News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more. Tech help. No bull. We're community supported by donations from our Plus Members, and proud of it
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • "Activate Windows 10" message on screen

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Questions: Win10 "Activate Windows 10" message on screen

    This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Paul T 3 weeks, 5 days ago.

    • Author
      Posts
    • #1877892 Reply

      DrBB01
      AskWoody Plus

      About a year and a half ago, I bought a refurbished PC with Windows 10 Home installed. Everything was fine for several months, until the power went out. When I restarted the PC, a greyed out message appeared in the bottom right portion of my display: “Activate Windows 10. Go to Settings to activate Windows.” Apparently, I need some kind of a key or license to do so. When I contacted the seller, he said to bring it back and he would do that. Unfortunately, I moved and cannot get back to the vendor. At the time, I noticed that other than the translucent message that appeared on my screen, everything seemed to work fine, so I learned to ignore the message.

      However, I noticed that I still have Win10 Build 1803, and can’t figure out how to upgrade to a more recent build. It recently occurred to me that the reason may have something to do with the “Activate Windows” issue. This raises two related questions:

      1. Is there an alternate way to activate my Windows 10? I have not yet tried contacting Microsoft directly (not wonderful experience with customer support in the past, so that would be my last resort).
      2. What are the consequences of not having Windows activated on my PC?

      I did both a web and a Woody’s Lounge search for this issue, but came up blank, so any suggestions would be appreciated. If I really should get the most recent build AND to do so I need to activate Windows, I would bite the bullet and contact MS. In that case, any suggestions for the best way to do that to EFFICIENTLY solve the problem would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • #1877917 Reply

      Bluetrix
      AskWoody MVP

      In your desktop search box type in PRODUCT ID.

      That should open SETTINGS (or hit the Win key +X for settings, click settings and select ABOUT)

      Scroll down to Product ID and record the 25 digit ID, on anything besides the computer, paper pad, email it to yourself, etc.

      If you don’t see the 25 digit ID (in groups of 5) It’s possible your computer has a digital license that was obtained through an authorized retailer. Since the person you bought the computer from said they can fix your problem, either they have the ID or have access to it. Get the ID# from them.

      To check for Digital activated License: Open  Settings, go to Update & Security, and navigate to Activation. What does it say there.

      I would like to have the ID or license location before I upgraded, just in case.

      If you are determined to upgrade because you can, several paths are available.

      Post back if you have the ID  (from person you bought comp from) or license activation.  No need to call MS just yet.

      I add that you might check your System Restore dates and see if one was before the power outage date and try to Restore to that point. (just a thought)

      Windows10 Home 1809 | Mint19 on VM

    • #1878033 Reply

      DrBB01
      AskWoody Plus

      Thanks for the suggestions. I found the Product ID and Product Key for Win10 on my PC. The former is 20 characters in length, in groups of five; the latter is 25 characters in length, in groups of five.

      However, when I clicked on Activation, I received the following:

      [FULL PRODUCT ID]

      [PRODUCT KEY: first 20 characters were “X”, followed by the last 5 characters of the key]

      “We can’t activate Windows on this device as we can’t connect to your organization’s activation server. Make sure you’re connected to your organization’s activation network and try again. If you continue having problems with activation, contact your organization’s support person. Error code 0xC00F4074.”

      If you can, please respond to my second question: “What are the consequences of not having Windows activated on my PC?” Unless the potential consequences are severe, I feel no great need to spend lots of energy activating it. I am willing to contact the vendor who sold me the PC, but I it may not be worth the effort to bring it back to the store.

      Thanks again.

      • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by  DrBB01.
      • #1878193 Reply

        Kirsty
        Da Boss

        please respond to my second question: “What are the consequences of not having Windows activated on my PC?” Unless the potential consequences are severe, I feel no great need to spend lots of energy activating it.

        An aged quote from Ed Bott on zdnet.com:

        You can skip the product key during installation, but when you’re done with Setup your system will be marked as not activated. You won’t be able to use any personalization options, and you’ll have a persistent watermark on the desktop warning you that you need to activate.

        Essentially, it is a Demo-mode. Also, it is part of the checks that are performed before updates are issued to devices, as you suspected.

        These links may be of assistance to you:
        Activate Windows 10
        Get help with Windows activation errors

    • #1878123 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      Or restore Windows from a backup prior to the power outage.

      cheers, Paul

    • #1878187 Reply

      Bluetrix
      AskWoody MVP

      @DrBB01,

      You have a valid installation of windows, the 25 (5X5) digits/letters show this. Forget validation for now. Copy those letter/numbers and save them, Off the computer.

      You had a power outage and then the issue appeared.  Windows may do some odd things when it’s forced off due to power outage, or nothing at all will be harmed. We need to check that. To the right of the clock in the tray, see a note icon, it’s for notifications. Click on that and read and note anything there. Mouse over anything in the notes and click them out/off.

      Windows doesn’t typically grey out a validate notice, this might be a hick-up caused by the P-outage, lets check that all files are still intact and working.

      Press Windows Key+X to bring up menu. Select Command prompt with admin priv.

      cmdprompt

      Click on that and click ‘yes make changes’ in pop up.  Now the command screen will appear. At the prompt type this: “sfc /scannow” no quote marks. There is a space between sfc and /

      cmdwindow
      Hit ENTER. It may take a while to complete this process.

      When done it should show: Verification 100% complete, type “exit” and window will close. If there are no error messages your files are okay. Reboot and see if your verification notice is still there. If it is gone and you want to update, type update in the search window and follow the direction to check for updates. Post back and let us know the outcome.

      Update

       

       

       

      Windows10 Home 1809 | Mint19 on VM

      Attachments:
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1878588 Reply

      Bluetrix
      AskWoody MVP

      If you can, please respond to my second question: “What are the consequences of not having Windows activated on my PC?” Unless the potential consequences are severe, I feel no great need to spend lots of energy activating it. I am willing to contact the vendor who sold me the PC, but I it may not be worth the effort to bring it back to the store.

      I have used Windows for a while,  I haven’t ran across your problem before, so I did some research. In any online search engine if you type in “Windows Demo Mode”, you will get a lot of hits on the subject, like the ones Kirsty included in her post.

      Because you said this issue appeared after a power outage, I give it the benefit without doubt. As I mentioned in my earlier post, Windows can and will do some odd things when power crashed while Windows is running. If you were using a program, that is where I would expect a problem first, any related sub program or DLL might be affected also.

      After reading on this subject (yes, I learned from it) I don’t think a power outage would put your computer into a demo mode, a remote “MAYBE” displaying the “activate” watermark is possible, hence my suggestions.

      If you are in Demo mode as Kirsty suggests, you will not be able to open a command prompt, my suggestions are null/void then. At any rate if you decide to get out of (Retail) demo mode (if you are in it) you will lose any files, added programs and user accounts. Windows will revert to a fresh install that you can then activate using the 25 digits you now have copied. (you copied them, yes?)

      Your error code is likely typed incorrectly, I do that all the time with codes. The  0xC00F4074 probably is 0xC004F074. Cognitive dyslexia  🙂

      I understand you want to expend the least amount of time fooling around with this problem. (hey, we want that too with our issues) With problems like this, time is what it takes to resolve them. If you sent it back to seller, they would probably reset the computer, reverting back to “like new.” Nothing gained, no learning, just start over. Even youtube has videos on this problem, type in “Demo mode Windows.”

      Consequences? If Windows works fine for you now, none except updating, but you can try updating anyway. I have no clue if update will work in demo mode, easy enough to try.

      Some places to look if so inclined:

      When trying to activate you get 0xC004F074

      Microsoft Support error codes

      Tenforums (turn demo mode off)

      Good luck.

       

      Windows10 Home 1809 | Mint19 on VM

    • #1878776 Reply

      cmptrgy
      AskWoody Plus

      About a year and a half ago, I bought a refurbished PC with Windows 10 Home installed. Everything was fine for several months, until the power went out. When I restarted the PC, a greyed out message appeared in the bottom right portion of my display: “Activate Windows 10. Go to Settings to activate Windows.” Apparently, I need some kind of a key or license to do so. When I contacted the seller, he said to bring it back and he would do that. Unfortunately, I moved and cannot get back to the vendor. At the time, I noticed that other than the translucent message that appeared on my screen, everything seemed to work fine, so I learned to ignore the message.

      However, I noticed that I still have Win10 Build 1803, and can’t figure out how to upgrade to a more recent build. It recently occurred to me that the reason may have something to do with the “Activate Windows” issue. This raises two related questions:

      1. Is there an alternate way to activate my Windows 10? I have not yet tried contacting Microsoft directly (not wonderful experience with customer support in the past, so that would be my last resort).
      2. What are the consequences of not having Windows activated on my PC?

      I did both a web and a Woody’s Lounge search for this issue, but came up blank, so any suggestions would be appreciated. If I really should get the most recent build AND to do so I need to activate Windows, I would bite the bullet and contact MS. In that case, any suggestions for the best way to do that to EFFICIENTLY solve the problem would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

      You can also Download and run
      ShowKeyPlus 1.0.6919 last updated December 14, 2018
      https://www.techspot.com/downloads/7129-showkeyplus.html
      I just ran it on a refurbished laptop I’m tuning up and the full product key shows.
      — From what I understand there are cases when the full product key doesn’t show for whatever reasons are over my head.

      Since you “can’t connect to your organization’s activation server” call the seller and find out why that is the case.
      — It wouldn’t surprise me if the “organization’s activation server” is the procedure the seller uses: let them do their job.

      #1878033
      “I am willing to contact the vendor who sold me the PC, but I it may not be worth the effort to bring it back to the store.”
      — That sounds like a difficult decision to make.
      — I haven’t heard of this happening but ask the seller if you can fix your situation over the phone with their advice: I wouldn’t see why it should take more than 10, maybe 15 minutes.
      — Otherwise you are stuck with what you have: however, it’s astounding the product key that was in use for several months doesn’t work now.

      “What are the consequences of not having Windows activated on my PC?”
      Refer to What will happen if I never activate Windows 10?
      https://www.quora.com/What-will-happen-if-I-never-activate-Windows-10
      One of the items in there is “If you don’t activate a Windows OS, you will not receive updates for it”
      Although your Windows 10 had been activated, it isn’t activated now.

      HP EliteBook 8540w laptop Windows 10 Pro (x64)

    • #1879341 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      We can’t activate Windows on this device as we can’t connect to your organization’s activation server

      This message implies your license is from a Volume Licensing agreement – read corporate / educational environment – when it should be retail or OEM. If this is the case you have effectively been sold a pup and should take it up with the seller.

      To check what sort of license you have, read this post.

      cheers, Paul

      1 user thanked author for this post.

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

    Reply To: "Activate Windows 10" message on screen

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use Advanced BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.