Crashes, hardware additions/changes or a system rebuild all can deal a death blow to Windows and/or Windows activation. While in a previous article it was explained that Windows 10 will work without activation, if you have (or had) a valid working copy there shouldn’t be any reason not to activate Windows in the event you have to re-install or re-initialize the activation itself. Gone are the days of reading the small print of a product key printed on a sticker, stuck somewhere on the side of a tower or the bottom of a laptop. Today product keys are stored in the BIOS or a table located on the motherboard, or within your Microsoft account. If you suffer a motherboard failure you loose the product key. So how do you get your re-activate Windows?
There are several ways to re-activate your Windows 10 licensure.
- run the Windows 10 Update Troubleshooter to recover from BIOS
- should you have it, use the copy that was emailed to you when you first built your system
- if this was an upgrade, use the upgrade key
- use the “I don’t have a Product Key” link during re-installation (once you have a desktop there is a “I changed hardware on this device recently.” process.
- use Microsoft Chat Support
Rather than re-invent the wheel, check out a recent article by Kevin Parrish entitled “How to Reactivate Windows 10 After a Hardware Change” on howtogeek.com, he gives a good run down on the aforementioned processes along with some screen shots. Unfortunately if you don’t have ready access to your key the process is daunting. Should you elect to purchase a key (after 2-3 hours of trouble shooting this is the most cost effective way depending upon how you value your time) make sure you get it from a reputable supplier. There are hacked copies from bulk licensures being sold online, they will simply stop working when their rightful owners recover the key for their use. Check out the article on “TheWindowsClub.com” to learn about how to check to see if your key is valid.
… or if you’re tired of the corporate monopoly OS, try Linux. There are plenty of software alternatives that match basic computer use.