You may link a Microsoft account to a Windows 10 license on a device on Windows 10 version 1607 and later (Anniversary Update).
The main benefit of doing so is that it may help you reactive Windows 10 on the machine if you make a "significant" hardware change.
Windows 10 remains activated if you change some hardware components like a hard drive or a video card.
The operating system may see a device as a new machine if you make significant changes to the hardware, for instance by replacing the motherboard with a new one.
You may overcome activation issues after making changes to the hardware of a Windows 10 machine by linking a Microsoft account to the license.
So, instead of having to jump through hoops to get Windows 10 activated again, you'd simply use your Microsoft account to assist you in that.
First things first. Windows 10 needs to be activated on the machine. The Microsoft account that you add then picks up the activation status and remembers the license.
Note: Completing the steps below may switch the sign in account from a local account to the Microsoft account. While you may switch back to a local account after completing the process, doing so will remove the device from the list of devices on the Microsoft account website.
You may verify the activation status of a machine running Windows 10 in the following way:
The screen displays the Windows 10 edition installed on the machine, and the activation status.
You add a Microsoft Account to the operating system on the same Settings page.
You should get "Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account" on the activation page (may take a couple of seconds to appear).
You may use the Microsoft account to assist you in activating Windows 10 again after making changes to the hardware that caused the operating system to deactivate the license.
There are situations where the process won't work:
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.