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  • HELP! Recent update DEACTIVATED Win 10 Pro 20H2

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Windows 10 version 20H2 – October 2020 Update HELP! Recent update DEACTIVATED Win 10 Pro 20H2

    Topic Resolution: Not Resolved

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      • #2371427
        AskWoody Plus

        Windows 10 Pro 20H2 build 19042.985

        One of three recent updates to 20H2 deactivated my legitimate copy of Windows 10 Pro. On 06/07: KB4023057 was installed, on 06/08: KB5003173, and on 06/13: KB4023057. Today I just noticed watermarking, “Activate Windows” in File Explorer and Notepad. My Win 10 has been active and running nicely for years. I am not seeing how to fix this.

        This was not seen yesterday nor before. Any help would be appreciated.

      • #2371440
        AskWoody MVP

        The first step would be to do what the watermark asks, by going to Settings, Update & Security, Activation and see what that tells you:

        Checking your activation status

        The Activation Troubleshooter may be available there:

        Using the Activation troubleshooter

        Windows 10 Pro version 21H2 build 19044.1151 + Microsoft 365 (group ASAP)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2371575
        AskWoody Plus

        b, Thank you for your reply!

        Before coming to the forum I checked the activation status which showed this copy of Win 10 had not been activated. I was unable to get the troubleshooter to run, then posted asking for help.

        After that I installed update KB5003637 and shut down for the evening. (Yes, I know—brain cramp.)

        This morning when I started up the involved computer I saw your reply and checked the activation status again. It’s now showing “activated with a digital license”. So on this old Dell Optiplex at least, whatever caused the “deactivation” was apparently repaired by completing the installation of KB5003637.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2371907
        AskWoody Plus


        Today the ‘Activate Windows’ flag displayed again. Settings > Update & Security > Activation > run Activation Troubleshooter appears to have solved the issue—again—for now.

      • #2374618
        AskWoody Plus


        I’ve tracked down and reliably reproduced steps for this issue:

        • When Windows tries to affirm its “activated” status and the user is connected to the internet via a VPN, activation fails.
        • The <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>workaround</span> is to disconnect and use the Troubleshoot activation button while on your LAN or directly connected to the internet.
        • Once re-activated the user can go on|off the VPN with impunity—until the current activation period times out and requires confirmation.
          • If the user is locally connected to the internet activation confirmation will proceed invisibly in the background as expected;
          • If the user is on a VPN and remotely connected to the internet at this time, activation will again fail.

        This is unnecessarily burdensome for the user, but at least the work-around works and takes little time.

        This has been reported via the User Feedback feature in Win 10 Pro.

        • #2374620
          Susan Bradley

          How often is it kicking this reactivation?  It should only kick it if a major part changes.

          Susan Bradley Patch Lady

          • #2374641
            AskWoody Plus

            It appears to be phoning home roughly but not exactly 1x/day, i.e., not exactly every 24-hrs. An auto shut-off occurs nightly at 1852 hrs.

            This desktop was originally located at the Home office running Win7 Pro 64b and relocated to its current remote site about 4-years ago. My recollection is this necessitated a re-activation, after which there were no problems.

            About 8- to 12-months later came in-place upgrades to maximize onboard RAM and an upgrade from a 250MB to 1GB-SSD during which the data was migrated to the larger drive using Samsung’s migration tool. My recollection is this may have necessitated a re-activation, but I’m not certain. However, after this work there were no problems.

            Roughly 2-years ago I updated this system in-place to Win 10 Pro 64b. Any re-activation was probably baked-into the dirty upgrade, and after that there have been no problems—until now.

            I work here for parts of about 8-months/year and am on|off the VPN with the Home office numerous times each day roughly 6-days a week on average, at varying times usually during daylight (0630-1900) but sometimes at night and on weekends.

            Further checking into the update history, I see these updates were installed concurrently or interleaved with those previously listed:

            • 3/24/2021 and earlier disregarded, system dormant until…
            •  6/7/2021:
              • KB4023057 2021-03 Quality update for 20H2
                (leading post on 6/14 above)
              • KB4601554 2021-05 Cumulative .NET update
              • KB890830 malicious Software Removal Tool v5.89
            • 6/8/2021:
              • KB5003173 2021-05 Cumulative update for 20H2
                (leading post above)
            • 6/11/2021:
              • KB4577586 Update for Removal of Adobe Flash Player
            • 6/13/2021:
              • KB4023057 2021-05 Quality update for 20H2
                (leading post above)
            • 6/14/2021:
              • KB5003637 2021-06 Cumulative update for 20H2
              • KB890830 malicious Software Removal Tool v5.90
              • KB5003254 2021-06 Cumulative .NET update

            The current OS build is 19042.1052 and the current Windows Feature Experience Pack is 120.2212.2020.0.

            I was unable to locate any pertinent Known Issues regarding these updates at

            • #2374774
              Susan Bradley

              None of these updates are triggering reactivation widespread. Is there any other software that you recently installed besides these updates?

              Susan Bradley Patch Lady

              • #2374829
                AskWoody Plus


                • 06/13/2021
                  • Microsoft Update Health Tools (MS)
                  • inSSIDer (update-MetaGeek)
                  • Signifi Agent (update-MetaGeek)
                • 06/08/2021
                  • Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (update)
                  • Mozilla Thunderbird 78.11.0 (x86 en-US) (update)
                • 06/07/2021
                  • Dell SupportAssist (update)
                  • Bing Wallpaper (MS)
                  • Dell SupportAssist OS Recovery Plugin for Dell Update (update)


              • #2375285
                AskWoody Plus

                I noticed yesterday the “renewal activation” appears to run about 26- to 27-hrs, and it will, after all, re-activate over a vpn. But the re-activation is not sticky regardless of being done locally or by vpn, it continues to display the “Activate Windows” error daily.

      • #2376547
        AskWoody Plus


        The machine in question is enabled for two users, though I log 99% of the time on it. Five  days ago User-2 logged on, got the same activation warning, ran the troubleshooter and activated Windows. After using the machine User-2 logged out and left, and the machine powered-off about 1830 hrs as schedule. I logged on the next day and approx. 26-hrs after User-2 had activated Windows, the activation warning appeared again. I duly activated using the troubleshooter, did my work and left. The machine powered off per schedule and the next day I started it up, logged on and voilà, the activation warning appeared again.

        It seems this would be an easy fix if it were not for the Y|N stamp being incorporated into the machine code (sigh).

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