Once the alert pops up, it proceeds to request that you go to Settings and activate Windows afresh. Fortunately, it’s possible to sort out Microsoft’s licensing issues including this one.
This article will show you how to solve this weird error and its primary causes, so keep reading.
What causes the issue?
- An incorrect activation key: Your PC will suddenly seem to invalidate your Windows license if you have been using an invalid key. For example, volume license keys are meant specifically for corporate systems and may work temporarily then fail in personal machines.
- Hardware changes: A major hardware upgrade, like replacing your gaming motherboard might cause this issue.
- Windows reinstallation: Your PC may forget its licensing after reinstalling Windows.
- An update: Windows even occasionally deactivates itself after an update.
What to do if Windows needs activation, but it’s already activated?
1. Reactivate your Windows
- Click Start, and type cmd in the Windows 10 search box.
- Right-click on it, and choose Run as administrator.
- Remember to click Yes when and if prompted by UAC (User Account Control).
- Type the following command in the Command Prompt window then hit Enter:
wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey
- This will reveal the original product key.
- Copy it, click on the Start button, and choose Settings.
- Go to the Update & security tab, and click Activation.
- Select Change the product key, and type the previously copied product key.
- Tap on Next to activate.
2. Run the Activation Troubleshooting Utility
- Click the Start button, and select Settings (as seen earlier).
- Go to the Update & Security tab.
- Choose Activation, and click on Troubleshoot.
If you are having issues with Windows needs activation again message, you’ll be pleased to hear that you can use Activation Troubleshooter to help troubleshoot and resolve lingering activation issues.
The tool is easy to use and quite effective. Try to run it. If it doesn’t return any error message, the Troubleshooter tool should activate your Windows 10 in no time.
3. Sign in to your Microsoft account and activate Windows 10
- Sign in to your PC as an administrator.
- Confirm that this administrator account is your Microsoft account as well.
(Click Start, then choose Settings, followed by Accounts, and check Your info. There will be the name Administrator under your username and an email address.)
- Go back to the activation page via the Start button, and select Settings.
- Navigate to the Update & security tab, and click Activation.
- Select Troubleshoot, and click I changed hardware on this device recently.
- Choose Next in case the troubleshooter returns the error Windows can’t be activated on your device.
If your Windows 10 license is linked to the digital license/digital entitlement on your device, you will have to sign in to your Microsoft account then reactivate Windows using the troubleshooter.
This is for situations where the problem arises after a considerable hardware change such as changing the CPU.
4. Contact Support
If your PC still claims that Windows needs activation again after trying all the above solutions, then contact Microsoft’s official support team, and explain your situation to them.
They are usually very helpful and will verify if your Product Key is genuine and allocate you an ID to help you reactivate Windows 10.
There you go, these are a couple of solutions that you can try if Windows needs activation again. Which of these solutions helped you solve the problem? Leave us your answer or other suggestions in the comment section below.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2019 and was revamped and updated in January 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
This post was written by Madalina Dinita and was first posted to WindowsReport