Microsoft investigating Windows 10 and 11 activation issues
Microsoft is investigating Windows 10 and Windows 11 activation issues. Windows customers who try to use Windows 7 or Windows 8 / 8.1 keys to reactivate Windows 10 or Windows 11 may run into activation issues. The issue affects some customers who attempt to use a Windows 7 or 8/8.1 product key that they used in the past for activation.
Microsoft confirmed the issue to The Verge and is currently working on a solution.
Until recently, Windows customers could use their Windows 7 and Windows 8 / 8.1 keys to activate Windows 10 or Windows 11 on their devices. When Microsoft announced Windows 10, it allowed users of activated Windows 7 or 8/8.1 devices to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.
Not only did Microsoft allow free upgrades to Windows 10, its activation servers accepted valid product keys as well. One of Microsoft's goals was to get as many users as possible to upgrade to Windows 10.
The release of Windows 11 did not change the process at first. While there is no direct upgrade option from Windows 7 or 8/8.1 devices to Windows 11, Windows users could still upgrade to Windows 10 and then in a second step to Windows 11. These upgraded devices were fully activated.
Microsoft announced an end to free upgrades in 2017, but the company did not really end all options to use product keys of older versions of Windows to activate Windows 10.
This changed last month when Microsoft announced that it would block Windows 7 and 8 keys from activating Windows 10 or Windows 11 installations. Already upgraded systems should not have been affected by the change, but this is apparently not the case.
At least some Windows users who try to reactivate Windows 10 or 11 with previously used Windows 7 or 8 product keys experience issues when trying to activate the installation. The Verge's article suggests that it could have something to do with swapping hardware on activated devices. Some swaps require reactivation of the system, and it appears from the report that this somehow is linked to the activation issues. Even BIOS updates may trigger a reactivation request from Windows.
For now, it is probably a good idea to postpone hardware swaps if possible. This won't help customers who need to swap hardware, e.g., when a hardware defect makes this a necessity.
Windows users may check the activation status of an installation in Settings > System > Activation. There, they find the system's activation state and the option to change the product key.
Now You: did you use a Windows 7 or 8 key to activate Windows 10 or 11?Advertisement