Learn What IT Pros Need to Know About Windows 11 - August 26th at 1 PM ET! Learn What IT Pros Need to Know About Windows 11 - August 26th at 1 PM ET!
Windows 10

Microsoft Provides Guidance On Windows 10 Activation: Digital Entitlement vs Product Key

Windows 10

With Windows 10, Microsoft is introducing a new way to activate your copy of Windows 10 that they are calling digital entitlement. Because digital entitlement is new and moves away from the traditional product key activation process, the company has provided guidance on how and when each method is used.

Posted below is the guidance that Microsoft has provided with Windows 10 that should cover nearly all of the scenarios you may see.

How you got Windows 10 Activation method
You upgraded to Windows 10 for free from an eligible device running a genuine copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Digital entitlement
You bought genuine Windows 10 from the Windows Store and successfully activated Windows 10. Digital entitlement
You bought a Windows 10 Pro upgrade from the Windows Store and successfully activated Windows 10. Digital entitlement
You’re a Windows Insider and upgraded to the newestWindows 10 Insider Preview build on an eligible device that was running an activated previous version of Windows andWindows 10 Preview. Digital entitlement
You bought a copy of Windows 10 from an authorized retailer. Product key

Sponsored Content

Read the Best Personal and Business Tech without Ads

Staying updated on what is happening in the technology sector is important to your career and your personal life but ads can make reading news, distracting. With Thurrott Premium, you can enjoy the best coverage in tech without the annoying ads.

(On a label inside the box Windows 10 came in.)

You bought a digital copy of Windows 10 from an authorized retailer. Product key

(In the confirmation email you received after buyingWindows 10 or in a digital locker accessible through the retailer’s website.)

You have a Volume Licensing agreement for Windows 10 or MSDN subscription. Product key

(Available through the web portal for your program.)

You bought a new device running Windows 10. Product key

(Pre–installed on your device, included with the device packaging, or included as a card or on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached to the device.)

Microsoft says that a ‘significant hardware change’ means that Windows 10 may no longer be activated. Unfortunately, they don’t list explicitly what may cause Windows 10 to be no longer activated but they do state that changing your motherboard can cause Windows 10 to no longer activate.

If you had any questions about if you should have a digital entitlement or a product key, hopefully this chart will help. Microsoft’ new digital entitlement feature is designed to help make the activation process easier for those who are upgrading or re-installing the OS but did raise quite a few questions when the OS was launched.

If you question is not with this chart, Microsoft has a few more bits of information about the activation process that you can read here.

Related Topics:


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Sign up for a Petri Account

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Brad Sams has more than a decade of writing and publishing experience under his belt including helping to establish new and seasoned publications From breaking news about upcoming Microsoft products to telling the story of how a billion dollar brand was birthed in his book, Beneath a Surface, Brad is a well-rounded journalist who has established himself as a trusted name in the industry.

Register for Advanced Microsoft 365 Day!

GET-IT: Advanced Microsoft 365 1-Day Virtual Conference - Live August 24th!

Join us on Tuesday, August 24th and hear from Microsoft MVPs and industry experts about how to take advantage of Microsoft 365 at a technical level and dive deep into the features and functionality that will make your environment more secure and compliant.


Sponsored By