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  1. Bought Windows 10 Pro retail. It is a serial key.
  2. Activated it on a computer. About Windows said something like "activation is associated with a Microsoft account".
  3. Formatted that computer. And deleted that computer from my Microsoft account (I think deleting it was a bad mistake).
  4. Built a brand new computer with totally new parts.
  5. Had to call Microsoft to do a manual activation "move" due to the big hardware change, because their servers thought my old formatted computer was still using the key. And since I had deleted the computer from my MS account, it wasn't possible to automatically move the license without calling Microsoft.
  6. About Windows 10 on the new computer now says "is activated". Nothing about digital license or a Microsoft account...

Question:

How can I finally associate this license with my Microsoft Account so that I don't have to call Microsoft next time?

I hear that if you associate your key with a digital account, you will be able to click Troubleshoot and auto-move the license to new hardware next time. So I really want to register my key on my account.

Best Regards.

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  • Did you login with your Microsoft account on the computer or did you create and use a local account during setup? May 22, 2020 at 12:38
  • @Appleoddity I created a local/offline account during setup (because it is the only way to create a custom user folder name), then I converted that account to a Microsoft Account via the login button on my account preferences. Finally, I called Microsoft to do the manual license activation. So my activation happened after I had signed in to a Microsoft Account. I wonder if there is some way to force the license to reauthenticate online and register itself on my account... May 23, 2020 at 5:59
  • Well, there are a couple of different things you can try. Simplest would be to try changing the product key and reactivating windows. You can do that through the UI in system settings. Or you can use the slmgr.vbs script from an admin command prompt to remove the existing product key and then try adding and activating the product key again. Do a quick google search it won’t be hard to find information about these two things. The idea is to try reactivating the key to see if it will register on your account. May 23, 2020 at 13:09
  • @Appleoddity If you're curious and want to spread this knowledge to other people in the future, I did find the solution. It's now in the accepted answer. :) Nov 5, 2020 at 13:15

1 Answer 1

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Followup to what has happened after my post:

  1. I waited several months and just used my computer. It continued saying that I did NOT have a digital license.
  2. Finally, I contacted Microsoft. First person could not help me and escalated to a supervisor. The supervisor (in India) then told me that I do not have to worry, and that the fact that the license is MANUALLY activated on my computer AND that I have signed into a Microsoft account with my user, will then "automatically make it into a digital license", and that if there is any problem doing a digital activation on a new computer, I just have to write in my physical license key and then call Microsoft to do a manual activation again. I didn't like those answers, because my Windows still showed that I did NOT have a digital license, so it didn't sound correct. But we talked for over half an hour and it was a very friendly call. He also did screen sharing and saw the problem; that my license was marked as manual activation (NOT digital). But he still said that everything was fine and that I shouldn't worry, and we said goodbye.
  3. About 20 minutes after the call, I noticed that my Windows Activation screen was now saying "IS ACTIVATED WITH A DIGITAL LICENSE". The Settings window had been open during the call, and I had not closed it. So it changed IN REALTIME to the correct status.

So what happened? I can confirm it now:

  1. For the first 6 months, I had a non-digital license. It never auto-changed itself into digital.
  2. The person on the support thought there was no problem, and we had a VERY friendly call and had good contact and laughed and had a relaxed call. So he really liked me. But he didn't do anything during the call to fix the situation.
  3. BUT, AFTER the call, he has DEFINITELY continued looking at my Microsoft Account further and FOUND a way to turn my license into a digital license. So he did that for me. I saw my computer's Windows 10 Activation control panel change to "digital license" in REALTIME after the call, without me doing anything.

So in summary:

YES, license can become digital. But MICROSOFT must do it for you. It will not happen without Microsoft's help. And only supervisors with good knowledge of Microsoft support tools can do it for you. Even my skilled supervisor didn't figure it out until AFTER the call had ended.

So if anyone else has this issue in the future, call them, speak to a supervisor, and tell them my story and find someone who is able to do the same thing for you.

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