If you receive Windows 10 not activate issue after you have changed computer hardware or had reinstalled Windows, then here is how to reactivate Windows 10 after a hardware change.
Doing a minor change like a hard drive replacement or changing the graphics card never causes this problem. However, if you change your motherboard, then Windows 10 doesn’t recognize it as the same computer because you get a new BIOS chip with a motherboard which holds the SLIC (digital signature or software licensing description set down by the OEM inside the BIOS). Windows get de-activated when this hardware signature change.
How to Reactivate Windows 10 after changing Hardware
Windows 10 free Upgrade doesn’t contain a Product Key either because Windows 10 uses this keyless entitlement method and records the digital signature in Microsoft Servers. If you try to assign any, then it can spoil the activation process. When you use Activation Troubleshooter, it will automatically use the previous version license and activate your Windows.
Earlier, there was no possible way to fix this issue more prior. However, after the anniversary update, reactivation of Windows 10 is possible and easier for every user. Though the license is limited to the computer’s hardware, users can still use this feature to activate Windows 10 in the same machine after the hardware change.
1) Use the same Microsoft Account to link Windows 10 Digital license.
After the Anniversary Update, Microsoft account & Windows 10 digital license (which was known as digital entitlement earlier) are linked. It helps you to reactivate your device automatically after a hardware change by singing into your computer with that Microsoft account.
To link your MS account to the digital license, you need to follow these steps.
- Sign in to your Windows 10 device as an administrator
- Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Activation
- Click on Add an account under Add a Microsoft account
- Insert account details like MS email ID, and Password then Sign In.
Note: It may ask you to enter the password of your local account also if the Microsoft account is not connected.
Once the detailed are filled on the activation page and account is added, you will see a message on the screen ‘Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account.’ If the Microsoft account is already added to the device, then it will identify the account itself.
It is advisable to skip the ‘Enter your product key’ message while installing the Windows 10 OS in the PC after changing the motherboard.
2) Use of the Activation Troubleshooter after a Notable Change in Hardware
Once you link your Microsoft account with the digital license of your device, you can utilize the Activation trouble-shooter. It will reactivate Windows 10. However, make sure you sign in as an administrator before doing that.
- Once again go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Activation and select Troubleshoot
- The troubleshooter will display a message ‘Windows cannot be activated on this device.’ Choose ‘I changed the hardware on this device recently’ then hit Next.
- Enter your Microsoft account details such as ID and password, then Sign in.
- Select the current device from the list of devices using your Microsoft account.
- Put a check mark next to ‘This is the device I’m using right now’ and click on Activate.
Make sure you sign in with the same Microsoft account which is linked with the digital license of Windows 10 on your PC. Otherwise, the device won’t appear on the list. If the account details are correct and still it doesn’t show you the device on the list then here are a few reasons that may cause the interruption in reactivation process.
- The edition of Windows on your device is different from the version of Windows linked with the digital license.
- The type of device could be different.
- Windows was not activated on the device at any time.
- You have come to the limit of numbers you can reactivate Windows.
- Maybe the PC has more than one administrator, and the other one has already activated Windows.
- The device is in a domain or group and can be activated by the admin panel of the organization.
Let us know if these tips helped you to reactivate Windows 10 after a hardware change.