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What Happens When Windows Copy Is Not Activated?

June 28, 2022

Like many software, Windows is also prone to piracy. Therefore, Microsoft introduced Windows activation as a defense to ensure that all PCs are only running the original version. But,What Happens When Windows Copy Isn’t Activated?

Not activating Windows will not affect your ability to use the software. In fact, the only difference between an activated and deactivated Windows operating system is the ability to customize the appearance of the user interface.

Windows it is very persistent and often prompts you to activate the software if it has not been activated. Therefore, many wonder if there are any major drawbacks to not activating the Windows operating system.

What Happens When Windows Copy Isn’t Activated
Index of contents

  1. What Happens When Windows Copy Is Not Activated?
    1. activation notifications
  2. What Happens If You Don’t Activate Windows 10 After 30 Days?
  3. How Long Can You Use Windows 10 Without Activation?
  4. Is Windows 10 Activation Permanent?
  5. How many times can Windows 10 be activated?
  6. Disadvantages Of Not Activating Windows 10
    1. “Activate Windows” watermark
    2. Inability to customize your computer
  7. To close

What Happens When Windows Copy Is Not Activated?

We all know the popularity of Windows worldwide, but this does not save you from being a victim of piracy. So, Microsoft found a solution to this problem, and they created what is known as “Activation key”.

Once you install Windows on your computer, you will be prompted for an activation key.

activation keyalso known as “Product key”, is a 25-digit combination of numbers with which Windows can be activated. Once you enter the correct key, your version of Windows will be fully unlocked for your device.

Microsoft used to freeze Windows after a certain period with Windows XP and Vista if Windows was not activated on time. The idea was to eliminate all users of pirated copies from the market.

But then Microsoft quickly realized that they would be better off letting people use disabled Windows, as long as they used other Windows services.

This way, they can still make money off of unlicensed copies of Windows. So starting with Windows 10, Microsoft has been much more generous with its use of its software.

These days, there is very little penalty for not activating Windows on your personal computer. The only feature you are deprived of is the ability to customize options like the taskbar, icons accent colors, etc.

If customization isn’t important to you, there are virtually no other downsides to not activating Windows.

activation notifications

Another thing to keep in mind is that a disabled Windows operating system will always have a permanent watermark at the bottom right of the screen prompting you to activate Windows.

Not only that, but Windows will also constantly remind you that you haven’t activated the software yet. This can be very annoying.

So, if customization is important to you and you don’t like to be constantly bothered with watermarks and reminders, you’d better pay for the activation key and run a genuine version.

Now when you install Windows, your computer will regularly insist that you activate it within 30 days. But what could happen if you don’t?

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What Happens If You Don’t Activate Windows 10 After 30 Days?

When installing a fresh copy of windowsyou will be provided with a free 30-day trial of the Windows product you are using.

During this 30-day trial period, you will be able to use all available features without restrictions. You will be able to enjoy Windows without any type of restriction.

Even if you installed an unauthorized or illegal copy of Windows 10, you will still have the option to purchase a product activation key and activate your operating system.

Software updates and user interface customization will also be available within the first 30 days of installation.

However, if 30 days pass and you still haven’t activated Windows, all your customizations will disappear. You will be greeted with a very generic version of Windows with the operating system taking on a stock look after undoing all your customization.

Also the watermark will appear which will prompt you to activate Windows on your computer. And you’ll get reminders asking you to activate your Windows after the 30 days are up.

Your personalization settings will also be disabled and you will not have the opportunity to access these settings.

The drawbacks of not activating Windows after 30 days aren’t too great, but it can be a bit inconvenient to use due to the lack of control over how your computer looks.

Since it’s clear that you can use Windows without activation for more than 30 days, you might be wondering if you can get away with not activating Windows at all.

How Long Can You Use Windows 10 Without Activation?

In the past, when you finished the 30-day trial period With versions of Windows such as XP and Vista, the operating system entered a reduced functionality mode (RFM for short).

You were deprived of Windows games in this mode and lost access to Aero Glass, ReadyBoost, and BitLocker, which are considered premium features.

But with Windows 10, Microsoft has taken a much more lenient approach. Not only do you not lose access to any of the necessary features that Windows has to offer, but there is literally no time limit on activating Windows.

If you don’t want to activate Windows on your personal computer, you can still access it for as long as you like. In other words, you won’t be prevented from using Windows even if you choose never to activate the software.

I know it seems like a bad idea on Microsoft’s part to allow users to continue using Windows without an activation key. But, to be fair, it makes more sense to them from a business perspective.

Windows it cannot prevent piracy completely. So your next best approach is to allow unauthorized users to become part of your user base and sell them other Microsoft services like Microsoft Office.

This way, they can still make money from unauthorized users, even if they choose not to pay for the activation key.

It can be easy to install an unauthorized copy of Windows on your computer, but it’s very difficult to activate it without obtaining a legitimate key.

Microsoft has done an excellent job of preventing people from bypassing the activation key and accessing the full version of Windows.

Is Windows 10 Activation Permanent?

If you upgraded to Windows 10 through a free upgrade or purchased and downloaded a copy from the store, you can download and install the activated version of Windows 10 on that specific PC as many times as you like based on the digital entitlement.

This activation is permanent and the copy of Windows you purchased is yours.

But before you install Windows 10, make sure the current software your computer is running on is also up to date.

  1. To do that, you need to click on the Windows start button.
  2. Then go to “Setting
  3. Now select “Update and security”.
  4. And here, select “Activation”.

Now, if you don’t know what version you’re running, or if your Windows is permanently activated or not, follow these steps to find out:

  1. Click on “Start”.
  2. In the search bar, type “cmd”.
  3. Select “Command Prompt.”
  4. The command prompt opens. Type the following:
    1. slmgr/xpr
  5. Then press “Enter”. This will tell you what software you are running.
  6. Then write:
    1. smlgr/dli
    2. Press “Enter”. This will tell you if your Windows is activated or not.
  7. Finally, right click on “Start”.
  8. Then press “Run”.
  9. Type the following:
    1. winver
  10. Press “Enter”. This will tell you what you’re running and whether or not it’s permanently on.

How many times can Windows 10 be activated?

Considering you paid for Windows once, you can install Windows 10 as many times as you want as long as it’s on the same device.

Paying for a product key and activating it once means you now own that copy of Windows 10 under digital entitlement. This means you don’t have to activate Windows a second time on your device.

However, if you want to activate Windows on a different device, you will need to buy another activation key for the other device.

It is not possible to transfer a copy of Windows 10 from one computer to another. It is necessary to have a new product key for each new device.

So in other words, if you want to use Windows 10 on multiple devices, you’ll need to activate Windows multiple times. However, if you want to use just one device, you can activate Windows unlimitedly as long as you pay for it once.

If you’ve already purchased a copy of Windows 10 before, but the reinstall still asks for a product key, simply press skip and Windows 10 will automatically install on your computer.

Windows activation may seem unnecessary at this point, but there are some downsides to not purchasing a product key for your computer.

Disadvantages Of Not Activating Windows 10

The difference between authorized and unauthorized installation of Windows 10 has narrowed significantly over the years. However, there are still some downsides to not activating Windows. Some of them are:

“Activate Windows” watermark

There is a permanent watermark “activate windows” at the bottom right of your PC constantly if you don’t activate Windows. This watermark looks unappealing and lets other people looking at your screen know that you haven’t activated Windows.

While this isn’t a major issue in and of itself, it could be embarrassing if it came up during a work presentation or during a group call where you may need to share your screen. It’s not a very professional look.

Inability to customize your computer

Not activating Windows blocks all customization options on your PC and you’ll be stuck with a generic version of Windows until you activate the software.

Here is a list of things that YOU CANNOT CUSTOMIZE without activating Windows:

  • You are not allowed to change your wallpaper without activating Windows.
  • Accent colors. Windows offers a wide variety of accent colors that won’t be available if you don’t activate Windows.
  • Lock screen. You cannot change the look of your lock screen in the unauthorized version.
  • There are hundreds of themes in the Windows Store that allow you to customize your PC. However, without activation, you cannot use them.
  • There are several font options, but they will not be available without prior activation of the operating system.
  • Taskbar. It’s something you interact with a lot in Windows. Without customization, it can be awkward to use.

To close

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There is no severe penalty for not activate windows 10. However, you will have to live with the drawback of unattractive watermark and lack of customization.

If you choose to purchase an activation key, the copy of Windows you purchase is yours to keep forever. But you can also choose to use Windows 10 without activating it for as long as you want.