What if Windows 10 suddenly deactivated itself after an update? This is a very common dilemma affecting thousands of Windows users, as seen on the internet. One day you turn on your PC only to find that your license is no longer valid. When you try to insert the product key, it fails, and you get the error message “We can’t activate Windows on this device because you don’t have a valid digital license or product key” or “The key can’t be used to activate this edition of Windows. Please try a different key”.
Windows Update or upgrade is known to cause deactivation issues and this annoying behavior has persisted since users started upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8 or 8.1 or Windows 10, and Windows 8 to Windows 10.
The big watermark in the bottom-right corner of your desktop telling you to activate your Windows can be annoying. On many forums, you’ll see users complaining that “My activated Windows 10 deactivated itself after update”. Fortunately, there are several troubleshooting steps to solve the Windows 10 deactivation problem and this post provides all the answers and solutions, so read on.
How to Fix ‘Windows Suddenly Deactivated Itself’ Issue
Try Manual Activation
The first and basic option is to enter the product key and activate Windows 10 manually. You need to have a genuine product key. It’s the same key that was used to activate Windows 7 or Windows 8 prior to the installation of Windows 10.
The key could also be found embedded in your BIOS/UEFI firmware. To obtain the product key, follow these steps:
- Right-click “Start”, and open “Command Prompt (Admin)”.
- Input the command, wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey, and press “Enter”.
The system will show you the product key. Now, to manually activate Windows 10, use the following process:
- Press the Windows Key+I to open “Settings”.
- Launch Update & Security > Activation.
- Now, select the “Change product key” option.
- On the “Enter a product key” pop-up screen, input the 25-digit code and click “Next”.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to finish the activation process.
After manually activating Windows 10, the deactivation issue should disappear. However, if this fix fails, proceed to the next troubleshooting step.
Use Windows Software Licensing Management Tool
The Windows Software Management Tool comes in handy if you have activation problems. It’s a script file located in the Windows\System32 folder as Slmgr.vbs, and it can be used to check if your Windows version is activated permanently or temporarily.
You can also use the tool to verify the status of the Windows activation again. With the right switch, you can fix the ‘Windows suddenly deactivated itself’ issue. To do this:
- Open “Command Prompt (Admin)” by right-clicking “Start”.
- Execute the following command, slmgr –rearm.
- Patiently wait for the process to complete, and then restart your computer.
Your Windows 10 should now be activated. If the watermark is still there, move to the next workaround.
Use the Activation Troubleshooter
When you run Windows 10 activation troubleshooter, the tool will try to detect and resolve activation errors. To do that:
- Press the Windows Key+I to launch “Settings”.
- Click “Update & Security”, and then select “Activation”.
- Find and select the “Troubleshoot” option.
- After the troubleshooting process completes, Windows will provide the results. If available, select “I changed hardware on this device recently” to troubleshoot other Windows 10 activation related issues.
Did this resolve the deactivation error? If not, try the next solution.
Check for Malware Infections
Malware could be the primary cause of the Windows 10 deactivation issue. Malicious code may be blocking the Windows 10 activation process from finalizing successfully. To rule out malware having infected your PC, you need to run a full system scan. You can use Windows Defender by following these simple steps:
- Open “Settings”, and then click Update & Security > Windows Security.
- Select “Virus & threat protection”.
- Choose “Scan options” (or the “Advanced scan” option if you’re using an older Windows 10 version).
- Check the “Windows Defender Offline scan”.
- Select “Scan now”.
- Wait for the process to complete and then check if the error has been eliminated.
Using the Auslogics Anti-Malware Tool
Sometimes, malicious files can be difficult to detect. This demands a tool that’s capable of performing a thorough scan on every inch of your system. With a trusted program like Auslogics Anti-Malware, you can easily find hidden malware within your files, folders or applications, and quickly remove it.
Some of the symptoms of an infected system include random freezing or crashing of specific programs or Windows itself, and sluggishness. Your browser extensions can contain malicious files which can spread to other apps or the Windows registry, and cause irreparable damage to your system.
To ensure the safety of your PC, install the Auslogics Anti-Malware tool today and run a full scan. All suspicious apps and files will be identified and quarantined. One of the advantages of using this tool is that it works hand-in-hand with your antivirus to boost the security of your computer. This adds an extra layer of protection that safeguards your personal information from being leaked.
If your system was infected by malware, Auslogics Anti-Malware will remove the harmful files and restore your PC’s health.
Roll Back Windows 10 to an Earlier Version
If Windows 10 suddenly deactivated itself after update, you can try to roll back to an earlier version. You need to understand that, if you upgraded from an older Windows 10 version, you would be rolled back to that specific one. On the other hand, if you upgraded from Windows 7 or Windows 8, then you would be rolled back to the respective Windows version.
- Open “Settings”, and then select Update & Security > Recovery.
- On the right pane, find the option that says, “Go back to the previous version of Windows”.
- Click the “Get started” button, and follow the on-screen instructions provided.
Reverting to a previous version of Windows should resolve the ‘my activated Windows 10 deactivated itself after update’ error. However, this action can only take effect if Windows was updated less than 10 days ago. If the option to “Get started” is greyed out, you cannot apply this fix.
Use a Microsoft Account
Are you using a valid Microsoft account on your Windows? If not, this could cause the deactivation issue. A local account is not linked to Microsoft, and to reactivate Windows 10, you need to use the correct credentials. If you don’t have a Microsoft account, you can easily create one via the Microsoft official website.
When you finish setting up your new Microsoft account, or if you have a valid Microsoft account, proceed with the steps outlined below:
- Click “Start”, and launch “Settings”.
- Open Accounts > Email & accounts (“Email & app accounts” on an older Windows version).
- Click “Add an account”.
- Select “Outlook” and click “Continue. On an older Windows version, select “Add a Microsoft account”.
- Follow the instructions to complete the setup.
- After you are done linking your Microsoft account, sign out of the local account and restart your PC. Log in to the new Microsoft account, and check if this fixes the deactivation error.
Restore Your PC
System Restore is a useful feature that provides solutions to various PC problems. This process usually reverts changes you’ve made to your PC and will take you back to a point when your Windows 10 was activated and functioning correctly.
This action can only work if you have a restore point created before the error occurred. To restore your PC:
- Press the Windows Key+Q, and type restore.
- Select the first program titled, “Create a restore point”.
- Click the “System restore” option.
- Click “Next”, and pick the most recent restore point. To select a different restore point, check the box that says, “Show more restore points”.
- Select “Next”, and then click “Finish” for Windows to commence system restore.
Before you begin this process, be sure to backup all necessary data to an external hard drive to prevent data loss.
This usually fixes most PC problems and should resolve the Windows suddenly deactivated itself issue.
Contact Microsoft Customer Support
If you’ve tried several solutions, and you’re on the verge of giving up, contact Microsoft Support. Microsoft takes customer satisfaction very seriously and has a dedicated customer support team who are ready to help you resolve Windows-related problems. If you’re trying to enter a genuine product key, but it fails to activate Windows, you can contact Microsoft Virtual Agents anytime using the following steps:
- Get to Microsoft’s official support website, and click “Contact support in the browser instead” or select “Open Get Help app”.
- Follow the instructions, and you’ll get all the help you need.
Microsoft’s customer support is swift and you need to have your order ID or reference number ready as proof that you purchased the official version of Windows.
There you have it. One of the solutions above should fix Windows 10 deactivated itself after update. Let us know if you were able to re-activate your Windows 10 in the comments below.