Did Microsoft crack a customer's Windows 10 to activate it?

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 17, 2023
Windows 10

Windows activation issues are not uncommon, but a support chat or call with Microsoft usually resolves the issue for customers. A South African Microsoft customer published about his experience with Microsoft support on Twitter regarding the activation of a Windows 10 license that he purchased.

When the activation of a Microsoft Store bought Windows 10 license failed, Microsoft support logged in via Quick Assist to run a well-known crack to activate the version of Windows.

Windows Product Activation

Microsoft Windows, Office and several other products need to be activated to unlock their full potential. It is a form of DRM that Microsoft has been using for decades to differentiate between genuine copies of Windows and pirated versions.

Most of the time, Windows users may type a product key during setup or when the system is up already, to activate it. The operation may fail sometimes, and Microsoft supports additional methods to get things sorted out for customers. Both of these options involve calling a number. There is an automated system option, which assists customers in activating their copy of Windows, and an option to talk with an official Microsoft representative, if that automated activation fails.

Pirated versions of Windows use activation cracks to turn the operating system into an activated copy. These work then just like legally activated systems of Windows.

Elevation and a Windows crack

windows 10 crack microsoft support
Source: TCNO / TroubleChute

The customers issue was elevated by Microsoft support and it was agreed that a Microsoft support engineer would log on to the system using Quick Assist to resolve the activation issue.

What happened next was probably not what the customer expected. According to his report, which he documented with two photos taken from the Windows system, Microsoft's engineer ran a PowerShell script to grab a Microsoft Activation script from a well-known cracking site (massgrave.dev)

The Windows 10 activation script was downloaded and executed on the local system, and as a result of that, Windows 10 was activated.

No explanation was provided by the Microsoft engineer or Microsoft.  The customer contacted the maintainer of the site and script on Discord, and was told that he was not the first on whose system the script was used by official Microsoft support.

Closing Words

It seems highly unlikely that the used method is sanctioned officially by Microsoft. Most Microsoft customers might not want cracking scripts to run on their devices, especially in business environments. A more likely explanation is that one or more Microsoft support engineers are using shortcuts to close support tickets faster.

One would also think that Microsoft has additional tools at its disposal to sort out any activation issues without resorting to third-party tools to do the job for them.

We contacted Microsoft for comment, but have not heard back yet.

Now You: what is your take on this?

Did Microsoft crack a customer's Windows 10 to activate it?
Article Name
Did Microsoft crack a customer's Windows 10 to activate it?
A Microsoft customer reported that Microsoft support ran a crack on his Windows 10 system to activate the installed copy of Windows.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. riri0 said on March 18, 2023 at 4:01 pm

    “We contacted Microsoft for comment, but have not heard back yet.”

    I seriously doubt Microsoft will reply to a website author that has lost all of its reputation and is now an AI shell of it former self.

    1. Anonymous said on March 19, 2023 at 7:09 pm

      I still find myself picking Martin’s articles out of the feed quite easily, so surely not all is lost. :)

  2. TelV said on March 18, 2023 at 2:55 pm

    Well, there’s a script available on Github and since Microsoft owns the site it’s presumably legal: https://github.com/massgravel/Microsoft-Activation-Scripts

  3. jvdyt said on March 17, 2023 at 9:33 pm

    wait, if it’s now activated…. then barring uefi virus/malware from the crack, the user can just do a clean install on the same machine from here on out… without entering key/etc again

  4. John G. said on March 17, 2023 at 8:29 pm

    @Dindu Inda Haus, indeed I don’t understand you neither, relax and enjoy the weekend.

  5. John G. said on March 17, 2023 at 1:32 pm

    I didn’t understand nothing about what’s talking about in this article. Please, be concise!

    1. Dindu Inda Haus said on March 17, 2023 at 2:33 pm

      @John G.
      You didn’t understand nothing? Is that English for: I understood everything?

      Are you perhaps accusing ghacks of not being inclusive enough? Should the bar be lowered just for your highness?

  6. SomethingHappened said on March 17, 2023 at 1:22 pm

    The HWID script method was probably simpler to use than Microsoft’s official gibberish. Saving the user and the support guy a lot of their time.

  7. John said on March 17, 2023 at 12:57 pm

    I don’t see the big deal in this story. The first paragraph admits that Windows activation issues are not uncommon. I had a brand new PC that should have had the Win 10 license baked into the firmware. But every time I did a clean install it acted like I needed a License Key.

  8. albert said on March 17, 2023 at 12:20 pm

    I had the same bad experience with genuine MS software, in this case MS Flight Simulator (FS) somewehre in 2003. Had used before only pirated MSFS and thought to be fair to buy a real MS product. It did not work that good and a year later I bought a pirated newer version FSX, which worked perfect. Now in 2023 with a newer PC had to reinstall FS and tried the MS genuine discs. That did not go as the discs were damaged, the layers showed decoloring. Tried the pirated discs of 1 year younger life and again those pirated discs are working perfect. Since that bad MS experience around 2005 I switched to Ubuntu and never looked back to MS>

  9. fred said on March 17, 2023 at 11:57 am

    tested the link to massgrave in Virustotal and it scores without any alert, (92 AV checks)
    enough trust for me to try it and it worked W11.

  10. basingstoke said on March 17, 2023 at 11:42 am

    The only benefit to running non-pirated anything (when it comes to big products like, Windows, or Office), is the moral one.

    You get to feel a bit better about yourself for running genuinely activated/licensed stuff, but apart from this, there is no other difference.

    It’s quite funny actually, my officially licensed Windows PC has flashed up “non-genuine” pre-boot message at me a couple over the years (I know it’s genuine because it was a new, physical boxed Windows, and a built-by-me PC), so really I’m not sure any of this matters too much.

    And every now and then, a pirated version of something will end up being better than genuine – for example you can get a PC game without tons of bloat such as anti-cheat, anti-piracy, or some weird launcher. I had to fully reinstall Office 2016 for my mother (paid, legal), and apparently whilst you can grab a Windows license key via a one line PS or CMD command, apparently it’s not possible with Office 2016, so my choice was to use a 3rd party tool to grab the full key from the OS, or use a 3rd party tool to “install” it activated.

    The installer I used was very nice and had a good UI, I could pick and choose which programs I wanted, with more granularity than the MS installer ever did – the install optionally also came with the feature of tabs (a 3rd party add-on, also paid), which is actually so cool I wish I also had it!

    I would also raise hell however, if I saw Microsoft representative doing something like this: “MFer, I could have done what you did, obviously that’s not why I called you!”

    1. Fried_Curly_Chair_Squad said on March 18, 2023 at 7:37 am

      For me Windows was always free and it’s still trash.

  11. Fried_Curly_Chair_Squad said on March 17, 2023 at 9:45 am

    What’s the big deal? Brand new computers get sold like this – with a pirated copies of Windows, it has been like this for 15+ years. And the retailer still gets paid extra for selling computers with Windows on them. That’s why I buy computers without an OS and install it myself.

    1. Steven said on March 18, 2023 at 11:54 pm

      The big deal is $200 was spent on an official key just for them to crack it. He should get a refund!

  12. Gracias said on March 17, 2023 at 7:08 am

    The second I read “South African”, this article became very logical. Who cares, the machine is now activated. Job well done, and swiftly. The most important part of this article is that A: you are showing your readers where to find this, and B: your readers now realize this cracking/activating is CLEARLY not a virus or will not affect your system negatively in any shape or form. Thank you.

    I’m sure Microsoft will contact you shortly.

    1. John G. said on March 17, 2023 at 8:35 pm

      @Gracias, you made a good summary, however I still don’t get the point of this paragraph: “It seems highly unlikely that the used method is sanctioned officially by Microsoft. Most Microsoft customers might not want cracking scripts to run on their devices, especially in business environments. A more likely explanation is that one or more Microsoft support engineers are using shortcuts to close support tickets faster.” >> A sort of legal official cracking script? :S

    2. Hans said on March 17, 2023 at 10:47 am

      Correlation and Causality. Where in the article is written that cracking is CLEARLY not a virus?
      The support CLEARLY wanted to do his job as fast as possible, and probably didn’t really care about viruses on the customer computer. Not saying, all activation scripts are viruses, but I would be careful. This article CLEARLY doesn’t provide enough evidence for your claims.

      1. Gracias said on March 17, 2023 at 12:01 pm

        You do realize just because Windows Defender flags something as a virus, it ain’t so..? Now think long and hard Hans, would ghacks tell people where to download and run a virus on their Windows machine? Anyone in the loop KNOWS this activation is 100% harmless, except to Microsoft who lose out on a few dollars. Then again, they gain those dollars back tenfold with their data-selling OS…

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.