MS Activation Server Issues Temporarily Negate Win10 Licenses

Holy Moly! I ran into an interesting issue yesterday when trying to update one of my Insider Preview test machines to Build 18277. The update kept failing with error messages that indicated access/permission problems downloading updates. When I switched from Windows Update to David Xanatos’ excellent Windows Update Manager (WUMgr.exe) program, I saw an endless series of HTTP 403 “access forbidden” error messages each time the update engine tried to grab a package.  “Hmmmm” I thought to myself, “something odd going on here.” Then I remembered a TenForums post I’d seen earlier in the day: MSFT acknowledges some Win10 Pro licenses being mistakenly deactivated. “Could this be my problem?,” I wondered. Sure enough, when I visited the activation page in Settings, I confirmed for myself that MS Activation Server issues temporarily negate Win10 licenses. Check it out:

Not only does the license show up as deactivated, the troubleshooter claims it’s Win10 Home and needs a reinstall. Ouch!

Fixing MS Activation Server Issues Temporarily Negate Win10 Licenses Is Easy

Once MS realized it had this problem, it went all out to fix it. Within half a day, two simple methods now set things right if this happens to you. (Note: some reports affecting Windows 10 Enterprise users have surfaced, as well as Windows 10 Pro users. The symptoms and fixes are the same for both editions.)

Re-run the Troubleshooter

Now that the Activation Server issues have been addressed, running the Activation Troubleshooter will restore the digital license that belongs to affected installations. Appears as a link labeled “Activation Troubleshooter” on PCs in need of activation on the afore-depicted Activation Settings page. Takes a minute or so to complete.

Use the Software Licensing Management Tool (Command Line)

A faster, more direct method involves running either an administrative Command Prompt or Power Shell session with a single command. Here’s an illustrative snapshot. I ran this on those two of my PCs affected by the issue and it worked in 30 seconds or so. Easy-peasy.

After you run the slmgr /ato command, wait for the WSH pop-up and click OK. That’s it!

All’s well that ends well, they say. I’m guessing that Microsoft, perhaps even more than those with PCs affected by this issue, wishes it had never happened in the first place. Alas, however, that’s life in WindowsWorld!

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