I'm trying to activate a new Windows installation using the digital license that's associated with my Microsoft account. On the old (activated) pc, I can go to the activation setting and see the "Windows is activated with a digital license tied to your Microsoft account" message.

On the new PC, if I log in with the same Microsoft account, Windows is not activated. I get the message that a valid product key has not been found (0xC004F213).

Using the trouble shooter, I get the message that Windows cannot be activated on this device. I then click "I recently changed the hardware for this device."

I then get a dialog showing me the device with the old motherboard. If I click "Activate", I get a simple "Windows cannot be activated" message.

If I go back to settings and try to change the product key, and enter the old pc's product key, I get an error that says the key is invalid (0x80041023).

I'm kind of at a loss now. How do I get this working?

Windows 10 Pro x64 was installed on both devices using the same USB drive.

  • Please edit your question to indicate if the license was a retail or OEM license
    – Ramhound
    Jul 31, 2019 at 20:49

1 Answer 1


The Windows 10 serial is associated with the old hardware. It is registered with your Microsoft account, but that is only for the purpose of easily activating the old hardware.

Microsoft takes into account too many parameters of your old hardware, you cannot trick it into activating the new hardware with a serial that was already used.

The old activation key was apparently an OEM license that came with the old hardware, maybe it was even burnt into the BIOS. It cannot have been a Retail version, because Retail keys are transferable.

So, sorry, you need to buy a Windows 10 serial for your new computer.

  • Not entirely true. In Germany (and probably the whole EU) even OEM licenses are legally transferable.
    – TJJ
    Oct 20, 2019 at 18:04
  • @TJJ: Interesting. Can you show some proof that this works?
    – harrymc
    Oct 20, 2019 at 19:24
  • I can show you the court rulings. However, as you can see, Microsoft sometimes needs to be reminded of their obligations.
    – TJJ
    Oct 20, 2019 at 22:50

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .