How to Activate Windows 11/10 (Multiple Ways)

While most of the new PCs and laptops now come with a genuine copy of Windows pre-installed, if you have built your custom PC or have reinstalled Windows 10 on the same machine, you’ll need to activate Windows to enjoy all of its features. Activating Windows 11/10 could be done in a couple of ways, either using a product key or a digital license. In this post, I will guide you on how to activate Windows 11/10.

Check Whether Windows 11/10 is Activated or Not

Change Activation Status in Windows

In case you aren’t sure or just wondering whether your copy of Windows 11/10 is already activated or not, and would like to check it out, here’s how you can do that:

  • Pull-up the search box (Win + S)
  • Search for Settings and then select the main listed result.
  • In Windows 10, navigate to Update and Security Menu > Activation. In Windows 11, go to System > Activation
  • Now under the Activation Menu, if you notice the status as “Windows is Activated,” or “Windows is activated with a Digital License” or “Windows is Activated with a Digital License linked to your Microsoft Account,” then your copy of Windows is activated.
  • Whereas if you notice “Windows isn’t activated,” then you’ll need to activate it.

How to Activate Windows

How to Activate Windows 11/10

Whether you have built a new computer or are just re-activating a laptop that previously had Windows 11/10 installed, here are a few ways to activate Windows on your PC or Laptop

  1. Activate using Settings (Product Key)
  2. Activate using Digital license
  3. Activate using CMD

You can use any of these methods to activate Windows.

1] Activate using a Product Key through Settings

If you have purchased a product key or you do have one already and would like to activate your machine using the same, here’s how to do it:

Enter Product Key Windows

In Windows 11:

  • Open Windows Settings using Win + I
  • Go to System > Activation
  • Click on Activate button

If you are changing the product key, click on the Change button, and input the details to activate it with a new key.

In Windows 10

How to Activate Windows 10 via Settings

  1. Pull up the search box, search for Settings, and click the main listed result.
  2. Navigate to Update and Security Menu > Activation.
  3. Now, under the Update Product Key option, select Change Product Key, and here enter your Product key you have purchased or which came pre-installed.

Note: You’ll need to be connected to the internet to complete the process successfully.

2] Activate using a Digital License

Microsoft has made it very easy for people who already have Windows installed on their PC and would like to activate it on another one. Windows can link the product key to your Microsoft account, automatically activating the other PCs.

  • During Windows installation, please select the option I don’t have a Product Key.
  • Now login to Windows with the same Microsoft account, which has the Windows 11/10 Product Key linked.
  • Windows will automatically activate the copy of Windows when there is an active internet connection.

3] Activate using CMD (Product Key)

How to Activate Windows 10 via CMD

Although it is possible to activate Windows directly from the settings page; there are a few other methods, including the Command Prompt, which one can use for activating Windows or changing the product key, here’s how:

  1. Open an Administrative Command Prompt or a Powershell or Windows Terminal
  2. Now, type in the below-mentioned command where # should be replaced with the product key. (ex.slmgr.vbs /ipk 11111-22222-33333-44444-55555)
slmgr.vbs /ipk #####-#####-#####-#####-#####

Note: If your copy of Windows already has a key installed, using this will silently replace the older key with the new one. If you cannot find the product key, then here is how to find the product key.

Additionally, if your manufacturer provides a genuine copy of Windows pre-installed with your PC or the laptop, the product key is in the BIOS.

The next time you install Windows on the same machine, select I don’t have a  Product Key at the time of installation. Windows will automatically detect the key from the BIOS and activate it when it connects to the internet.

I hope the post was helpful, and you were able to Activate Windows 10 on your machine. With that said, How many of you have purchased a Windows 10 Key? Do let us know in the comments section below.

My Windows Is Still Not Activated Even Though the Key Was Correct

If this doesn’t work, you need to run the Windows Activation troubleshooters.

  • Go to Windows Settings > System > Activation
  • If there is an issue with Windows activation, there will be a Troubleshoot link.
  • Open it, and locate the Windows activation troubleshooter
  • Choose to run it.
  • If the key is valid, then it will fix the problem.

At times, Windows cannot activate because of a connection issue to the Microsoft server, and it can be resolved.

How Do I Activate Windows Without a Product Key?

You cannot activate a copy of Windows without a genuine key. However, there is an alternate method. You can join the insider’s program and use the most stable build. Since Windows Insider builds don’t expire until the next one arrives, it will work out. However, you will have to face the bugs available in that build.

How Do I Buy a Windows Key?

The best way to buy a Windows Key is using the Microsoft Store. However, you will get no discount on the retail price. The other way to get the key is to look for a reseller who can give it a deal. Many resellers get the Windows key at a lesser cost from Microsoft, and you can use them to activate Windows. Ensure the key you buy is not valid for a short period.

Yash Jain
A long-standing Windows fan, Photographer, and Tech Enthusiast who loves to write about Smartphones and Technology.


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