Microsoft is having Activation Server issues right now

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 8, 2018
Updated • Nov 9, 2018
Windows, Windows 10

Reports are coming in from all over the Internet that Windows 10 licenses get revoked on some systems currently and that activation is not available either at the time of writing.

The most common issue that users and administrators experience right now is that the activation status of Windows 10 PCs is changed from activated to not activated. Some users reported that Windows 10 Pro product keys were suddenly not recognized anymore. Windows identified a Windows 10 Home digital license instead on these systems.

Update: It appears that the issue has been fixed. Users who still experience the issue should visit Settings > Update & Security > Activation > Troubleshoot to fix it.

windows activation issue

The notification reads:

We found a Windows 10 Home digital license for this device running Windows 10 Pro. To activate using this digital license, you need to install Windows 10 Home.

The message includes links to learn more about Windows Activation, open the Microsoft Store to purchase a genuine copy of Windows, or launch the "hardware change" process.

Attempts to activate the operating system again fail at the time. Reinstallation or the installation of backups don't fix the issue either.

Administrators who check the Event log will find Even ID 8198 listings:

EventID 8198:
License Activation (slui.exe) failed with the following error code: hr=0xC004C003

Microsoft Support published a statement on Microsoft Answers that confirms the issue.

Microsoft has just released an Emerging issue announcement about current activation issue related to Pro edition recently. This happens in Japan, Korea, American and many other countries.I am very sorry to inform you that there is a temporary issue with Microsoft's activation server at the moment and some customers might experience this issue where Windows is displayed as not activated.

Our engineers are working tirelessly to resolve this issue and it is expected to be corrected within one to two business days

Microsoft is aware of the issue and working on a fix to correct it. The company advises users to ignore activation messages for the time being. It is not necessary to do anything on the user side as the issue is server side only.

Microsoft stated that it will update the official thread on the Microsoft Answers forum when the issue is resolved. Windows 10 PCs should change the status to activated again once the issue is resolved and the notification that the license is for Windows 10 Home while Windows 10 Pro is installed should go away as well once the issue is resolved. (via Windows Latest and Born)

Microsoft is having Activation Server issues right now
Article Name
Microsoft is having Activation Server issues right now
Reports are coming in from all over the Internet that Windows 10 licenses get revoked on some systems currently and that activation is not available either at the time of writing.
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  1. Gregg E said on February 22, 2020 at 8:43 am

    They’re back at it again. I have a laptop that was upgraded from Win 7 Pro x64 to Windows 10 Pro x64 and after the upgrade it was OK, until I allowed it to go online. Then I got the not activated, dude, this should be Windows 10 Home, go buy a new license BS.

  2. hobo said on November 10, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    In “setting” where it still shows windows not being activated, click on “trouble shoot” and it will be activated.

  3. Prepubescent Scammer said on November 10, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Current state of IT sector: MS is delivered on most PCs by default. It is a clustered mess of user’s tracking, malware store and aborted GUIs. But it still sells. Hardware? Intel is such a good biz, its CPUs have more backdoors than cores and they still sell !! The golden rule is: get NSA support and partnership with FIVE EYES and you are good to go !! Buy more, gullible customer, ‘”Santa'” is coming !!

  4. jasray said on November 10, 2018 at 3:12 am

    This was fixed last night–well within an 8 hour day. 35 pointless comments that are typically negative.

    1. MS? No, thanks. said on November 10, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      jasray, how’s your cubicle @ microsoft… comfortable enough?

  5. AnorKnee Merce said on November 9, 2018 at 8:14 am

    Maybe M$ is doing a test run on how to use her Activation Servers to deactivate 4 to 5 year old Win 10 Pro computers that had been upgraded from Win 7/8.1 = Planned Obsolescence. Later, M$ will implement this on all 4 to 5 year old Win 7/8.1/10 Home & Pro computers also by claiming that the OEMs no longer support such “old” computers. This will force the affected Win 7/8.1/10 users to buy new Win 10 computers or new Win 10 Home & Pro licenses = more $$$$ for M$.

    EOL for Win 7(= about 50% of all Windows computers) is coming soon in Jan 2020.

    P S – Deactivated Win 10 Home & Pro computers can be immobilized or borked by M$ with a forced auto-update, eg after 30 days, like a ransomware.

  6. Arcionquad said on November 9, 2018 at 12:35 am

    Troubleshooting works now. Problem fixed.

  7. Graham said on November 9, 2018 at 12:31 am

    My activation was turned off as well. I went through the Troubleshooting process and it repaired my key in no time.

    1. Justin said on November 9, 2018 at 5:06 am

      Activation failed multiple times for me, so I said screw it, and went and got the KMS activator 1 click and my legit windows became activated and I dont have to worry about the BS. Isnt it sad that using a piracy activator is simpler than relying on MS to actually FIX their crap…

      1. Quantum777 said on November 9, 2018 at 11:17 am

        Doesn’t the KMS activator only work for 180 days on Win 10?

  8. John said on November 8, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Just keeps getting better. Is there anyone up at Redmond who can stop this madness of incompetence? So when will heads start rolling on these problems. This is a system that so many rely on for business. Maybe we need to rethink if Nadella is right guy to lead Microsoft. Things are sure getting sloppy under him.

    1. stefann said on November 8, 2018 at 11:22 pm

      Ask dictator Trump…..

  9. Mary said on November 8, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    unrelated question to experts here.. does anyone know if there’s place where you could download recent W7 x64 Pro ISO with only security/no telemetry (as much as you can :) ) etc updates already integrated..

    I’m building new comp but simply too lazy etc. start doing NLite (or whatever) stuff myself..
    installation would be so much quicker and more hassle free


    1. Yuliya said on November 8, 2018 at 7:53 pm

      I would stay away from modified ISO files, but that’s just my opinion even though some people may disagree.

      Download clean SP1 ISO:

      Update – Simplix Update Pack – well curated update pack to bring 7 SP1 up to date, does not include telemetry updates, GWX or similar crap MS puts in. It also inculdes USB3 and NVMe drivers. Use the magnet link and a torrent client of your choice to download:
      Note there are some switches and here is a MDL thread which might help you if you don’t understand russian:
      tl;dr rename the pack as “UpdatePack7R2–ie11++.exe” and run it. Should update everything.

      Method 2 – WSUS Offline – downloads all the updates from MS allowing you to install them after:

      I think they do some curation, but I’m not sure. I only used it once to update a system and it worked.

      Note both these methods are updated on a monthly basis, usually Simplix updates it within a week after Patch Tuesday. Turn off Windows Update and rely on one of these to update.

      1. stefann said on November 8, 2018 at 11:20 pm

        @Yuliya : If You know the good sources on “pirate networks” where You can download any Windows version (from Windows 7 and later) with all the latest updates (You can skip the “cracking” with a valid serial number instead during setup – as i do with my Windows 7) these download are clean (in XP they even removed the Alexa spyware…..some years ago – that Microsoft installed in all XP versions !!!! Didn’t You know that ????). No i won’t tell anyone these sources here though….after all it is on “pirate networks”….. It is propaganda to tell people these sources are unsafe. BS !!!!!! I have downloaded all my Windows versions since Windows 2000 with all latest updates on these networks and never found any infection(s) after installation (even buggy or very faulty updates has been removed from the ISO). My XP x64 (volume license) with SP2 works great. My Windows 7 Ultimate x64 works great…..both payed for. Your “never download modified ISO’s is pure BS !

        You know that Adguard also crack software ????? Still their ISO download site are recommended by Microsoft support on their forums… safe is that ? LOL ! (Yes, i have recommended that site to here earlier, still the ISO’s are clean).

  10. Kevin said on November 8, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    You would think that users would eventually smarten up and stop buying or using products that come with functionality like this baked in, but no. And that makes it okay to laugh at them and say “I told you so”.

    1. Gabriel said on November 8, 2018 at 9:29 pm

      Really? And how am I supposed to use some applications that are Windows only and work like crap or don’t even work at all in WINE?

  11. Shawn said on November 8, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Well if people wanted a confirmation that Windows Phones Home … there you go..

  12. DontComplain said on November 8, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Stop complaining. Microsoft has very high standards and excells overall in excellence when it comes to customer dissatisfaction and screwing up. Please be decent and start appreciating their endless altruistic efforts to maintain these amazing standards. Where else can you find a company, so reliable and predictable in their wrongdoings and actions ?

    Instead of badmouthing you should praise Microsoft for standing behind their policies for sucking every penny out of your pockets by going to subscriptions based systems. This way you not only have the pleasure to pay them every month or year, no, as an encore you will also experience christmas much more often as the subscription fees will go up. What more fun do you want ?

    And you ingrated possums, have you forgotten all the special and free services Microsoft is implementing, so that your private data can be accessed and sold all over the world without you having to do a thing ? Imaging you had to do this all yourself by letting everybody know about your …, your preferences, etc. Microsoft is doing you a big favour and all you do is wining. I am ashamed of you all. Okay, I agree, Facebook is an alternative and as wonderful as Microsoft.

    Am I the only not blindfolded person who is full of gratitude ? I was so overwhelmed by Microsofts care and love, their never ending screw ups. I was crying, sometimes for days. My entire body was shaking for joy everytime when Microsoft came up with a new disaster, I chewed my fingernails and ripped out my hair in ecstasy. What a company, so caring, so out of this world.

    It was simply too much fun for me, I couldn’t take it anymore and had, for health reasons, to switch to a different system. I realize I betrayed Microsoft and I feel horrible about it. But it was either getting completely nuts because of their outstanding performance or deal with a different system that works but is boring, that does not provide my private data to the entire world. And I honestly do miss the major hickups when updating and the data loss plus the endless hours of fixing something that has so reliably gone wrong.

    I don’t understand my family which states I am much more calmer and peaceful. My Doc took me of my bloodpressure medicine and no anti depressants anymore. I am so jealous of you people who still have the privilege of working and dealing and fixing with Microsoft. Stop complaining. Look at my boring life.

    1. stefann said on November 8, 2018 at 11:00 pm


      Hahahahaha….Microsoft, high standard ? Have You been sleeping under a rock the last couple of years. I know a dev that was involved in everything from Windows 2000 to Windows 7 and even he says Microsoft has NO standard at all today…..

    2. MrWhatsit said on November 8, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      Well done DontComplain.

  13. Oggy said on November 8, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Just wondering about the BitLocker users if Windows switched to Home edition.
    Maybe one more BitLocker related issue this week.

  14. 420 said on November 8, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    The thing is, M$ is making record profits, so who gives a fuck about whining users.

    1. stefann said on November 8, 2018 at 10:57 pm

      Until the day ‘someone’, user or corporation, are fed up with all BS by Microsoft and they finally get sued. Remember that the Windows EULA really isn’t valid in all countries in the world…..i was told this by my lawyer some years ago. The EULA that followed, at least XP, XP x64, 2003 Server, 2003 Server x64, Vista (32/64-bit) and Windows 7 (32/64-bit) wasn’t legal in Sweden. Since 8.1 and 10 – i don’t know – i would never use that spyware anyway… In Sweden we are still allowed to sue the F out of any corporation, while living in USA You can’t, corporations are protected by law today.

  15. Apparition said on November 8, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    This makes me miss the days of Windows 2000 Professional, the last good Windows version without activation.

    1. stefann said on November 8, 2018 at 10:48 pm

      @Apparition I agree, at 110% !

      1. stefann said on November 8, 2018 at 10:49 pm

        I even remember You could install Windows 95 with the serial of only figure 1….all of it. It was an internal serialnumber at Microsoft i was told….LOL !

  16. a fan said on November 8, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    One day Chuck Norris used Win 10, from that day on Windows needs patches to stay alive.

  17. Andrew said on November 8, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Yeah scared me this morning.

    Come on MS – please get your crap together.

    As an aside to Martin – when I played around with this for about 10 minutes, I thought, hey, I bet ghacks has info about this. BOOM front page.

    Thank you Martin Brinkmann for timely information!

  18. Steven Kelly said on November 8, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Thanks for this! Just spent a ‘happy’ couple of hours trying to sort it out, so good that I don’t have to waste any more time.

  19. Bob L said on November 8, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Microsoft is turning into one big cluster truck. Perhaps they should fire everyone and hire some of the hackers from China, Russia, etc. It couldn’t be any worse, With every monthly/semi annual update, I pray nothing will go wrong that I cannot fix. It’s like driving a car to some desolate place hoping it will not breakdown in the middle of nowhere.

    1. Yuliya said on November 8, 2018 at 3:21 pm

      Microsoft fired most people who worked on Windows 7 somewhere during Windows 8 early stages. They outsourced where they could find the cheapest rates. Fired all the testers too, and replaced them with “insiders”. By the looks of it they also fired all of their designers, but they have not found any substitute for them up to this point still.

      Generally, russian software is fairly top-notch. My dad told me even his mathematics book from school had some programming lessons in it :) Hiring some russians to do their job would probably result in the best Windows ever made and a worthy successor to Windows 7.

      1. John Fenderson said on November 8, 2018 at 5:45 pm

        @Yuliya: “Hiring some russians to do their job would probably result in the best Windows ever made and a worthy successor to Windows 7.”

        Except that the problems at Microsoft aren’t that they don’t have highly skilled devs. They absolutely do. The problem is management decisions, not the ability of the engineers.

      2. stefann said on November 8, 2018 at 10:46 pm

        Devs on Microsoft are amateurs. Can clearly be seen in Windows 10 and the LOW QUALITY ROLLUPS…..

  20. Bobo said on November 8, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    When it rains, it pours.. One wonders what kind of CV one has to have to work for Microsoft, is it enough to just be a monkey? Redmond should win some tech-comedy award or something, this year has been exceptionally impressive in the “massive blunders” category.

    1. manouche said on November 8, 2018 at 6:27 pm

      Just in case it matters ☂
      How to remove this annoying “Windows Activation Watermark”:

      Open Notepad.

      Screenshot →

      Copy&Paste these following commands:

      @echo off
      taskkill /F /IM explorer.exe

      Save as Activation.bat
      Locate the file in your file manager
      Right-click and select “Run as administrator”
      Restart PC
      Watermark Gone!

      Enjoy your Life … ♪

      1. Bobo said on November 8, 2018 at 7:54 pm

        OR remove it using tools from here

      2. manouche said on November 9, 2018 at 10:31 am

        No worries, mate, it’s fine.

        Even when it’s raining frogs from the sky, there’s always a damn ol’ “Puppy Linux” Live-CD straight to my salvation. Just a matter of faith … but thank God, I don’t believe in anything anymore ;~)

      3. Clairvaux said on November 9, 2018 at 12:52 am

        Yes. We’re aware Linux exists. Thank you.

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