Activation helps you verify that your copy of Windows is genuine and has not been used on more devices than the Microsoft software license terms allow.
If you can’t activate Windows 10, the Activation troubleshooter might help. To use the troubleshooter, select Get started > settings > Update & security > activationand then select Troubleshooting.
You must be logged on as an administrator to use this option. If you’re not an administrator, see Create a local user or administrator account in Windows 10 for more information . The Troubleshooting option is only available if your copy of Windows 10 (version 1607 or later) has not been activated. Once activated, the option will disappear.
Here are some problems the troubleshooter can fix. If you see an error code and none of the troubleshooting steps below help, see Get help with Windows activation errors .
For more information on activation, see Activation in Windows 10 . If you need help finding your product key, see Find your Windows product key . If the troubleshooter is unable to solve the problem, contact support .
Troubleshoot common activation problems
To use the troubleshooter, select Get started > settings > Update & security > activation and then select Troubleshooting.
You have a digital license for Windows 10 Pro, but Windows 10 Home is installed
To activate using a digital license, you must upgrade to Windows 10 Pro:
- Save your work and close open applications.
- In the troubleshooter, select Upgrade to Windows 10 Pro .
- Select Start Upgrade . The update may take a while and you may not be able to use your device until it is completed.
You have a digital license for Windows 10 Home, but Windows 10 Pro is installed
To activate using a digital license, you need to install Windows 10 Home:
- Go to the Media Creation Tools page .
- Read the instructions on how to use the Installation Media Creation Tool for Windows 10 Home and perform a clean install.
- When installing Windows 10 Home, you’ll be prompted to enter your product key. Since you already have a digital license for Windows 10 Home, you can skip this step and proceed with the installation. After installation is complete, Windows will be automatically activated with your digital license.
You have a digital license for Windows, but it has not been activated
To activate Windows with a digital license, in the troubleshooter, select Activate Windows , and then select Activate .
Recently, a significant hardware change has been made
A Windows 10 digital license is associated with the device. If you make significant changes, such as replacing the motherboard, Windows will not find the license that matches your device. For help resolving this issue, see Reactivate Windows 10 after hardware changes .
If you get an error code and none of the solutions here help, see Get help with Windows activation errors .
If you need additional help reactivating Windows on your device, please contact customer service .