How to Activate Windows 10
InformationActivation helps verify that Windows on your PC is genuine.
Sometimes Windows 10 will no longer be activated after upgrading to a new build. This can happen if the product key number has changed for the new build.
This tutorial will show you how to activate Windows 10 online with a product key on your PC.
You will need an internet connection and must be signed in as an administrator to activate Windows 10.
TipWhy can't I activate Windows 10?
Get help with Windows 10 activation errors - Windows Help
Can I reinstall Windows 10 on my computer after upgrading with free upgrade?
Once you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 using the free upgrade offer or Media Creation Tool on an activated Windows 7 or 8.1 PC, you will be able to reinstall, including a clean install, on the same device. You won’t need a product key for re-activations on the same hardware. If you make a meaningful change to your hardware, you may need to contact customer support to help with activation. You’ll also be able to create your own installation media like a USB drive or DVD, and use that to upgrade your device or reinstall after you’ve upgraded.
You do not get a product key with the free upgrade of Windows 10. Instead, it's just a generic key for installing that cannot be used to activate with. You cannot activate Windows 10 with a Windows 7 or 8.1 key.
The activation for the free offer of Windows 10 is registered on the Microsoft activation servers, and is referenced by the hardware (motherboard/CPU/graphics card serial numbers) of the PC it was upgraded on.
- Option One: To Activate Windows 10 in Windows Setup while Installing Windows
- Option Two: To Activate Windows 10 in Settings
- Option Three: To Activate Windows 10 in Command Prompt
EXAMPLE: "Windows isn't activated" message in Settings
OPTION ONETo Activate Windows 10 in Windows Setup while Installing Windows
1. While doing a clean install of Windows 10, you will be prompted to activate Windows 10. (see screenshot below)
OPTION TWOTo Activate Windows 10 in Settings
1. Open Settings, and click/tap on the Windows isn't activated. Activate Windows now link at the bottom.
2. Click/tap on the Activate button (if available) to see if Windows may activate online with the currently installed product key. (see screenshot below)
3. If Windows was successfully activated, then go to step 9 below.
4. If Windows can't activate, then click/tap on the Enter key button. (see screenshot below)
5. If prompted by UAC, click/tap on Yes.
6. Enter the 25 digit product key number from the top of this tutorial for the edition of Windows 10 preview you have installed. (see screenshot below)
7. Click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)
8. If Windows was successfully activated, then click/tap on Close. (see screenshot below)
9. You can now close Settings if you like.
OPTION THREETo Activate Windows 10 in Command Prompt
1. Open an elevated command prompt.
2. In the command prompt, type the command below, and press Enter. (see screenshot below)
slmgr /ipk product key number
NoteSubstitute product key number in the command above with the actual 25 digit with dashes product key number from the top of this tutorial for the edition of Windows 10 preview you have installed.
For example: slmgr /ipk VTNMT-2FMYP-QCY43-QR9VK-WTVCK
3. If successful, Windows will now be activated with the entered product key. Click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)
4. You can now close the command prompt if you like.
- How to View the Product Key in Windows 10
- How to Change Product Key in Windows 10
- How to Download a Windows 10 ISO File
- How to Clean Install Windows 10
- How to Upgrade to Windows 10
Any tips on getting this to work...? I'm struggling with 10162 and couldn't get 10159 to activate either.
Using Option 2 and the latest key from the 10162 thread, I get the same message saying the key has been installed sucessfully, but it still won't activate. Using a verified MSA...