Guide & Help: Reactivating Windows 10 after a hardware change

If you made hardware changes to your PC then Windows 10 might no longer be activated and you might see the activation error codes 0x803f7001 or 0xC004C008. We'll show you how to use the Activation Troubleshooter to re-activate Windows 10.

Because Windows 10 uses digital licenses instead of traditional product keys, you are probably wondering if your free upgrade will remain in effect if you change your computer's motherboard or hard drive. The result is Windows 10 won't be able to identify your computer correctly, your Win 10 won't activate.

Note: Free upgrades to Windows 10 from Windows 7/8 is over. Now, upgrading from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 to Windows 10 will cost $119 (for the Home edition) or $199 (for the Pro edition), instead of upgrading, We suggest you to buy a brand new Windows 10 Product Key instead, much cheaper!

Beginning with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (Version 1607 or later), you can link your Microsoft account (MSA) to the Windows 10 digital license on your device. This build 14371 introduces the Windows 10 Activation Troubleshooter, which is designed to help users address "most commonly encountered activation issues on Genuine Windows 10 devices including those caused by hardware changes". This new feature can help you reactivate Windows 10 using the Activation troubleshooter if you make a significant hardware change, such as replacing the motherboard.

How to link your Microsoft account with the digital license

  1. Select the Start button, select Settings > Update & security > Activation > and then select Add an account. (Your account must have administrator privileges to go through this process.)
    Note: You can also use the Windows + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.
  2. Enter your Microsoft account and password, and then select Sign in. You’ll also need to enter the password for your local account if the Microsoft account you entered isn’t a connected account.
  3. Once you completed the process, you’ll see "Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account" on the Activation page.

Note: If you've already added your Microsoft account to your device, you can skip the previous steps.

How to use the troubleshooter to re-activate Windows 10

Note: If you didn't add your Microsoft account and link it to the digital license on your device, you won't be able to use the Activation troubleshooter to reactivate Windows after a hardware change.

  1. Select the Start button, select Settings > Update & security > Activation, and then select Troubleshoot. You must be signed in as an administrator.
    (Note: You can also use the Windows + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.)
  2. The troubleshooter will show a message that Windows can’t be activated on your device. You can click Troubleshoot to continue.
  3. Select I changed hardware on this device recently, and then select Next.
  4. Enter your Microsoft account credentials, and then select Sign in. You’ll also need to enter the password for your local account if the Microsoft account you entered isn’t a connected account. Click Next to continue.
  5. A list of devices linked to your Microsoft account will populate. From the list, select the device that you’re currently using, check the This is the device I’m using right now option, and then select Activate.

If you want to see other devices linked to your account, you can click the "See other devices linked to your Microsoft account" link. If you don’t see the device you’re using in the list of results, make sure that you’re signed in using the same Microsoft account you linked to the Windows 10 digital license on your device.

If you’re signed in using the correct Microsoft account, here's a list of possible problems why you can't activate:

  • The edition of Windows 10 on your PC doesn’t match the edition of Windows you linked to your digital license.
  • The device you’re activating doesn’t match the type of device you linked to your digital license.
  • Windows 10 was never activated on your computer.
  • You reached the limit on the number of times you can reactivate Windows 10 on your PC.
  • Your PC isn't running a genuine version of Windows 10.
  • Your PC has more than one administrator, and a different administrator already reactivated Windows on your device.
  • Your PC is a managed device by your organization, in which case the re-activation tool is not available. For help with reactivation, contact your organization’s support person.

To see what version of Windows 10 your PC is running, select the Start button, then select Settings > System > About.

To check activation status in Windows 10, select the Start button, then select Settings > Update & security > Activation.

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