I have been using my Windows 8 installation for months without any issues.

Recently, Windows has been notifying me about needing to activate even though I have activated in the past. Also, Office 2013 has become unlicensed and features have been deactivated.

I have been able to ignore the activation notices thus far. The activation notices both require the product key so I'll need to do some digging to find those.

Any ideas why this occurred? It seems to have happened immediately after I updated several apps in the Windows store.


This can happen if this is a company notebook and your IT staff installed Windows (and/or Office) using volume licencing activated using a Key Management Server (KMS). If so, then you need to successfully connect to the KMS server at least once every 180 days to keep the licenses activated.

So if you're off the network for more than 180 days, or they didn't setup/maintain their KMS server properly you may have hit the 180-mark, and needed to reactivate.

If you connect to the KMS server again, and all the ducks are in a row, then you probably won't need to provide the keys; it should just activate.

More info: Understanding KMS


I hear that sometimes they can be deactivated due to piracy, not meaning that you pirated it, but rather that someone else used a keygen or some such, landed on your key and tried to use it. So now both of you got deactivated. You can usually get it re-authenticated for you by emailing MS support and providing a picture of the license information on the box/PC/wherever it is.

I think more likely due to both Office and Windows coming unlicensed is some issue with the Microsoft Validation background process. Is there any chance you entered your key information while offline, or validated over the phone? Sometimes this happens when you do all your authentication offline and then the Validation software finally gets to come online and check.

  • I'm not sure what our licensing situation is since this is my company laptop, but it definitely sounds like I need to speak with my admin. I think we have some sort of site license but I don't know enough about it to comment for sure. – Mike Cole May 13 '13 at 13:48
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    Ah, in that case I would definitely just report it to the admin. This is probably something funky going on with their licensing, they may have tried to activate too many licenses or something like that. – Seth Curry May 13 '13 at 13:58
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    I'm doing just that this afternoon. I'll post the cause once we know it. Thanks! – Mike Cole May 13 '13 at 14:09
  • Its unlikely your situation is possible since in most cases piracy wen dealing with Windows deals with VLM keys. If we are talking about a site license it sounds like while the license is legit, to many keys were activated, in other words a basic license issue. – Ramhound May 13 '13 at 14:11
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    If he KMS server is never called you re-up the license this may be the case. – Austin T French May 13 '13 at 14:17

This can happen if you have your Samsung Smartphone connected to the PC.

See here this Topic in the MSFT forums:


  • Nope, not applicable in this case. Thanks for trying though! – Mike Cole May 13 '13 at 18:01

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