Why Does My Laptop Say “Activate Windows”? (Explained)

Why Does My Laptop Say "Activate Windows"? (Explained)

If your laptop keeps asking you to “Activate Windows” even though your Windows 11 or 10 is already activated by asking for the Product Key, there are a few aspects you should check into to resolve the issue.

If you go to Windows Settings > Update & Security > Activation, you may see a message, “Windows is activated.”

However, just below it, you may notice a message that says “Activate Windows” with two buttons.

For example, one button says “Activate the OS copy using the existing product key,” while the other says “Change product key.”

If you have a similar issue, read through the post to see if anything helps.

Why Does my laptop keep prompting me to Activate Windows?

What’s the source of the problem? An invalid activation key: If you’ve been using an invalid key, your Windows license will appear to be invalidated on your computer.

When you reinstall Windows, your computer may lose its license. Windows will occasionally turn off after an update.

Suppose your laptop stopped working, and it was discovered that the motherboard had died. You decided to build a computer instead of buying one because you always seem to have problems with laptops.

You wanted everything from your laptop, including the operating system, so you inserted the hard drive from your laptop into the computer.

Everything worked, but now there is a small message in the bottom left corner of the screen telling me to activate Windows. Of course, your laptop never had that message, and you’re not sure why it says it’s no longer active.

If you bought a laptop that already had Windows 8.1 installed, you would need to upgrade to Windows 10, or you can use the product key to activate Windows 10 on your new system.

So, for example, if you had an older version of Windows installed on your laptop, you’d need to purchase a new copy of Windows 10.

What happens if Windows isn’t activated?

Settings will contain a message saying, “Windows isn’t activated; activate Windows now.” You won’t be able to change the wallpaper, accent colors, themes, lock screen, or other settings.

Anything related to personalization will be greyed out or inaccessible. Some programs and features will no longer function.

Why Would you not want to activate Windows 10?

Unactivated Windows 10 does not have as many features as other operating systems. However, you will not receive important security updates.

Repairs and patches Personalization options are limited—windows with a watermark. You will be constantly reminded to activate Windows 10.

What exactly is a Windows product key?

A product key is a 25-character code used to activate Windows and check that it has not been used on more PCs than the Microsoft Software License Terms allow.

Windows 10: Windows 10 usually activates itself using a digital license and does not require a product key.

How do I access a Windows 10 product key?

Purchase a license for Windows 10. Select the Start button. Settings > Update & Security > Activation Go to the store by clicking Go to Store.

Why Does My Laptop Say "Activate Windows"? (Explained)

How do I activate Windows 7 without a product key?

The Command Prompt program will be included in the search results. Right-click the Command Prompt entry and select “Run as Administrator.”

This will start the command prompt application as an administrator. Enter “slmgr -rearm” into the command line and press “Enter.”

Microsoft improves the Windows 10 activation process:

Microsoft has made it easier to activate Windows 10 on devices that have taken advantage of the free upgrade to genuine Windows by using Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 product keys.

However, if you perform a clean install of Windows 10 by booting from the media, you can also use the product key from a previous version of Windows on devices that meet specific requirements.

More info:

Most Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 product keys can now be used to activate Windows 10 as of the November update (Version 1511).

For more information, see the section on this topic titled “Activating Windows 10 (Version 1511 or higher) with a Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 product key.”

Activation following reinstalling Windows 10

How you activate after reinstalling Windows 10 is determined by how Windows 10 was installed the first time on your device.

For example, you get a digital entitlement for your device if you used a free upgrade to Windows 10 or purchased and activated Windows 10 from the Windows Store.

This means you can reinstall the same version of Windows 10 that your device is digitally entitled to without entering a product key; select Skip if you are prompted for a product key during reinstallation. After the installation completes, Windows 10 will automatically activate online.

If you previously installed and activated Windows 10 with a product key, you’ll need to enter that product key again when you reinstall.

After upgrading to Windows 10, look for your Windows 7 product key. In addition, you upgraded your computer to Windows 10, and now you want to reinstall Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Click the Start button, then go to Settings > Update & security > Activation. If Windows 10 isn’t working on your device, see Get help with Windows 10 activation errors for more information.

One of the most common is a generic key used on computers with “Digital entitlement.” Digital entitlement is a new way to activate Windows 10 that does not require a product key.

Does Windows run slower if it’s not activated?

The software detects that you will not purchase a genuine Windows license, but you start to use the operating system. Starting up and using the operating system now takes about 5% longer than when you first installed it.

What happens once Windows is activated?

When you activate Windows over the Internet, it connects to Microsoft and reports its product key.

The activation process will fail if your Windows product key is a forgery (also known as a “pirated key”) or is being used on another computer. You can also contact Microsoft to activate Windows.

Does Activating Windows Change Anything?

Activation ensures that your copy of Windows is genuine and has not been used on more devices than the Microsoft Software License Terms allow. When you install Windows 10, the digital license is linked to your device’s hardware.

Does activating Windows 10 improve performance?

When you activate Windows 10, the performance of your games will not change. The only thing that will affect how well your computer works for gaming is the hardware.

You must ensure that your hardware, such as the processor, memory, graphics card, and disc space, meets the requirements.


If your laptop keeps asking you to “Activate Windows” even though Windows 11 or 10 is already activated, it could be asking for the Product Key. However, a few key factors must be considered to solve the problem.

You now have a digital entitlement for your device if you received Windows 10 for free or bought and activated it from the Windows Store.

A product key is a 25-character code required for Windows activation. It assists in ensuring that Windows has not been installed on more PCs than the Microsoft Software License Terms allow. After the installation completion, Windows 10 will immediately go online.

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