Microsoft has initiated an investigation into reports from customers who are experiencing issues with Windows activation. Some users have encountered problems after changing PC components or updating their BIOS. These unforeseen difficulties arise from changes the firm implemented about a month ago, which ended the capacity to activate Windows 10 and 11 with product keys from previous versions such as Windows 7, 8, and 8.1. Microsoft has also ceased the free upgrade loophole from these older versions to the current offerings.
Impact on Valid Licenses
The activation hiccup is particularly unsettling for those with digital licenses tied to a Microsoft Account, as in some cases, attempts to reactivate their software post-hardware modification have been unsuccessful. Bill Babonas, principal product manager of Windows, has acknowledged the issue. The company stresses that altering hardware does not contravene the licensing agreement. Nevertheless, individuals affected are left facing the prospect of buying a new license or seeking alternative activation methods.
Resolution on the Horizon
Microsoft advocates for users struggling with technical difficulties to reach out to customer support for assistance. Meanwhile, the company is actively seeking a resolution. Customers can check the status of their Windows Activation by navigating to Settings > System > Activation > Activation State. It is worth noting that Windows 10 or 11 can still be used without activation for a stretch while the company strives to settle this matter. Babonas has told The Verge of the company's awareness of the situation and their commitment to analyzing potential solutions.
The issue predominantly affects those who initially took advantage of the free upgrade offer from Windows 7 to Windows 10, a promotion which had been available after the latter's release. When they now modify their computing hardware, the digital licenses that should simplify the reactivation process are no longer being recognized, causing unnecessary disruptions for legitimate customers. The expected outcome of the investigation and a timeline for a fix remain under wraps, as Microsoft's team works through the technical complications presented by these activation glitches.