Windows 10: Activation troubleshooting
*** @mikiep, @alphanumeric - I brought these posts here as we were hijacking that thread.***
This is an interesting phenomenon. I have heard of KMS (Volume licence) installations being upgraded and resulting in digital licences with a MAK ( NB: The BBBB in ShowKeyPlus represents a masked MAK)
I had ungraded my work notebook from Win 10 Pro 10240 activated with a MAK to AU and got this :
That's the generic MAK I was alluding to - and it has digital licence.
Thus the official blurb regarding VL not qualifying seems odd.. why else have a generic MAK then...very strange....
There is a difference between the MAK licence and a VL which will need "phone Home" activation at regular intervals, (was every 90 days but may have changed), Not sure if this is a factor here. The Microsoft partner licences, (in House software Licence), were MAK key activated in the past and they will upgrade to a Digital licence (even one linked to a Microsoft account), without a problem, the same as any other Retail licence
Yip, correct ... MAK is a permanent VL, whereas GVLK is temporary and requires re-activation via KMS within each 180 day activation interval.
My concern, however, is that... be it MAK or GVLK, both are VL and should not be getting digital licences.
I actually see a MAK as a form of Retail Licence rather than a form of GVLK and It would appear that Microsoft, ( at least at present, but we all know how soon MS can change the rules), are treating the MAK as a Standard retail, possibly due to the fact that you cannot easily tell those MAK's issued to VL customers from those issued to other legitimate users.
Well just for fun I did a change key on my 10 Pro 1703 install and entered my MSDN 10 Enterprise MAK key. It upgraded and shows as activated with a Digital License linked to my Microsoft account.
Tried it on a second PC and it didn't work. It was 10 Home 1703. MAK key was rejected via change key. Entered the generic Pro key and it upgraded to pro though, and activated with a DL it already had. Then tried my MAK key again and it was accepted, upgraded but won't activate? That PC won't activate with my MAK key now? I get a "Windows can't activate with this product key, 0xc004b100. Was able to go back to 10 Pro by entering the Pro generic key though. Now shows activated with a digital license.
Worked once and failed once.
Going back to the early days of Windows 8 RTM, October/November 2012, you could upgrade trial Enterprise Windows 8 versions with genuine retail ESD Windows 8 Pro upgrade downloads (I had a £14.99 retail offer with my Windows 7 Laptop in August).
There were "Qualifying OSs" - in my case OEM Windows 7 Home Premium enabling ordering and payment, then download of the ESD package with the product key in the email, and then there were "upgradeable OSs" - Windows 7 (any), and some later Windows 8 Pro trials and Windows 8 Enterprise trials too. I don't remember which other OSs were upgradeable, or which were qualifying - it may have been that XP SP3 was qualifying, but not upgradeable etc.
The upgrades seemed to be able to gather the Product Key from somewhere (a PID.txt perhaps included when the ESD download took place?), it was a bit of a mystery at the time, as was the nature of the ESD file, since it could not be opened or mounted like a WIM file then. These were my notes at the time on Eightforums:
How did you setup your Win 8 install? - Page 16
I was not prepared to dump 7 yet 8 was too strange at the time.
Om my last PC running 10 Pro, the one that wouldn't activate with slmgr /ato, I mounted my Enterprise MSDN ISO and ran setup.exe, figured it may be easier than starting all over with a clean install. If it didn't work I'd just clean install. Booted up real slow and to a totally blank screen? Just a cursor. A couple of reboots latter it appears normal again? Entered my MAK and got a 0xc004b100 error. Running slmgr /ato changed it to a 0xC004F012 error. What finally fixed it was going to Setup >update & security >activation and running the trouble shooter. I clicked the "I have recently changed hardware" option and it activated with a DL. Confused, I am?
I now have 3 PC's that all have Home, Pro, Education and Enterprise Digital Licenses.
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