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I bought a laptop from Craigslist, upon inspection, I click on system and see that It has windows 10 pro 64 bit and product is activated. So I feel it was legit.

Paid the person and left .

at home, I use Media creation tool, select installation media for other computer, and make a bootable USB.

In my mind , since I have an activated windows, re installing will be fine , since it will read my motherboard has been registered and activated. I make sure I reinstall the same exact version win 10 pro 64 Bit.

Went ahead and boot USB, Format my drive and fresh install windows 10.

here is the kicker. The windows will not activate?

so I am guessing I got duped?
second question is , is it still that easy to trick system properties to say windows is activated ??

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    Call the Microsoft Activation Center, that's the only way, to activate your Windows 10 installation at this point – Ramhound Mar 20 '17 at 11:20
  • Just for the record, nobody reinstalls a Windows 10 like that anymore. This version of Windows has a Rest function that essentially reinstalls Windows without requiring a product key. – user477799 Mar 22 '17 at 7:46
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Your assumption that reinstalling is fine is probably correct, your mistake is believing that reinstalling does not require activating. In my experience if I reinstall I need to activate again. That should not be an issue unless there have been too many activations with the same Product ID, in which case you might need to call Microsoft and confirm you have only one current installation.

To answer your questions:

1) I got duped? Not necessarily. I would not say you were sold a non-legit Windows copy, as long as you have been given the original Windows label with the Product ID (possibly glued to the pc case). Edit: as Fleet Command rightly points out, PCs preinstalled with Windows 10 PCs not necessarily come with a Certificate of Authenticity (the label with the product ID printed on it). In that case, you should extract the Product ID with a dedicated software or a script, and then verify it is genuine by calling Microsoft support, as Ramhound suggests. See this Quora Q&A for more details.

2) Is it that easy to trick Windows into believing it is activated? I guess it is. Cracks still exist. Activations happen online more and more often in order to mitigate this phenomenon but there is still the option of activating offline (with a code, over the phone).

Edit: putting together Ramhound's and Fleet Command's comments, the best way to know whether a

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    Windows 10 computers no longer have a product key on a label attached to them. They come with the product key integrated in firmware. – user477799 Mar 22 '17 at 7:44

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