Question Windows wont reactivate.

Nov 5, 2015
430
1
4,865
32
I recently swapped out my motherboard and CPU in my computer. I don't have an activation key as it was a digital license linked to my microsoft account. But now when I try to reactivate on this computer using my old license, it just tells me "We cannot reactive windows on this device. Please try again later." I have been trying to reactivate for two days because I know it can take some time. Do I wait longer, or is something wrong?
 

britechguy

Prominent
Jul 2, 2019
780
102
640
20
The digital license for any Windows 10 machine is directly tied to the motherboard that was present when Windows 10 was initially installed and activated.

If you replaced the motherboard secondary to failure I know that you can contact Microsoft phone support and they have a process for deactivating the license and allowing it to be reactivated.

I do not think this is permitted if you replaced the motherboard "just because," but it would never hurt to ask.

I recently gave advice about this in the topic:
How to really deactivate W10?
 
Nov 5, 2015
430
1
4,865
32
The digital license for any Windows 10 machine is directly tied to the motherboard that was present when Windows 10 was initially installed and activated.

If you replaced the motherboard secondary to failure I know that you can contact Microsoft phone support and they have a process for deactivating the license and allowing it to be reactivated.

I do not think this is permitted if you replaced the motherboard "just because," but it would never hurt to ask.

I recently gave advice about this in the topic:
How to really deactivate W10?
Is that how it works? I was told that if it's linked to my microsoft account, the digital license could be transferred over to my new motherboard and that it simply would take some time. I used the same drives from the old motherboard, and did a clean install. Windows activation shows me my old computer when I go to reactivate it. I have a screenshot here to show you what I see when I go to reactivate.
 
Nov 5, 2015
430
1
4,865
32
Since your license is tied to your Microsoft account, it SHOULD transfer to the new system. Was your old PC a custom build as well or a store-bought, off-the-shelf system?

-Wolf sends
It was a custom build, upgraded from Windows 7 to 10 on the motherboard. Does Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Professional hold any difference that could interfere?
 

britechguy

Prominent
Jul 2, 2019
780
102
640
20
No, it will not transfer to any system with a different motherboard, at least not automatically.

It has been this way since the very first days of Windows 10, and Microsoft explicitly states that this is so.

You will have to contact Microsoft to see if you meet the terms for a license transfer (or reissue, as I've known a couple of people where that's what Microsoft ended up doing).
 
Nov 5, 2015
430
1
4,865
32
No, it will not transfer to any system with a different motherboard, at least not automatically.

It has been this way since the very first days of Windows 10, and Microsoft explicitly states that this is so.

You will have to contact Microsoft to see if you meet the terms for a license transfer (or reissue, as I've known a couple of people where that's what Microsoft ended up doing).
How bad of an idea would it be to claim I upgraded because my last motherboard bricked?
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
110,818
1,368
152,940
18,390
The activation server farm will (probably) eventually catch up. I've had systems where it does take several days. Then...poof, activated.

Also, coming off Amazon Prime Days...how many new devices are out there banging on that same server farm?
 
Nov 5, 2015
430
1
4,865
32

britechguy

Prominent
Jul 2, 2019
780
102
640
20
Well, folks can take the info I am giving based upon my experience or ignore it.

I have never, ever, ever seen a device where the motherboard was changed out reactivate on its own, nor via the troubleshooter. It is, in the eyes of the Microsoft digital license servers, a completely different machine. It's not going to activate if it believes it's already activated on another piece of hardware.

I believe there is an "uninstall" process that can be used on the old hardware that will allow this to happen for retail licenses, but that's still not "automatic" as I deem it as you must deactivate/uninstall on the original hardware first.

I gave a link to a topic where this was very recently discussed, and the suggestion to give Microsoft a call to get reactivation, if you qualify, worked like a charm.

If you don't qualify, one can purchase recycled Windows 10 Pro licenses for a song, and I've purchased six of those (so far) and all have activated without a hitch.

None of what I offer above is from a single data point, but many experiences.
 

britechguy

Prominent
Jul 2, 2019
780
102
640
20
And not to argue the validity of your experience in any way, a phone call tends to resolve this in mere minutes.

Microsoft has proven very eager to have any user who can legitimately be using Windows 10 actually using it, with the occasional license reactivation generally happening very quickly if you talk to someone.

I just don't trust myself to recheck "in a couple of days" to see if things are still stuck. I just want the darned job done while it's still first and foremost in my mind.

Life as I know it has a tendency to throw my focus frequently and my ability to come back to things reliably is not what it once was.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS