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Activation in Windows 10

Activation helps verify that your copy of Windows is genuine and hasn’t been used on more devices than the Microsoft Software License Terms allow. Depending on how you got your copy of Windows 10, activation will use either a digital entitlement or a 25-character product key.

Digital entitlement is a new method of activation in Windows 10 that doesn't require you to enter a product key.
 How you got Windows 10 Activation method
You upgraded to Windows 10 for free from an eligible device running a genuine copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.Digital entitlement
You bought genuine Windows 10 from the Windows Store and successfully activated Windows 10. Digital entitlement
You bought a Windows 10 Pro upgrade from the Windows Store and successfully activated Windows 10.Digital entitlement
You’re a Windows Insider and upgraded to the newest Windows 10 Insider Preview build on an eligible device that was running an activated previous version of Windows and Windows 10 Preview. Digital entitlement
You upgraded to Windows 10 (Version 1511 or higher) and activated it using a Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 product key.
Digital entitlement
(A digital entitlement will be given to your device for Windows 10 based on the valid product key you entered)
You bought a copy of Windows 10 from an authorized retailer.
Product key
(On a label inside the Windows 10 box)
You bought a digital copy of Windows 10 from an authorized retailer.
Product key
(In the confirmation email you received after buying Windows 10 or in a digital locker accessible through the retailer’s website) 
You have a Volume Licensing agreement for Windows 10 or MSDN subscription
Product key
(Available through the web portal for your program)
You bought a new device running Windows 10.
Product key
(Pre–installed on your device, included with the device packaging, or included as a card or on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached to the device)

For more detailed info, see the section about activating Windows 10 that applies to you.

Activating Windows 10 after the free upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1
Activating Windows 10 (Version 1511 or higher) using a Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 product key
Activating after reinstalling Windows 10
Activating Windows 10 when installing it for the first time
Activating a new device running Windows 10
Activating the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview
Activating Windows 10 after a hardware configuration change


Article ID: 12440 - Last Review: May 19, 2016 - Revision: 13

Windows 10