate if it's installed as an upgrade over an activated version of a qualifying OS (7 or 8). I believe that it does not activate as a clean install.

    Build 10586 (aka 1511) is supposed to be able to activate using a key from a previously activated qualifying OS. If you have one, give it a try.

    (I'm not sure how you'd use a key finder on a Windows 10 installation.)
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  4. cereberus's Avatar
    Posts : 12,034
    Windows10
       #4

    bobkn said:
    Windows 10 is supposed to activate if it's installed as an upgrade over an activated version of a qualifying OS (7 or 8). I believe that it does not activate as a clean install.

    Build 10586 (aka 1511) is supposed to be able to activate using a key from a previously activated qualifying OS. If you have one, give it a try.

    (I'm not sure how you'd use a key finder on a Windows 10 installation.)
    OP has windows 8.1 which if oem is embedded in bios. If retail 8 or self installed oem, and an upgrade to 10 (not a clean install), 8.1 key will be still in registry, and showkeyplus will extract it.

    The one exception is if you ugraded from preinstalled windows 7, as thenyiu will need the coa (override) key. Keyfinders will not work, and will return a generic key of no use.
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  5. davidhk's Avatar
    Posts : 5,433
    windows 10 Pro ver 20H2 build 19042.867
       #5

    LKD532 said:
    Hi Everybody,

    I updated to Windows 10 last week from what I thought was an activated version of windows 8.1, but now I'm stuck with an "Activate Windows" watermark in the bottom right of my screen (which goes over everything, not just the desktop) and I was wondering if in order to activate windows I could just buy a new product key, or would I need to re-install windows with the new product key. If anyone could give me any other idea of how to resolve my problem I would be truly grateful.
    I have questions which I need your answers before I know which is the proper way to help you, or whether I have an answer for you at all :

    1. What method did you use to upgrade to Windows 10 ?
    By way of Windows Update or by way of using an ISO file.
    2. What version is your Win 8.1 ? Win 8.1 Pro or just Win 8.1 ?
    3. The Windows 10 you ended up with, is it the same version as your Win 8.1 ?
    By that, I mean if you have Win 8.1, you should get Win 10 Home.
    If you have Win 8.1 Pro, you should have Win 10 Pro.
    If you have Win 8.1 and ended up with Win 10 Pro, then you will see that activation warning.
    4. What do you mean " I thought was an activated version of windows 8.1" ?
    Was your Win 8.1 activated or not before you upgraded to Win 10.?
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  6. Superfly's Avatar
    Posts : 3,337
       #6

    cereberus said:
    OP has windows 8.1 which if oem is embedded in bios. If retail 8 or self installed oem, and an upgrade to 10 (not a clean install), 8.1 key will be still in registry, and showkeyplus will extract it.

    The one exception is if you ugraded from preinstalled windows 7, as thenyiu will need the coa (override) key. Keyfinders will not work, and will return a generic key of no use.
    Yup.
    IIRC, when one clean installs without wiping the partition holding the existing Windows installation, a Windows.old folder is created from which one can get the old key as well... just something I think I noticed before.
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  7. cereberus's Avatar
    Posts : 12,034
    Windows10
       #7

    Superfly said:
    Yup.
    IIRC, when one clean installs without wiping the partition holding the existing Windows installation, a Windows.old folder is created from which one can get the old key as well... just something I think I noticed before.
    For clarity, you do not mean a clean install but an upgrade not keeping personal files. A clean install (booting from usb stick or dvd) totally wipes old OS.

    Also if you upgrade, even if you delete windows.old, the old key is still retained in windows 10 registry but most product finders are not clever enough to extract it. Showkeyplus is.

    Note: not certain if this works though if you upgrade NOT keeping files.
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  8. lx07's Avatar
    Posts : 5,479
    2004
       #8

    cereberus said:
    For clarity, you do not mean a clean install but an upgrade not keeping personal files. A clean install (booting from usb stick or dvd) totally wipes old OS..
    Not necessarily. I did a clean install of 1511 32 bit yesterday on a disk that had 11099 64 bit already installed. After booting from ISO I didn't delete the partitions, ran through OOBE to set up my user and ended up with Windows.old and Program Files (x86) left behind from the previous 64 bit install.
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  9. Superfly's Avatar
    Posts : 3,337
       #9

    lx07 said:
    Not necessarily. I did a clean install of 1511 32 bit yesterday on a disk that had 11099 64 bit already installed. After booting from ISO I didn't delete the partitions, ran through OOBE to set up my user and ended up with Windows.old and Program Files (x86) left behind from the previous 64 bit install.
    Yup... just tested it in VM

    Windows 10 Activation Help-screenshot-2016-01-17-12-42-26.png
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  10. cereberus's Avatar
    Posts : 12,034
    Windows10
       #10

    lx07 said:
    Not necessarily. I did a clean install of 1511 32 bit yesterday on a disk that had 11099 64 bit already installed. After booting from ISO I didn't delete the partitions, ran through OOBE to set up my user and ended up with Windows.old and Program Files (x86) left behind from the previous 64 bit install.
    That probably helps to explains something odd that happened to me when I installed a VM a few days ago to get Insider versions.

    It installed fine but never asked me for any account info - it just set my account to exactly the same as in actual OS (local account with no password).

    I can kind of understand that behaviour if dual booting but in a VM which is supposed be insulated from main OS?
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