Most new computers and laptops that you buy in the store or online usually come with Windows 10. If you start from scratch with a new build, you have a clean windows installation and you have to activate it. Activation in Windows 10 helps verify that you have a genuine copy of Windows that has not been used on more devices than allowed.
You may get a Windows 10 activation error if your copy of Windows is counterfeit, installed on multiple PCsor if you are using a used computer and do not have your product key.
Why am I getting an activation error for Windows 10?
Read this section to find out why you are getting an activation error in Windows 10.
Your copy of Windows is installed on multiple computers
If you are using a used computer, the seller may have used the product key on more computers than Microsoft allows. Activation may not work if you have one copy of Windows installed on multiple computers. You can ask the seller to give you the original product key and Windows DVD.
If you try the Windows DVD or product key and still can’t activate your computer, or the seller doesn’t have them, you may need to buy a new product key or copy of Windows. Alternatively, you can contact the Microsoft support team if you continue to have problems with activation.
Missing product key or digital license
To activate Windows 10, you need a Windows digital license or 25 character Windows product key† If you have neither, you will get the Windows activation error.
If you’re using a counterfeit copy of Windows, you won’t be able to activate it. You can visit the Microsoft How do I recognize it? website to find out if your copy is fake or genuine.
A different version of Windows or a different product key was used during the repair
If you are using a different version of Windows or if Windows was activated before you repaired or rebuilt your PC, you will get a Windows activation error. The same applies if a different product key was used during the repair.
In such cases, reinstall your original version of Windows and re-enter the product key that came with your original copy of Windows or your computer.
Significant hardware changes
Windows may no longer activate in cases where you have replaced your hard drive or motherboard, or have recently made significant hardware changes to your computer. This is because Windows can’t find a license that matches your devices, which means you’ll need to reactivate Windows with a product key or digital license to get it working again.
How to sync the Microsoft Digital license
You can confirm if your Microsoft account is linked to your digital license in a few quick steps.
- Select Get started † Settings†
- Then select Update & Security†
- Select Activation†
- The activation page should display a message that reads: Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account†
- Go to https://account.microsoft.com in your browser and sign in to your Microsoft account.
- Select Devices† If your computer is listed in this section, it means that your digital license is associated with your Microsoft account.
How To Fix Windows 10 Activation Error
While Windows 10 can work without activation, we don’t recommend it because some features will be disabled and Microsoft may decide to defer or block updates altogether, making it unsafe for you to use. In addition, it may be illegal to use Windows without the proper license, especially if you are using it for commercial purposes.
Here’s how to fix activation errors in Windows 10.
Check if your computer is running Windows 10 1607 or later
Before you can fix any of the Windows 10 activation errors, make sure your device is up to date and running Windows 10 version 1607 or later.
Type winner in the search box on the taskbar and select winver to see the Windows version and build it on your PC.
Remark: If your PC is running an older version of Windows, learn how to update Windows 10 to the latest version.
Use the activation troubleshooter
The Activation Troubleshooter helps resolve various Windows activation errors caused by significant hardware changes, Windows digital license issues, or Windows reinstallation.
Remark: Activation troubleshooter is only available if Windows is not activated on your PC. You must also be logged in as an administrator. If not, you can create a local user or administrator account to start using the troubleshooter using the steps below.
- Select Get started † Settings † Update & Security†
- Then select Activation†
- Select Resolving problems†
If you are still getting an activation error, follow the steps below to resolve it.
Fix Windows Activation Error 0x8007232b
If you’re getting the Windows Activation Error 0x8007232b, you’ve probably entered a Windows Enterprise edition product key to activate Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Home.
You may also see the error if you activate a PC that is not connected to the correct network, especially if it is a workplace device. If you are on the correct network, please contact your IT administrator to help you change your network settings or try entering the product key again.
To enter the product key:
- Select Get started † Settings † Update & Security†
- Select Activation † Change product code†
- Enter your 25 character product codeconfirm your administrator password and check if the error disappears.
Fix Windows 10 Activation Error 0x803f7001
The 0x803F7001 error means that there is no valid Windows 10 license to activate Windows on your computer. In most cases, the error appears for the following reasons:
- It is the first time Windows 10 will be installed on your computer.
- You have made significant hardware changes to a previously activated computer.
- You have reinstalled the wrong Windows 10 edition.
- Your computer came with Windows 10 preinstalled and you are getting the 0x803F7001 error on first boot.
To fix the 0x803F7001 error, run the activation troubleshooter and then use the steps below to activate Windows with your product key or a digital license for Windows.
- Select Get started † Settings † Update & Security † Activation † Change product code and enter the 25 character product key.
- If you don’t have a valid product key, select Go to Microsoft Store and buy the digital license for Windows.
Fix Windows Activation Error Code 0x44578
The Windows Activation Error Code 0x44578 comes from malware that prevents you from accessing your desktop. The malware imitates a Windows installation activation screen, displays the error 0x44578, and displays a separate dialog box asking you to enter your password to continue.
If this error appears on your computer, you may not be able to access certain features such as the Task Manager or you may not be able to log in to Safe Mode.
To fix the error, you can boot in safe mode or: use System Restore to bring your PC back to an earlier time before you got the error. If it’s nasty malware, it won’t go away so easily.
Read our guide to how to remove stubborn malware, remove malware with free tools, and how to: run an offline virus scan† Once you can remove the malware, restart your PC and check if the error is gone.
Get Windows 10 up and running again
Activating Windows 10 provides several benefits, including access to all the features you need to use your PC, security fixes for viruses or malware, plus updates that fix known errors and bugs.
Leave a comment and let us know if this guide helped you fix the Windows activation error on your computer.