Windows 10 Problem Activating Pro

NedF

Well-Known Member
Background... a few days ago I shutdown and disconnected my Desktop PC (running valid upgrade to Pro) and cleaned the inside (compressed air). Upon reconnecting it to all of the cords it decided to go into a BSOD loop.

Long story short I did a repair and then did a hardware test (all was OK). Only problem is my pro licence won't re-activate. I ran showkeyplus on both of my computers (the Desktop and Laptop) and it looks like they are both trying to use the same Pro key (both of the keys were purchased through Windows Store).

After over an hour with level one help at Microsoft and the person remote logging into my PC I now have an appointment in a few days with level 2...

Ultimately she started downloading the install ISO file so that I could reinstall home and then go back to the windows store to get the key again. The problem is the ISO file she downloaded defaulted to Pro again like when I did the repair.

I am going to attempt the reinstall and go directly to the store to see if it can grab the correct key.

If that doesn't work does anyone have a better solution. I know I saved all of the keys to a file somewhere but unfortunately I can't find it!

I know I have had to repair the OS on the Laptop so I am not sure which one is the offender and is using the wrong key.

Thanks in advance for any help;
 

BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
Hi,
well repairing OSes and reinstalling them with Activation often requires the services of a licensed Tech to get that sort of thing sorted out.
If you haven't backed up all your personal data on both PC and laptop, I would suggest you do that first, using File Explorer and external hdd or flash drive or other external media. Make sure to disconnect BOTH PC and Laptop from the Internet, and then pick a computer, say the Desktop PC with the W10 Pro on it. Wipe that clean, and perform a W10 install using the MCT tool from Microsoft via downloaded ISO file. You can use IMGburn to get it onto DVD disc or other tool like WiNToBootIC to burn to USB stick. Here's that link: Download Windows 10

After running the MCT tool to get a Clean Install on W10 Pro on your desktop PC, attempt to activate it using whatever key you have. If it was activated previously, Microsoft servers will recall your previous activation on that hardware and should reactivate it. If it Activates, then disconnect the Desktop PC, and repeat this procedure for your laptop. If that works as well; and you have 2 computers both Activated, but when you plug in the 2nd computer, in this scenario the laptop, but it deactivates itself, you did something wrong or are trying to use the same Activation key on both computers, which is not possible as you are already aware. If it does work, you'll know since reconnecting the desktop PC back to the Internet alongside the laptop also on the Internet and Activated without any error messages such as the windows background error message (on your wallpaper), you've resolved the problem and are good to go! :up:

If the laptop won't deactivate as soon as you plug in the newly reinstalled W10 laptop, chances are you are using the same exact key on 2 different computers, which you cannot do!:ohno: To resolve this, you can buy a key for about $45 online or a full retail license for up to $199 for W10 Pro also online. Vendors differ, and many are scams to get your money; so if you can't find a low-cost key online, you'll have to pop for the $199 and get a real retail legit W10 Pro or W10 Home license for that laptop, to run whichever OS you want on that laptop. I have done both, and the former method can be much trickier for home user.:andwhat: If you run into this, consider taking the laptop to a licensed Tech at your local repair shop (I recommend Best Buy Geek Squad) and paying them to sort out your issue. Remember if you do this, you will need to take in BOTH your Desktop PC and your laptop to them so they can sort this out. That could leave you without a computer for a week or more depending on how busy the store or Techs are you take it to.:cash: (unless you have additional computers you can use in your household while those 2 are being repaired). Expect this to cost between $60 per computer or more. That would be about $120 or more to fix that. So, if you lost those keys, it's your bad, and you are probably going to have to spend $120-$200 or more to get this problem resolved. You might have to cough up some cash to fix this problem. It's your fault and not Microsoft's, so don't expect them to fix it for free.:noway:

The nice thing about taking your 2 computers to a certified repair shop, is they can purchase the correct W10 OS keys for you either via retail packaging (like on the shelf in a Best Buy store), or via credit card download from a legit online reseller such as newegg or amazon, and then bill you for the W10 along with the labor to fix everything.

Let us know how it goes or if you have any more questions. Windows licensing is not for the faint of heart!
<<<BIGBEARJEDI>>> :brew:
 

NedF

Well-Known Member
Thank you for the reply, I will save it for future reference.

But;

When the install finished and I knew something was different as my purchased tiles started to reload (they would not when the copy was considered not activated).

The copy now says activated by digital licence linked to my Microsoft account, but it still has the same key as the laptop. I am beginning to suspect the laptop was the one that grabbed the wrong key when I repaired it about 6 months ago.

I have rebooted them both and both are happy for now. I am going to let them co-exist as long as Microsoft does not kick one off but plan on cleaning up the laptop and reinstalling the OS on it from scratch and see if it grabs the correct key from the store.
 

Neemobeer

Windows Forum Team
Staff member
When you purchase either a full copy or upgrade through the Microsoft store it isn't actually a product key. They are called digital licenses. You can have up to 5 digital licenses associated to the same Microsoft account. These licenses are unique to a device and based off the hardware profile. You may try logging into your Microsoft account and see if you can tell which license is associated to a device.
https://account.microsoft.com
 

ussnorway

Windows Forum Team
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft has a copy of both keys at their end... so you are fine
I also noticed my new ryzen desktop got the same activation key as my i7 laptop when I let it auto-activate but this is a known issue (caused at Microsoft server end) and as long as you do have the other keys its fine.
 

BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
Great, Ned! Thanks for letting us know how things went and that it's now working Ok for you.:up:
Enjoy your weekend! :usa:

Best,
BBJ
 
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