Lean how to activate Windows 10 or Windows 11 in three ways:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Activate Windows 10 with the Product Key Find Product Key when you are installing Windows 10 to activate the system. Press Windows icon on the keyboard > Settings > Update & Security > Activation...Full steps
Activate Windows 10/11 with a Digital license The digital license is linked to your Microsoft account. First, check if your Windows 10 is linked to your Microsoft account. Click Windows icon > Choose Settings...Full steps
Activate Windows 10 Pro for Free using CMD Another way to activate Windows 10 is using CMD. Type CMD in the search box, right-click it, and choose Run as administrator. Enter command line...Full steps

Real case from the forum: "How to activate Windows 10? I installed a free version of Windows 10 pro from a tutorial I found on YouTube. Everything worked and I now want to activate windows seeing all of the benefits..."

Sick of the watermark sticking on the bottom right corner of the screen? If you want to activate Windows 10 as in the previous example, we will show you how to activate Windows 10 in 2022 with product key/digital license/CMD.

activate windows 10 watermark

1 - How to Activate Windows 10/11 with Product Key

Step 1. Find Product Key when you are installing Windows 10. (If you have not found your product key, you can go to the fifth part of this page. Start installation first and then locate your key.)

If you can find your 25-character product key, you can activate Windows 10 right now.

Step 2. Press Windows icon on the keyboard > Settings > Update & Security > Activation (or you can input Activation on the search box after setting page pop up.)

Step 3. Click the Change product key.

change product key

Step 4. Enter your product key > Click Next > Select Activate

enter a product key

2 - How to Activate Windows 10/11 with a Digital License

The digital license is linked to your Microsoft account.

Note: You will first need to check if your Windows 10 is linked to your Microsoft account. Steps: Click Windows icon > Choose Settings > Select Update & Security > Select Activation > Check activation status

check activation status

Check two common situations you may encounter:

Activate Windows 10 on a new PC
Reactivate Windows 10 after changing hardware

Activate Windows 10 on a new PC - 2 Steps

Step 1. During Windows 10 installation, choose I don't have a product key when a move to activate.

Step 2. Sign in with your Microsoft account and connect to the Internet. Your Windows 10 will be activated.

Reactivate Windows 10 after changing hardware

When it comes to change your hardware, such as the mainboard, the activation process shows a bit of difference. Check the steps below to complete re-activation.

Step 1. Prepare before activation.

Make sure the digital license is linked to Microsoft Account. If the Activation displays as Windows is activated with a digital license, you can apply the below steps to link your account:

Click Settings > Update & Security > Activation > Click Add an account under Add a Microsoft account > Sign in to your Microsoft account

activation add account

Step 2. Apply Troubleshoot 

  • Settings > Update & Security > Activation
  • Choose Troubleshoot under the Windows part.
  • Click I changed hardware on this device recently.
  • Select device to activate > Check This is the device I'm using right now > Click Activate button.

choose device to activate

3 - How to Activate Windows 10 Pro for Free using CMD

If the above methods are not your first option, you can apply a freeway - activate Windows 10 with CMD.

Step 1. Type CMD in the search box, right-click it, and choose Run as administrator.

Step 2. Enter command line and press Enter. Find your product key.

  • slmgr /ipk
  • slmgr / skms kms.xspace.in
  • Slmgr / ato

activate product ley via cmd

If you encounter any Windows errors like system startup failure, BSOD, or unbootable devices after you have activated Windows 10, you can ask Windows repair services for help.

Consult with EaseUS data recovery experts for one-on-one manual recovery service. We could offer the following services after FREE diagnosis:

  • Fix Windows boot issues, including BSOD
  • Fix Windows error and configure Windows environment
  • Restore the system when it fails to boot
  • Optimize Windows computer to make it run quickly

Is Necessary to Activate Windows 10/11

What if I don't activate Windows 10? Does any bad thing happen? To be honest, nothing annoying thing happens. But Microsoft has put restriction on two parts:

  • Personalization settings (disabled): desktop background, windows colors, lock screen background, and themes.
  • Updates (disabled): Install updates recommended by Microsoft and more.

How to Find Your Product Key

Find product key by EaseUS Todo PCTrans (fastest):

Step 1. Open the software and choose the "Product key" option.

Step 2. Click "Scan" and you can check the product key. Click "copy" for direct use.

find product key by EaseUS Todo PCTrans

Check more options for free:

related articles

How to Find Windows 10 Product Key

Here we provide you with five methods to find Windows 10 product key. Follow the methods if you want to get your Windows product key or license.

find product key

FAQ About Windows 10/11 Activation

1. What are the differences between using activated and inactivated Windows 10?

Compared with the activated Windows 10, your monitor will get a watermark in the bottom right corner of the screen. And the personalization settings, critical updates, optional updates, and optional software - include Microsoft apps, downloads, services - will be disabled.

2. Can't activate Windows 10 after hardware change?

If you've changed your hardware (mainboard...), your Windows 10 can not be activated. Fortunately, Microsoft has told us what to do next. Follow the steps below:

Digital license:

Step 1. On your PC, login as administrator.

Step 2. Press Windows icon > choose Settings > Update & Security > Activation > Troubleshoot

Check more details in the article or read the Microsoft guide

3. How to activate Windows 10 Enterprise for free using Command Prompt?

Step 1. Run command prompt as administrator.

Step 2. Find your Windows Enterprise product key and press Enter.

  • Input command line slmgr.vbs / upk and press Enter.
  • Find your Windows Enterprise product key and input slmgr / ipk
  • slmgr / skms zh.us.to
  • slmgr / ato

activate windows 10 enterprise edition for free

4. Is it safe to activate Windows 10 using CMD?

YES. It is safe to use.

The command line calls the built-in Windows 10 component which manages system license.

5. Can I recover data in Windows 11? 

Upgrading to a new operating system may be risky. You can use EaseUS data recovery software to recover lost files during Windows 11 download or installation in three steps.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.6

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech life easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. On her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

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Written by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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