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Upgrading a major desktop component could deactivate Windows 10, but you can reactivate it by calling Microsoft

Upgrading a major desktop component could deactivate Windows 10, but you can reactivate it by calling Microsoft

by AshwinAugust 26, 2015

Windows 10 is now running on over 50 million computers across the globe.


This was possible thanks to Microsoft’s offering the operating system as a free upgrade for all eligible, genuine license users of Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 PCs.

I have already written about how Windows 10 can be clean installed any number of times, providing that the user has activated Windows 10 on the PC, prior to the clean install. This also applies to the Insider Preview Builds. A user need not enter a product key during or after a clean install. Windows 10 is automatically validated on machines which previously had the OS activated.

What is happening behind the scene here, is that Microsoft is storing a hardware hash, of your computer’s hardware This acts like an authentication key to determine, whether Windows 10 is genuine or not. This is actually the fine print under which Microsoft offered Windows 10 as free upgrade. It clearly stated that all future updates for Windows 10 would be given for free, for the lifetime of the device.

Make note of those words highlighted in bold italics, its very important here. Now, what exactly does a “lifetime of a device” mean anyway?

As I told you above, Microsoft’s servers store the hardware hash of your PC to validate your copy of Windows 10, the information stored in the servers, are actually based on your computer’s components. These are likely to be your motherboard, and processor. The Redmond Company will save the information of your PC’s configuration and analyses this information during the validation process.

Let’s say you upgrade your PC’s major components mentioned above, what will happen now? Microsoft’s validation process will determine your PC as a new one, and one that is not authorized to use Windows 10. In other words, your copy of Windows 10 becomes deactivated.

You may try and successfully complete a clean install of the operating system, but at the cost of skipping the step where you enter the product key, which essentially causes the issue. The only to fix this, as noted by Howtogeek, is by contacting Microsoft itself.

How to contact Microsoft to activate Windows 10:

  1. Click on the Start Menu, and then on “All Apps”
  2. Open the “Contact Support App”. You can also launch it directly by searching for the app’s name in Cortana.
  3. Now, head to the Services & Apps > Setting up.
  4. You choose to chat with a Microsoft support person from this window, or have them call you on the phone to resolve your issue.

This also nullifies the theory that a Windows 10 license is tied to a Microsoft account. All it is connected with, is the PC itself.