Get help with Windows 10 activation errors

Here are some of the most common activation errors in Windows 10, and a few things you can try to fix the problems that are causing them. For more info about how activation works in Windows 10, see Activation in Windows 10.

Activation error What it means and how to fix it
Activation error

Windows 10 isn't activated after upgrading for free from Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update

What it means and how to fix it

If you upgraded to Windows 10 for free and ended up in a non-activated state, try following these steps:


  1. Select the Start Start button icon button, then select Settings > Update & security > Activation.
  2. If your activation status is Connect to the Internet to activate Windows, select Activate to manually activate Windows. If this doesn't work, contact customer support.


    -or-


    If your activation status is Windows is not activated, it might mean you didn't upgrade to Windows 10 before reinstalling. If this is the case, buy genuine Windows from the Windows Store to activate it successfully, or go back to your previous version of Windows and then use the free upgrade offer to Windows 10.


    If you already upgraded and activated Windows 10 and see this activation status after reinstalling Windows, contact customer support.


If you have a valid product key, you can use it to activate Windows:


  1. Select the Start Start button icon button, then select Settings > Update & security > Activation.
  2. Select Change product key, and then type the 25-character product key.

Notes

  • For more info about how to use a Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 product key to activate Windows 10 (Version 1511 or higher), see Activation in Windows 10.

  • If you've made significant hardware changes to your PC (such as replacing the hard drive or motherboard), contact customer support to activate Windows.

  • For more info about how to go back to a previous version of Windows, see the section in Recovery options in Windows 10.

Activation error

Windows is not activated as your previous version of Windows on this device was not activated prior to upgrade to Windows 10. (Error code: 0x803F7001)


Windows can't activate right now. (Error code: 0x803f7001, 0x800704cF)

What it means and how to fix it

You might see this error if no valid Windows license was found for your device when upgrading to Windows 10 or if you performed a clean installation of Windows 10, which requires a new license to activate your copy of Windows.


If you have a valid product key, use it to activate Windows:


  1. Select the Start Start button icon button, then select Settings > Update & security > Activation.
  2. Select Change product key, and then type the 25-character product key.

Notes

  • For more info about how to use a Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 product key to activate Windows 10 (Version 1511 or higher), see Activation in Windows 10.

  • If you've made significant hardware changes to your device (such as replacing the hard drive or motherboard), contact customer support to activate Windows.

Activation error

This product key didn't work. (Error code: 0xC004C003, 0xC004C060, 0xC004C4A2, 0xC004C4A2, 0x803FA067L, 0xC004C001, 0xC004C004, 0xC004F004, 0xC004C007, 0xC004F005, 0xC004C00F, 0xC004C010, 0xC004C00E, 0xC004C4A4, 0xC004C4A5, 0xC004B001, 0xC004F010, 0xC004F050)

What it means and how to fix it

There are a few reasons why you might see this error:


  • You entered a product key that can't be used to activate Windows. You'll need to enter a different product key or buy a new product key.

  • You performed a clean installation of Windows 10 instead of first upgrading from your previous version of Windows. When this happens, we aren't able to register your entitlement with the activation servers because you aren't upgrading to Windows 10. To fix this, go back to your previous version of Windows, make sure the previous version is activated, and then upgrade to Windows 10. For more info about how to go back to a previous version of Windows, see the section in Recovery options in Windows 10.

  • You upgraded to Windows 10, but the activation servers were busy. If you upgraded from an activated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, your copy of Windows 10 will be automatically activated, or you can wait a while and then select Activate. If you continue having problems with activation, contact customer support.

  • You upgraded to Windows 10 using the free upgrade offer, but Windows 10 isn't activated after a reinstall. Your copy of Windows 10 should automatically be activated so long as you didn't make any significant hardware changes to your device (such as replacing the hard drive or motherboard). If you continue having problems with activation, contact customer support.

Activation error

License could not be found or was invalid. (Error code: 0xC004F034)

What it means and how to fix it

You might see this error if you entered an invalid product key or a product key for a different version of Windows. Enter a valid product key that matches the version and edition of Windows 10 installed on your device.


If Windows is installed on a device that connects to a KMS server, contact your organization's support person for more info about how to activate Windows.

Activation error

The product key you entered cannot be used to activate this edition. (Error code: 0xC004F210)

What it means and how to fix it

You might see this error if you entered a product key for a different edition of Windows than the edition installed on your device. You might also see this error if you previously upgraded to Windows 10, but the current edition of Windows installed on your device doesn't match the edition of your digital entitlement.


You can either enter a valid product key that matches the edition of Windows installed on your device or re-install the edition of Windows 10 that matches your digital entitlement.

Activation error

Error installing product key (Error code: 0xC004E016, 0xC004F210)

What it means and how to fix it

You might see this error if you entered a product key for a different version or edition of Windows. For example, a product key for the Enterprise edition of Windows 10 can't be used to activate Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Core editions.

Activation error

Genuine Validation detected tampered Windows binaries. (Error code: 0xC004C4AE)

What it means and how to fix it

You might see this error if you used a third-party app to add a display language that isn't currently supported by Windows. To fix the problem, restore your PC to an earlier point in time to undo the changes that were made to Windows. For more info, see the section about restoring from a system restore point in Recovery options in Windows 10.


If this doesn't fix the problem, it's possible that your copy of Windows isn't valid and you'll need to buy a new copy.

Activation error

A networking problem has occurred while activating your copy of Windows. (Error code: 0xC004FC03)

What it means and how to fix it

You might see this error if you're not connected to the Internet or your firewall settings are preventing Windows from completing the activation process online. Check to make sure you're connected to the Internet and your firewall isn't blocking Windows from activating. If you're still having problems, try activating Windows by phone. Type SLUI 04 in the search box on the taskbar, select SLUI 04, and then follow the instructions on the screen to activate Windows.

Activation error

Connect to Internet to activate Windows. (Error code: 0x8007267C)

What it means and how to fix it

You might see this error if you’re not connected to the Internet or the activation server is temporarily unavailable. Check to make sure you're connected to the Internet and your firewall isn't blocking Windows from activating.

Activation error

Windows couldn’t be activated right now. We’ll keep trying to activate it for you. (Error code: 0xD0000272, 0xC0000272, 0xc004C012, 0xC004C013, 0xC004C014)

What it means and how to fix it

If the activation server is temporarily unavailable, your copy of Windows will automatically be activated when the service comes back online.

Activation error

The activation server reported that the product key has exceeded its unlock limit. (Error code: 0xC004C008)


This product key is already being used on another PC. (Error code: 0xC004C770, 0x803FA071)

What it means and how to fix it

You might see this error if the product key has already been used on another PC, or it's being used on more PCs than the Microsoft Software License Terms allow. To fix the problem, buy a product key for each one of your PCs to activate Windows on them.


You can buy a new product key from the Windows Store or a participating retailer. To buy a product key from the Store:


  1. Select the Start Start button icon button, then select Settings > Update & security > Activation.
  2. Select Go to Store, and then follow the instructions to buy Windows.

Note

  • If you don't see Go to Store on the Activation page, contact your organization's support person.

  • If you made substantial hardware changes to your device, such as replacing the hard drive or motherboard, try activating Windows by phone. Type SLUI 04 in the search box on the taskbar, select SLUI 04, and then follow the instructions on the screen to activate Windows.

Activation error

This PC isn't activated anymore. If you reinstalled Windows or made changes to your hardware recently, contact customer support. (Error code: 0xC004F00F)

What it means and how to fix it

You might see this error if the product key you entered is no longer able to activate your copy of Windows.

Note

  • If you made substantial hardware changes to your device, such as replacing the hard drive or motherboard, contact customer support to activate Windows.

Activation error

The activation server reported that the Multiple Activation Key has exceeded its limit. (Error code: 0xC004C020)

What it means and how to fix it

This error occurs when a Volume License (a license that has been bought from Microsoft by a business to install Windows on multiple PCs) has been used on more PCs than the Microsoft Software License Terms allow. To fix the problem, you might need to use a different product key to activate Windows on your PC. Contact your organization's support person for more info.

Activation error

DNS name does not exist. (Error code: 0x8007232B, 0xC004F074, 0xC004F038)


The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect. (Error code: 0x8007007B)

What it means and how to fix it

You might see this error if you entered a product key for the Enterprise edition of Windows to activate Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro. Try entering a product key that matches the edition of Windows on your device.


-or-


You might see this error if you're trying to activate your work PC but aren't connected to your workplace's network. If you're connected to your work network and still see this error, you might need to change your network settings. Contact your organization's support person for more info.


If your organization doesn't have a support person, you might need to enter your product key again. Follow these steps:


  1. Select the Start Start button icon button, then select Settings > Update & security > Activation.
  2. Select Change product key, and then type your 25-character product key.


Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

Activation error

A security error occurred. (Error code: 0x80072F8F)

What it means and how to fix it

You might see this error if the PC’s date and time are incorrect, or Windows is having trouble connecting to the online activation service and can't verify your product key.


To verify your PC's date and time, follow these steps:


  1. Select the Start Start button icon button, then select Settings > Time & language > Date & time
  2. Check to make sure your PC is using the correct date and time.


To check your Internet connection, follow these steps:


  1. Enter network troubleshooter in the search box on the taskbar, and then select Identify and repair network problems.

  2. Follow the instructions on the screen to fix any problems with your network.


If the network troubleshooter didn't find any problems with your network connection, try restarting your PC to see if that fixes the problem.

Activation error

The Software Licensing Service reported that the license evaluation failed. (Error code: 0xC004E003)

What it means and how to fix it

You might see this error after installing third-party software that changed system files. Windows activation needs certain system files to complete activation. You can try to restore your PC's system files back to an earlier point in time. This will remove any software you installed after that point in time without affecting your personal files. For more info, see the section about restoring from a system restore point in Recovery options in Windows 10.

Activation error

Unspecified error. (Error code: 0x80004005)

What it means and how to fix it
If you see this error, select the Start Start button icon button, then select Settings > Update & security > Activation, and then select Activate to try and manually activate Windows. If that doesn't work, you might need to reset your PC. For more info, see the section in Recovery options in Windows 10.