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  1. a5cent's Avatar
    If you think any other questions should be included in this FAQ, please mention it below and I'll see what I can do.

    1. Can I activate W10 using my W8 or W7 license key?

    No. W10 can't be activated with anything but a W10 license key.

    A W10 key is acquired by either:

    a) purchasing a retail copy of W10, or by
    b) doing an in-place upgrad of your genuine and activated W8.x or W7.1 installation (while being connected to the internet!)

    Option (b) does the following:

    a) creates a new W10 license key based on your existing/active/installed license key
    b) stores the W10 license key in the cloud
    b) creates a key that identifies the hardware your copy of W10 is running on and associates that with your new W10 license key

    From here on out (for the machine you installed W10 onto) W10 will no longer require you to provide any key for activation purposes.

    After having done the above, you can also clean-install W10 from any source (USB thumb drive, DVD, Media Creation Tool) without requiring a license key. See (2) below for more information.


    2. I did a W10 clean-install from bootable media (ISO, USB Drive, DVD, etc). Now I can't activate W10. What's up?

    Prior to doing a clean install, you must have done an in-place upgrade of your W8.x or W7 installation at least once. Whether that occurred before the 29th with an insiders preview install or afterwards doesn't matter. It just must have occurred. Failing that, MS will have no online record of your upgraded W10 license key nor of the hardware it was associated with.

    See (1) above for more information.

    After having done an in-place upgrade, you can then clean-install W10 and skip all the prompts where the setup process asks you for a W10 key. At the end of the setup process, once you've gone online, Windows will notice your valid W10 license that was previously stored in the cloud and use it to activate W10.


    3. I'm not getting a prompt to upgrade my W8.x or W7 installation. Why not? What should I do?

    The W10 rollout is staggered. Those who reserved W10 early will be able to upgrade sooner. You might not be scheduled for the update quite yet, but you can force an update.

    This WCentral article explains one of your options, and this one explains more. The issue is also being discussed in this thread.

    Last but not least, you can also download the media creation tool, run it, and then choose the "Upgrade this PC now" option. This also does an in-place upgrade, not a clean install.


    4. Where can I download the official installation media to do a clean install?

    Windows 10 media creation tool
    Windows 8.1 media creation tool
    Windows 7.1 ISO download


    5. "Windows not activated" after clean install. Attempting activation results in error code: 0xC004C003. What now?

    You're likely a victim of some of MS' activation servers being overloaded.

    MS has sent out e-mails stating that waiting for a day or two should automatically resolve the issue. This has also been confirmed by MS support staff, and many of our members in the forum.
    Last edited by a5cent; 08-13-2015 at 04:51 PM. Reason: added more
    07-29-2015 07:54 AM
  2. knight820's Avatar
    I have a desktop installed windows 8.1 with genuine license, and then upgraded to preview build 10162 through iso, and updated to 10240 then opt out insider program.
    Would my desktop keep activated and stay genuine?
    Last edited by knight820; 07-29-2015 at 10:12 AM.
    07-29-2015 10:02 AM
  3. a5cent's Avatar
    I have a desktop installed windows 8.1 with genuine license, and then upgraded to preview build 10162 through iso, and updated to 10240 then opt out insider program.
    Would my desktop keep activated and stay genuine?
    I've deleted the original response because you edited your post since I first replied.

    Nowhere have you stated that you did an in-place upgrade from W8.1. Without that the answer is "no".
    Last edited by a5cent; 07-30-2015 at 05:18 AM.
    Guytronic and gpobernardo like this.
    07-29-2015 10:12 AM
  4. rhapdog's Avatar
    People who are getting the ISO for install may also want to get the file for the final 1GB Day One Windows 10 Patch.

    Check the WC article here:
    Microsoft finalizes 1GB day one Windows 10 patch
    07-29-2015 10:24 AM
  5. Draganta's Avatar
    Help! Cant activate! I did NOT use a 8.1 key but the mods keep saying that in my topics... please read my posts before closing, thank you :)

    I get the error 0xC004F034 that I have a invalid licence, I just did an upgrade, I did not use a 8.1 key or entered any key. What can I do?
    maevinj likes this.
    07-29-2015 12:09 PM
  6. maevinj's Avatar
    I did the exact same thing as you, and I'm receiving the same error message..
    Draganta likes this.
    07-29-2015 12:29 PM
  7. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Help! Cant activate! I did NOT use a 8.1 key
    So... There was no Key on your 8.1 system?

    It reads for a valid key on the outgoing. It needs to find one. That gets converted to a new key.

    What do you mean you did not use a key?
    gpobernardo likes this.
    07-29-2015 12:33 PM
  8. Draganta's Avatar
    So... There was no Key on your 8.1 system?

    It reads for a valid key on the outgoing. It needs to find one. That gets converted to a new key.

    What do you mean you did not use a key?
    I just updated from my valid Windows 8.1, the laptop is done upgrading now, and it has the same issue. I just cant activate. Both upgraded from a legit Windows 8.1 I bought.
    07-29-2015 12:42 PM
  9. areithropos's Avatar
    I have the same issues. I am unable to activate my Acer Iconia W510. I used a program to read out its key just in case I need it in the future but the key does not work with Windows 10.

    Actually it should have worked automatically because my Iconia uses UEFI and has its key saved inside its BIOS and therefore Windows is able to read it out by itself.
    07-29-2015 12:50 PM
  10. RumoredNow's Avatar
    What license type was it?

    OEM, Retail, Volume?

    The upgrade must not have read it as Genuine or of the appropriate type. Contact Customer Care or go to This PC > Properties and follow the help in the dialog box for Activation.

    microsoft customer care - Bing
    a5cent and gpobernardo like this.
    07-29-2015 12:51 PM
  11. RumoredNow's Avatar
    I have the same issues. I am unable to activate my Acer Iconia W510. I used a program to read out its key just in case I need it in the future but the key does not work with Windows 10.

    Actually it should have worked automatically because my Iconia uses UEFI and has its key saved inside its BIOS and therefore Windows is able to read it out by itself.
    The Upgrade should read your old key and convert to a new key. The old key will not activate 10.
    gpobernardo likes this.
    07-29-2015 12:52 PM
  12. Albert_Elliot's Avatar
    Hey guys!
    I have a Windows Single Language in Portuguese, but I want to change the display language to English, to use Cortana. But since its a "single language", I don't know if its possible. Can you guys help me here?

    Thanks
    07-29-2015 01:07 PM
  13. pjm1891's Avatar
    So I upgraded my SurfacePro3 and now it won't activate Windows 10. Did the upgrade from the icon in Win8 taskbar next to the clock.
    07-29-2015 01:09 PM
  14. Isror's Avatar
    So far not having any luck with upgrading a licensed Windows 8.1 box to 10 and then doing a clean install to 10. After I sign in, still no joy on the licensing.
    07-29-2015 01:16 PM
  15. RumoredNow's Avatar
    So I upgraded my SurfacePro3 and now it won't activate Windows 10. Did the upgrade from the icon in Win8 taskbar next to the clock.
    It is supposed to read your old License and convert it for 10.

    Something went amiss there. Contact Customer Care or go to This PC > Properties and follow the help in the dialog box for Activation.

    microsoft customer care - Bing
    pjm1891 and gpobernardo like this.
    07-29-2015 01:16 PM
  16. a5cent's Avatar
    Help! Cant activate! I did NOT use a 8.1 key but the mods keep saying that in my topics... please read my posts before closing, thank you
    We're trying our best, but you're not communicating very clearly. Above you stated the following:

    I just updated from my valid Windows 8.1, the laptop is done upgrading now, and it has the same issue. I just cant activate. Both upgraded from a legit Windows 8.1 I bought.
    I understand this to mean you went through the in-place upgrade process on both of your machines. However, in the thread that I closed you made a different statement:

    Before we start, let me say: I did not use a Windows 8.1 key, I just upgraded Windows 8.1 with the Media creation tool.
    That you used the "media creation tool" tells me that you did a clean install from a USB Drive or DVD. That's not the same thing. If this is in fact what you did, then then the first entry in the FAQ tells you what isn't working. Based on my understanding of what you wrote, I'd still close your thread and link you to this thread.

    I'm not sure I understand what you actually did anymore.
    07-29-2015 01:19 PM
  17. Scorpio5x0's Avatar
    I upgraded one of my Windows 7 computers via ISO. It would not activate online or activate via phone. I was told by the Microsoft rep that there is an issue with activation via ISO. He advised that there were two options rollback to Windows 7 and then wait for Win 10 through Windows Updates or go to the Windows Store and purchase a new key. Has anyone been able to activate via ISO?
    07-29-2015 01:25 PM
  18. a5cent's Avatar
    I have the same issues. I am unable to activate my Acer Iconia W510. I used a program to read out its key just in case I need it in the future but the key does not work with Windows 10.

    Actually it should have worked automatically because my Iconia uses UEFI and has its key saved inside its BIOS and therefore Windows is able to read it out by itself.
    You're not providing enough information for anyone to help you:

    - What was installed on your machine before you started? W10 TP? W8.1? Something else?
    - Did you do an in-place upgrade, or did you do a clean install from installation media?
    - At what stage are you in the setup/upgrade process where the installer is asking you to provide the key?

    Either way, you appear to be trying to activate W10 with a W? key and that has never worked in the history of Windows.
    Guytronic and gpobernardo like this.
    07-29-2015 01:28 PM
  19. a5cent's Avatar
    I upgraded one of my Windows 7 computers via ISO. It would not activate online or activate via phone. I was told by the Microsoft rep that there is an issue with activation via ISO. He advised that there were two options rollback to Windows 7 and then wait for Win 10 through Windows Updates or go to the Windows Store and purchase a new key. Has anyone been able to activate via ISO?
    This is exactly the issue that is answered by the first item in the FAQ at the top of this thread!

    If you don't understand something let me know what and I'll try to make it clearer.
    Guytronic and gpobernardo like this.
    07-29-2015 01:29 PM
  20. Scorpio5x0's Avatar
    This is exactly the issue that is answered by the first item in the FAQ at the top of this thread!

    If you don't understand something let me know what and I'll try to make it clearer.
    When upgrading your system is the update process not supposed to convert your Win 7 license to a Win 10 license or am I missing something?
    07-29-2015 01:35 PM
  21. Yogesh Malhotra's Avatar
    I am on build 10162 and now wants to install windows 10 official version directly.. Is der any way to do this.. Bcoz when I am checking update its prompting downloading professional 10240 . I don't want to install 10240 . Can I skip this?
    07-29-2015 01:38 PM
  22. a5cent's Avatar
    When upgrading your system is the update process not supposed to convert your Win 7 license to a Win 10 license or am I missing something?
    No!

    You specifically said you did a clean install from ISO. In FAQ item (1) I explain why that doesn't upgrade your license. I just added FAQ item (2) that explains basically the same thing, but states the question differently so you'll be more likely to think of it being applicable to your situation.

    I'd appreciate your help in improving the FAQ if it's still not clear. ;-)
    07-29-2015 01:45 PM
  23. Isror's Avatar
    Ok so after I synced my Microsoft account with the code sent to my phone...Its acting like its licensed, but when I go into the Activation pane, it still shows an error. I can do other functions previously not allowed like customizing my themes etc. Nothing saying "You must activate" except in the Activation pane.

    I'm trying to get MS on then phone but that'll be another year or so lol
    07-29-2015 01:47 PM
  24. Scorpio5x0's Avatar
    No!

    You specifically said you did a clean install from ISO. In FAQ item (1) I explain why that doesn't upgrade your license. I just added FAQ item (2) that explains basically the same thing, but states the question differently so you'll be more likely to think of it being applicable to your situation.

    I'd appreciate your help in improving the FAQ if it's still not clear. ;-)
    I didn't mention a clean install. But regardless, my confusion was believing that upgrading via ISO would convert those licenses. I am glad I didn't use my primary computer as the guinea pig. Based on that, for anyone else trying to upgrade, I would not use the ISO file for the initial upgrade.
    a5cent and gpobernardo like this.
    07-29-2015 01:53 PM
  25. a5cent's Avatar
    I didn't mention a clean install. But regardless, my confusion was believing that upgrading via ISO would convert those licenses. I am glad I didn't use my primary computer as the guinea pig. Based on that, for anyone else trying to upgrade, I would not use the ISO file for the initial upgrade.
    You said you installed using an ISO. I thought that implied a clean install... that's normally how it's thought to be used anyway...

    Using an ISO to do an in-place upgrade... no idea. I haven't read anything about that option online and have no experience with it myself. Now I think I understand where the misunderstanding occurred. You're the first person I've seen that has provided feedback for that approach.
    Guytronic and gpobernardo like this.
    07-29-2015 01:55 PM
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