Are you having trouble activating Windows 10 after upgrading from a previous version or after resetting your Windows system? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to resolve the error 0xC0000022 – STATUS_ACCESS_DENIED.
Generally, when you install a fresh copy of Windows 10 or perform a clean install, you’ll be prompted for an activation key. To proceed, you must provide the genuine key issued by Microsoft or the activation will fail. While activating Windows shouldn’t give you a problem, some users have encountered Windows 10 Activation Error 0xC0000022 even after presenting the correct key.
What Is Windows 10 Activation Error 0xC0000022?
Activation errors like 0xC0000022 are not new to the Windows system. This error is usually accompanied by an error message, which might differ from one Windows system to another although the code remains the same.
In most cases, the error code 0xC0000022 is associated with the Software Protection Service, a critical Windows system service that’s responsible for managing the download, installation, and enforcement of digital licenses for Windows operating systems and most of its applications. So, when you encounter Windows 10 Activation Error 0xC0000022, it means that the Software Protection Service is corrupted, missing, or damaged. In other words, the activation error 0xC0000022 means that the Software Protection Service has stopped working.
This error could also be triggered due to corrupted system files, missing DLL files, your antivirus program, or a specific application installed on your device.
How to Fix Error 0xC0000022
Sometimes, it’s difficult to determine the exact cause of Error 0xC0000022. For this reason, we recommend trying all the solutions provided in this post until you find the one that works for you.
Before you go deep into the solutions, try some basic troubleshooting steps outlined below:
- Restart Windows – if the problem is temporary, rebooting Windows can resolve it.
- Clean your system – deleting PC junk, such as temporary files, can also help get rid of the problem. Windows 10 has an easier way of doing this through the “Settings” app. Simply go to System > Storage. Here, Windows shows you how your system is used and how much space you can free up. Select each category and choose carefully the files that you wish to delete.
If these steps don’t fix the issue, try the solutions below.
Fix 1: Temporarily Disable Your Antivirus Program
If the antivirus software that you’re using is overprotective, it might block some services and processes from functioning. If that’s the case, disabling it temporarily might fix the problem. The process of disabling your antivirus differs depending on the type of antivirus that you’re using. Refer to the user manual for instructions.
Remember, disabling your antivirus makes your computer vulnerable to attacks. Therefore, make sure that you activate it as soon as you’re done verifying if it’s the culprit.
Fix 2: Run Windows 10 Activation Troubleshooter
If you encounter issues trying to activate Windows 10, the Activation Troubleshooter can help to fix it. To access and use this feature, you have to be signed in as an administrator. To run Activation Troubleshooter, go to Settings > Update & Security > Activation, and then click on the “Troubleshoot” link.
Note that the “Troubleshoot” option is only available if your Windows version isn’t activated. Once Windows is activated, the option disappears. If you keep getting the activation error 0xC0000022, keep trying the other fixes below.
Fix 3: Check the Software Protection Service
As we mentioned earlier, the Software Protection Service is responsible for Windows activation, among other key functions. If it has been corrupted or damaged and, therefore, has stopped working, it might explain why you’re getting the activation error 0xC0000022. To resolve this issue, you need to restart the service. To do so, follow these steps:
- Open the “Run” dialog box by pressing the Win + R keyboard shortcut.
- Type in msc and hit “Enter”. This operation takes you to the “Services” window.
- Look for “Software Protection Service” and double-click it to open its “Properties” window.
- Click on the “Start” button to start the service, and then click Apply > OK.
- Restart your computer to apply the changes.
Try to activate Windows 10 again and check if the process goes through this time around. If you’re still getting the error, there could be permission issues preventing the service from running. To rectify this issue, follow these steps:
- Press “Start” and type “cmd” (without quotes). Right-click “Command Prompt” and select “Run as Administrator”.
- Copy the following command and paste it in the “Command Prompt” window, and then hit “Enter”:
- Icacls %windir%\ServiceProfiles\NetworkService\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SoftwareProtectionPlatform /grant “BUILTIN\Administrators:(OI)(CI)(F)” “NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM:(OI)(CI)(F)” “NT Service\sppsvc:(OI)(CI)(R,W,D)” “NETWORK SERVICE:(OI)(CI)(F)”.
- Exit “Command Prompt”.
- Open the “Run” dialog box using the Win + R shortcut, type in %windir%\System32, and press “Enter”. Alternatively, open the path C:\Windows\System32.
- Go to the “View” tab and check the “Hidden items” box.
- Locate the “7B296FB0-376B-497e-B012-9C450E1B7327-5P-0.C7483456-A289-439d-8115-601632D005A0” folder and delete it. Select “Yes” if prompted by the system. If the folder appears multiple times, delete all of them.
- Exit “File Explorer” and open the “Run” box once again.
- Enter the path: %windir%\ServiceProfiles\NetworkService\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SoftwareProtectionPlatform\, and click “OK” or hit “Enter”
- Locate the dat file, right-click it and rename it to bak.
- Press “Enter”.
- Exit “File Explorer”.
- Next, open the “Services” window, and double-click “Software Protection Service”.
- Choose “Automatic” in the “Startup type:” drop-down menu.
- Click “Start” and then “OK”.
- Reboot Windows to apply the changes.
These solutions should fix the activation problem. However, if they fail, then it is highly likely that the Software Protection Service is corrupted or damaged. In that case, carry out fix 4 below.
Fix 4: Run SFC and DISM Scans
If your system files are corrupted or missing, then some applications will not run properly. In such situations, running an SFC (System File Checker) scan might help to resolve the problem. On the other hand, the DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) tool performs a deeper scan to fix issues affecting your system image.
To run an SFC scan, follow the guide below:
- Press the Win + X shortcut to bring up the Quick Link Menu.
- Select “Command Prompt (Admin)”. If you see “Windows PowerShell” instead of “Command Prompt”, press the Windows Key and type in “cmd” (without quotes). Right-click “Command Prompt” and select “Run as administrator”.
- In the “Command Prompt” window, type in the command line sfc /scannow and hit “Enter”.
If there are corrupt or damaged system files, System File Checker will try to resolve them. If this doesn’t work, use the DISM tool to try and repair a corrupted system image. Here’s how:
- Launch Command Prompt with elevated rights using the instructions above.
- Execute the following commands, one by one:
- Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
- Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
- Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
- Allow the DISM tool to complete the process and then restart Windows.
Check if you can now activate your copy of Windows.
Fix 5: Perform a Malware Scan
File corruption could also be due to a malware infection. If you suspect that your system has been compromised, then you should run a malware scan to keep your data safe and protect your system.
One way of dealing with malware is by using the Windows 10 built-in security tool, Windows Defender. To use it, follow the steps below:
- Launch “Settings” via the “Start” menu or using the Win + I shortcut.
- Open Update & Security > Windows Security.
- Open the “Virus & threat protection” option, and click on the “Scan options” link.
- Select “Windows Defender Offline scan” and then click “Scan now”.
Let Windows do its work. If it finds any threats, it will remove them from your system.
For a comprehensive scan, you need a more powerful tool that’s designed to detect even the most elusive malware. Auslogics Anti-Malware is a highly advanced security tool that digs deep within your system to identify and remove malware that might have bypassed your firewall.
The program scans the likely targets that could compromise the security of your entire system. This includes the Windows Registry, System Memory, Task Scheduler, and Windows AutoRun. After performing a deep scan, Auslogics Anti-Malware shows you a list of the malicious entities found in your system and the threat level posed by these items.
To remove all of them, simply click on the “Remove threats” button. To ensure 24/7 protection, the tool allows you to schedule automatic scans. This is reliable software that is constantly updated to detect even the most recent malware developed by hackers, thus guaranteeing the security of your device.
Windows activation issues can prevent you from using your system or certain Windows applications. That’s why you need to fix activation errors, such as 0xC0000022, as soon as they appear.
We hope you find the solutions above helpful. To share your thoughts, experiences and suggestions about Windows 10 Activation Error 0xC0000022, please leave your comments below.