Issues Activating Windows 10 Solved

  1.    14 Oct 2017 #1

    Issues Activating Windows 10

    I own a retail license for Window 7 Pro 64 bit. A few months after Windows 10 dropped in 2016, I performed the upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. Ever since then I've done multiple CLEAN reinstalls of Windows 10 on the same pc. No activation issues whatsoever.

    Sometime this summer I did another fresh install but then noticed I had a prompt to activate Windows (the hideous nag on the desktop), so far unsuccessfully. I called in a support center today and gist of the explanation is that even though I upgraded to Windows 10, my key is not valid for activating Windows 10 and its in fact still a Windows 7 key. What the hell? I thought the key ALSO got tied to Windows 10. How come I've had no issues with reinstalling Windows 10 all through till recently (it even activated automatically without a prompt to enter a key)? Why would I have an issue now and why is support stonewalling that key can't activate Windows 10?
    Last edited by please55; 14 Oct 2017 at 20:26.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    14 Oct 2017 #2

    Open a Command Prompt (Admin) or PowerShell (Admin) and run:

    slmgr /dlv

    and post the result:

    Click image for larger version. 

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      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    14 Oct 2017 #3

    Thanks Navy LCDR. Here's mine.

    Click image for larger version. 

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      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    14 Oct 2017 #4

    From Command Prompt (Admin) or PowerShell (Admin) try:

    slmgr /ato

    ato is online automatic activation. What result does that produce?

    You can also try using the activation troubleshooter, instructions are here:
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    15 Oct 2017 #5

    Thanks, I'm familiar with that link.

    I don't think support did anything after I hung up, but after trying 'slmgr /ato' it successfully activated a digital license.

    Any idea why this method worked? Any insight as to whether its really true that the upgrade cycle didn't give Window 7 users a Window 10 license and its only an upgrade? That's sounds like an uninformed claptrap from customer support but maybe I'm in the wrong.

    Also wanted to add that I've always used an offline local account when setting up Windows. Is there a way to retrieve this digital license? Sounds like MS has a hardware fingerprint of my computer somehow for activation purposes but I intend on swapping a cpu because of some issues and I'd rather not call support again.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    15 Oct 2017 #6

    The same version of Windows 10 (Windows 10 Pro in your case) should activate on your same computer without entering any product key. You should have the generic Windows 10 Pro product key of VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T (which you do, from the results of slmgr /dlv). When you do a clean install just click the link for "I don't have a product key" when asked for one and it is that generic product key that gets assigned to Windows 10 Pro.

    We don't know if it is a Microsoft Activation server problem, or an issue in the later builds of Windows 10, but sometimes it doesn't like to activate on it's own until you trigger the activation action with slmgr /ato. Logging in with a local account or with a Microsoft Account does not matter. Only if you want to transfer a digital license between computers through your MS account do you need to be logged into a MS account.

    Upgrading to Windows 10 does absolutely nothing to the Windows 7 Product Key. But once you have the digital license stored on MS activation servers that you now have, the Windows 7 Product Key is not needed. When installing Windows 10, just click the link for "I don't have a product key" if you get a screen requesting to enter a product key.

    Windows 7 product keys do have a limited number of times they can be automatically activated online. When they reach that magic number, then you have to use Microsoft's phone in activation line to activate Windows. The problem is that phone in activation of Windows 10 with a blocked Windows 7 product key is impossible. So let's say you build a brand new computer, and you have a retail Windows 7 product key, but it is blocked from automatic online activation. If you want to use the Windows 7 product key to activate Windows 10 on the new computer, you must first install Windows 7 on it just enough to be able to use the phone in activation for Windows 7. Then do an upgrade to Windows 10 to get the digital license. After that you are good to go to clean install Windows 10 with no product key based on the digital license.

    In summary - in your situation it was simply a known (to us anyway) bug that caused you to need to trigger the online activation using slmgr /ato. The technician that logged into your computer probably didn't do anything with product keys. They just did not know to use slmgr /ato like we do here.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    15 Oct 2017 #7

    Thank you very much. You've been more help than I expected and very thorough. Cheers and all the best.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


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