If Windows 10 is installed skipping the window asking you to insert a product key, then surely a message will appear on the desktop asking you to activate Windows 10 in order to make the copy authentic and regular. In some cases, this message says “Activate Windows” may appear after a certain period of use, but without preventing the user from using the computer in all its functions. Even if you can live with this message printed on the desktop background of the PC, let’s see now how to completely remove the “Activate Windows” writing or watermark in Windows 10 or, at least, how to hide it.
What it means Activate Windows 10
First you need to understand what this warning means, that if in some cases (like installing Windows 10 from scratch without entering a product key) it has a clear cause, in other cases, instead, it seems really random.
Under the Microsoft license terms, you can use Windows 10 only if it is activated via a regular and original product key.
What is important to know about the use of Windows 10 under the Microsoft license terms is that it is not possible to use the same Product Key on two different computers, including virtual machine installations. It, therefore, takes a different license for each computer used and it is not possible to use the same code, for example, for all home or office computers (unless it is a type of license that allows it).
Also, in the Microsoft license agreement, it is possible to read that “The activated activation does not guarantee that the software is original or has a regular license“, which is the case in which Windows 10 is activated in a non-regular and legal way, with a counterfeit product key.
Activate Windows 10 after updating from Windows 7 or Windows 8
In the event that one was made update Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 (which can still be done for free), the activation of the previous version of Windows is transferred to the new one automatically. This applies both in the case of a Retail copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 (ie that it was purchased separately from the PC), and in the case of an OEM license, ie if Windows 7 or 8 were pre-installed by the manufacturer of the PC. A reason for the possible problem with the activation of Windows 10 following an update may therefore be to have used a pirated and non-regular copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 (although more often the pirated copy is practically absorbed into the system becoming then adjust).
Activate Windows 10 after clean installation
In the case where a clean installation was made by inserting a product key that we purchased online or recovered somewhere, or if Windows 10 was preinstalled by the PC manufacturer, if after a while the message appears “Activate Windows 10“, then the most probable reason is that iThe code used for initial activation has expired or been used too many times. This can happen both with the OEM licenses and with the ESD ones of Windows 10 of which I had spoken in the past (on how to buy Windows 10 for a few Euros). In practice these are second-hand licenses, purchased in large quantities by the companies, which were then resold as they were never used. (this is absolutely legal). In plain English, it may be that the license we used to activate Windows 10 has expired or has been invalidated by the company that originally bought them.
The notification to activate Windows 10 appears, of course, in the event that an unlicensed copy of Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10 has been updated without entering a Product Key during the installation.
Activate Windows 10 without product key
If no product key is entered when installing Windows 10, then it is quite normal for the message to activate Windows to appear. The fact that may surprise you is that you can anyway continue to use Windows 10 without particular limitations and, above all, without a trial period. The PC can therefore be used safely even if there is no activation.
In addition to the message asking you to activate Windows 10, visible both on the desktop and in the section of Settings> Update and security> Activation, the only thing that doesn’t work is the option to change desktop wallpaper and theme, which cannot be customized. This prevents you from changing the background, color, taskbar, and similar settings. Moreover, in some cases, it seems that the PC may not identify other disk drives besides the one where Windows 10 is installed (but I have no direct confirmation of this problem). However, Windows 10 will continue to receive system updates, both security and functionality patches.
This possibility meets the need to be able to create virtual machines with Windows 10 without having to activate them. As mentioned above, in fact, it is not possible to use the same product key of the physical computer to activate the installation on a virtual PC.
How to Remove the message Activate Windows
To make the word “Activate Windows 10” on the desktop disappear, there are several ways that work depending on the reason for the error.
1) Enter a valid product code
The easiest way to solve this problem is remove the Windows 10 watermark is enter an original product code. Windows 10 accepts for its activation, and this is important to know, too any product key valid for Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 (but be careful that the version is the same, because Windows Home is different from Windows Pro). For example, therefore, if we still have the sticker with the code on an old computer that we no longer use with Windows 7, that should work to activate Windows 10. The important thing is that that computer is no longer used or that the license comes transferred regularly. as explained in the guide to transfer the Windows license and deactivate the product key from the old PC.
To enter the product key, go to Settings> Update and security> Activation and press the link to change the product key by entering the 25 digits of the Windows product codes. If you use a valid key that has not already been used too many times, Windows 10 should activate and remove the writing on the desktop.
If you have a Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 computer activated but do not know the product key, you can always retrieve the Windows product key as explained in the past.
2) Connect the Microsoft account to the PC and use the activation troubleshooting tool
The error on Windows 10 activation may occur after changing one or more computer hardware parts, such as replacing the motherboard. Windows 10 can tie the digital license to the PC components, so if you make major changes, it may not recognize that it is the same computer.
To resolve this problem, you can reconnect the Microsoft account to the computer and run it Windows activation troubleshooting tool which is located in Settings> Update and security> Activation. Then click on Troubleshoot and then, once the tool has started, select the recent hardware change option and log in to the Microsoft account registered in Windows 10.
If you were not using a non-Microsoft local account before you changed PC hardware, this method will not work and you will have to contact Microsoft support to resolve the problem, without any guarantee of success.
This means that if we have never done it, it is always convenient to use a Microsoft account on a Windows 10 PC.
3) Check Business Activation
A less common problem, but still worth mentioning, occurs in a business situation. If Windows 10 was activated by a company server, but the PC is no longer able to communicate with this, then, after a while, the writing of Activate Windows 10 will appear.
Going to the Activation menu in the Windows 10 Settings, you will see an error message with written Windows cannot be activated on this device because we cannot connect to the activation server of your organization. The solution, therefore, will be to contact the person in charge of the computers in the company to ask to reactivate the license.
If this message appears on a PC that is not part of a company, then we will be forced to change product keys.
4) Buy a new Windows 10 key
If we don’t have a valid Windows key and a digital license has never been connected to your Microsoft account, the only (legitimate) option left is to purchase a new product key for Windows 10. This can be done directly from the menu Activation in Settings, by going to the Microsoft Store.
If you want to save and a valid product key appears you can search for it on Amazon or on eBay, where there are also license prices at a few tens of Euros (but as mentioned above are OEM licenses with the risk that they can be deactivated in the future).
Once Windows 10 is activated with a new key, return to the menu Activation to confirm the license is linked to the Microsoft account. If not, click on the button to add an account.
Other Windows 10 activation problems
Other causes of errors with Windows 10 activation we have seen them in another article. For example, one must check that the product code corresponds to the installed Windows edition. A key for Windows 10 Home, in fact, does not activate Windows 10 Pro.
In addition, Microsoft limits the number of times a product key can be used to activate Windows. so if that key was used a lot in the past, it may stop working.
Alternative solutions to remove the “Activate Windows 10” watermark
If none of the methods described above to activate Windows 10 worked and you do not want to buy a license, you can still remove the warning on the desktop using a program like Universal Watermark Disabler of Winaero. This is not a crack or an illegal trick, but only a program that disables the alert and allows the user to change the desktop background (by right-clicking on an image).
To avoid, instead, the KMS Activators to pirate Windows 10, illegal and dangerous to download.