Microsoft’s new Windows 10 build can tie licenses to your online account! with Windows 10 build 14371, Microsoft has introduced a new option that improves the activation feature of Windows 10. With this new option, you will be able to activate Windows 10 even if you have changed your hardware! Instead of a hardware lock, the license will be locked to your Microsoft Account. Microsoft introduced a new feature in Windows 10 Build 14371 that allows you to link windows 10 license to Microsoft account.
Even though Microsoft stated in the announcement that the feature is available starting with Build 14371. Things look different currently than how Microsoft describes them. Considering that this is a preview build, after all, you can expect the feature to become available with the Anniversary Update at the latest.
Microsoft describes the feature in the following way:
Based on Insider feedback, we are also introducing the ability to link your Microsoft account (MSA) to the activation digital license with this Insider Preview build. If you already used an MSA to log in to your activated Windows 10 Home or Pro device, your MSA will be automatically linked. You can use this MSA-linked digital license to re-activate your Genuine Windows 10 device by running the Activation troubleshooter if you run into Activation issues caused by hardware changes.
According to the announcement, Microsoft Accounts will be automatically linked to the license when used to sign in.
The Activation Troubleshooter is another new feature introduced in the same build. Basically, it allows you to run it to re-activate a system under certain circumstances. Microsoft mentions hardware changes but also when the wrong version of Windows is installed on the device.
What is a Windows 10 digital license?
For those who are not aware of the activation issue, Microsoft gives a digital license (previously known as digital entitlement) to a PC. When it’s upgraded to Windows 10 from previous versions of the Windows operating system using the free upgrade offer. The digital license will be used to automatically activate your copy of Windows 10 when you perform a clean install, reinstall or change the PC’s hardware.
Many PC users were unable to activate their copy of Windows 10 after changing the PC’s hardware. And especially after changing the motherboard. Up until now, PC users had to contact the Microsoft support team to get their copy of Windows 10 activated after hardware changes. With Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft has decided to link your Windows 10 digital license (digital entitlement) to your Microsoft account. So that users can easily re-activate their Windows 10 copy after changing hardware.
How to link windows 10 license to Microsoft account
You don’t need to do anything from your end if you are using a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows 10. According to Microsoft, when you use a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows 10, the digital license will be automatically linked to your Microsoft account.
For local user account
If you’re using a local user account instead of a Microsoft account, use the given below directions to link your Windows 10 license to Microsoft account:
Open the Start menu, click the Settings icon to open the Settings app, and then click Update & security.
Now Click Activation. Click Add an account link. Enter your Microsoft account ID and password and then click the Sign in button.
If you’re using a local user account, you might be asked to enter the password of your local user account. Once you add the Microsoft account and the license is linked to your Microsoft account. You will see “Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account” on the activation page of Settings.
Check Windows 10 digital license is linked to Microsoft account
Windows 10 digital license is automatically linked to Microsoft account when you use a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows 10. Or when you use the above method while using a local user account. That said, it’s a good idea to confirm that your Windows 10 license is linked to your Microsoft account.
Open Settings. Click Update & security. Click Activation. Here, you will see the “Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account” message next to Activation if your Windows 10 license is linked to your Microsoft account.
Activating Windows 10 after hardware changes using Digital License
If you have linked your Windows 10 digital license to your Microsoft account. Then you can use the following direction to activate Windows 10 after hardware changes.
Open Settings app. Click Update & security. Click Activation. If your Windows 10 copy is not activated and you see a link labeled Troubleshoot as shown in the picture below.
Click the Troubleshoot link to open Windows 10 activation troubleshooter. And get your copy of Windows 10 activated after hardware changes. If the troubleshooter fails to activate your copy of Windows 10. You will see a link labeled I changed hardware on this device recently.
Click the I changed hardware on this device recently link. This will display a page where you need to enter your Microsoft account email address as well as your password.
You need to select your Windows 10 PC from the devices list. Check the box labeled This is the device I am using right now and then click the Activate button to activate your copy of Windows 10.
If you want to see other devices linked to your account. You can click the “See other devices linked to your Microsoft account” link. On this page, you’ll see a list of devices divided into three categories. (Edition doesn’t match, Device type doesn’t match, and Windows isn’t activated.) Explaining the reason why Windows 10 cannot activate from the other devices.
Additional troubleshooting steps
In case your device doesn’t appear on the list there may be some things that are happening, and we’ll go through those now.
First, make sure you’re signed in with the Microsoft account that you’ve previously linked to the Windows 10 digital license.
If you’re using the correct Microsoft account, then you’ll have to investigate the reason why you can’t activate.
Windows 10 was never activated on your computer.
Your computer isn’t running a genuine version of the operating system.
The edition of Windows 10 doesn’t match the edition of the operating system you linked to your digital license.
The device you’re trying to activate doesn’t match the type of device you’ve linked to your digital license.
There is a limited number of times you can re-activate. If you reach that limit, you won’t be able to activate Windows 10.
The edition of the operating system installed on your computer is not Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Home.
Your computer is a managed device by your organization, in which case the re-activation tool is not available. If this is your case, you’ll need to contact your system administrator.
If after using the Activation Troubleshooter, you can’t activate Windows 10. Then you will probably have to contact Microsoft customers support for assistance.