When upgrading to Windows 10, you might see a message that says “This product key didn’t work (Error code: 0xC004C003)”. To fix this issue with some of the most common activation errors in Windows 10, and a few things you can try to fix the problems that are causing them.
Windows 10 isn’t activated after upgrading for free from Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update
If you upgraded to Windows 10 for free and ended up in a non-activated state, try following these steps:
Go to Start , then select Settings > Update & security > Activation.
- If your activation status is Connect to the Internet to activate Windows, select Activate to manually activate Windows.
If your activation status is Windows is not activated, it might mean you didn’t upgrade to Windows 10 before reinstalling. If this is the case, you can buy genuine Windows from the Windows Store to activate successfully or go back to your previous version of Windows, and then use the free upgrade offer to Windows 10.
This product key didn’t work. (Error code: 0xC004C003), There are a few reasons why you might see this error:
- You performed a clean installation of Windows 10 instead of first upgrading from your previous version of Windows. When this happens, we aren’t able to register your entitlement with the activation servers because you aren’t upgrading to Windows 10. To fix this, you’ll need to go back to your previous version of Windows, make sure the previous version is activated, and then upgrade to Windows 10.
- You upgraded to Windows 10, but the activation servers were busy. If you upgraded from an activated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, your copy of Windows 10 will be automatically activated, or you can wait a while and then select Activate.
- You upgraded to Windows 10 using the free upgrade offer, but Windows 10 isn’t activated after a reinstall. Your copy of Windows 10 should automatically activate so long as you didn’t make any significant hardware changes to your device (such as replacing the hard drive or motherboard).
License could not be found or was invalid. (Error code: 0xC004F034), The product key you entered didn’t work (Error code: 0xC004F050)
- You might see this error if you entered an invalid product key or a product key for a different version of Windows. For example, you can’t use a Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 product key to activate Windows 10.
Error installing product key (Error code: 0xC004E016)
- You might see this error if you entered a product key for a different version or edition of Windows. For example, a product key for the Enterprise edition of Windows 10 can’t be used to activate Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Core editions.
Genuine Validation detected tampered Windows binaries. (Error code: 0xC004C4AE)
- You might see this error if you used a third-party app to add a display language that isn’t currently supported by Windows. To fix the problem, you can restore your PC to an earlier point in time to undo the changes that were made to Windows.
- If this doesn’t fix the problem, it’s possible that your copy of Windows isn’t valid and you’ll need to buy a new copy.
The Software Licensing Service determined that this specified product key can only be used for upgrading, not for clean installations. (Error code: 0xC004F061)
- You might see this error if a previous version of Windows wasn’t installed on your PC before you tried using a product key to upgrade to Windows 10. In order to upgrade, you need to have Windows 8 or Windows 7 already on your PC.
A networking problem has occurred while activating your copy of Windows. (Error code: 0xC004FC03)
- You might see this error if you’re not connected to the Internet or your firewall settings are preventing Windows from completing the activation process online. Check to make sure you’re connected to the Internet and your firewall isn’t blocking Windows from activating. If you’re still having problems, you can try activating Windows by phone.
The activation server reported that the product key has exceeded its unlock limit. (Error code: 0xC004C008)
You might see this error if the product key has already been used on another PC, or it’s being used on more PCs than the Microsoft Software License Terms allow. To fix the problem, you’ll need to buy a product key for each one of your PCs to activate Windows on them.
You can buy a new product key from the Windows Store or a participating retailer. To buy a product key from the Store:
- Go to Start , then select Settings > Update & security > Activation.
- Select Go to Store, and then follow the instructions to buy Windows.
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