What Happens if I Don’t Activate Windows 10?

One of our readers asked us a question “What happens if I don’t activate Windows 10?“. So in this article we will analyze this question in detail.

Microsoft first released Windows 10 back in 2015 and allowed everyone using Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 to upgrade their operating system to Windows 10.

As long as they were running a genuine Windows installation, they got to upgrade to this all-new operating system for free.

Those who were running older copies of Windows though, or who had not yet used Windows, were faced with having to pay for Windows 10 instead.

This worked out expensive for a lot of people as well as companies who would require a business license.

The financial cost is the main reason why some people choose not to pay for an authentic Microsoft license. They opt to continue using their copies of Windows 10 without every activating them. This leads us back to the question of ‘what happens if I don’t activate Windows 10?’

Luckily not much happens in this situation. You might experience some small inconveniences if you choose not to activate Windows 10, but there should not be any major ones, even if you continue with an un-activated version for months or years.

The Inconveniences You Will Face if You Don’t Activate Windows 10

Let’s take a look at problems you might face if you don’t activate windows 10 properly.

1) Watermark on screen

The most noticeable thing about running an un-activated copy of Windows 10 is that you will see a watermark at the bottom right of your screen telling you to activate your copy.

Windows 10 Watermark

In addition there is a link in your settings app telling you to activate it. Until you use a genuine key to activate your Windows copy, these will remain on your screen.

2) Can’t change Background, Themes and more

Something else that will happen in this scenario is you won’t be able to personalize Windows, which means changing the background screen, wallpaper, themes and lock screen.

There are also other personalization options you will not be able to make use of.

Solution: It is still possible to change the wallpaper on your screen if you want to, without having to activate Windows 10, by going to the File Explorer and right-clicking the image you want to use.

Click on ‘set as desktop background’ and voila – your wallpaper is changed to what you want.

3) Annoying Pop-ups

Something else that will happen is you will get occasional reminders from Microsoft requesting that you activate your Windows.

This means popups during gaming or working which might be annoying.

There is nothing else of much significance that will happen if you don’t activate your copy of Windows.

Do You Still Get Windows Updates if You Don’t Activate?

Microsoft still allows people to use Windows without activating it, so it is not going to stop working. You can still expect regular Microsoft updates whether it is activated or not.

Besides the personalization features being locked, there is not much else which will impact the functionality of your computer.

However, it is still a good idea to activate your copy of Windows.

Microsoft might decide to block un-activated versions from working, so for your peace of mind you might just want to go ahead and activate it.

Is it Necessary to Activate Windows 10?

If you want the annoying popups to stop, the watermark distracting you whenever you look at the screen, or you want to be able to personalize your device the way you want to, it is a good idea to activate the operating system.

This means you are running it legally and properly, and Microsoft will not have to keep bugging you with popups, watermarks and locked personalization options.

How to Download Windows 10?

Windows 7 was discontinued a while back, but if you are still on a Windows 7 machine, or running 8 or 8.1.

It is still possible to upgrade to Windows 10 without paying, just so long as your current operating system is genuine and activated.

All you have to do is download Windows 10 from the Official Microsoft website and install it on your computer.

There are 2 versions of Windows 10 to choose from – Windows 10 Home which is about $140 and Windows 10 Pro which is closer to $200.

The downloading, installation and activation process is similar whichever you get.

How to Install Windows 10?

Once you have downloaded and installed this new operating system, it is time to activate it on your device, which is a straightforward process.

First go to “Settings” and choose ‘Update and Security’. Then click on ‘Activation Panel’ and click on the link you see.

This takes you to the online Microsoft store where you can use your PayPal account or credit card to purchase a genuine Windows license.

Your Windows will then be automatically updated by Microsoft and you will be emailed a product-key for the Windows 10 you are now running on your machine.

Buying a License for Windows 10 Online

It is also possible to buy an authentic Windows 10 key using Fiverr.

In fact, they are a great platform to buy from and sometimes you can get a license at a discounted price.

If you choose to hire a freelancer from Fiverr to setup Windows 10 for you, ensure you get the official Windows 10 with valid license!

Can You Activate Windows 10 by Phone?

Activating your copy of Windows 10 by phone rather than doing it online is another option available to you. In order to do this, press the Windows key and R together.

  • Type in “SLUI 4” and hit “OK” (you will see a phone activation wizard).
  • Simply choose your country then follow the rest of the on-screen instructions to go ahead with your activation.

It is no longer possible to activate Windows 10 offline, like you could with previous versions of the Windows OS.

In Conclusion

Although it is possible to just keep using Windows 10 without ever activating it, you will be losing some of the functionality as well as putting up with irritating popups and reminders.

Buying a genuine Windows 10 key is recommended.

If you don’t and Microsoft suddenly announces Windows users can no longer use an un-activated system, you will not be able to use your computer at all until you remedy this!

Also read:

How To Delete Backup Files In Windows 10

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