The error “Unable to reach Windows activation servers” means the activation servers are currently unable to check your device and match it to the digital license for that device. In many cases, this is just an issue with Microsoft’s servers and it will be automatically taken care of in a few hours, maybe a day at most. Unfortunately, beginning with the Creator’s Update, there were some systems that were digitally entitled from Windows 7 or Windows 8 that would not activate over an extended period of time.
What is a Windows activation server? These are the servers Microsoft has dedicated to activating their software. Without connecting to these servers, it is difficult to activate the software. Activation is how Microsoft verifies your copy of Windows is genuine and hasn’t been used in more devices than the Microsoft Software License Terms allow. When everything is perfect, activation should always go smoothly. Unfortunately, not everything goes smoothly all of the time, particularly with the activation of Microsoft products. In this article, we will look at one of the main issues that often comes up regarding the activation of Microsoft products using the activation server.
Reasons for the Unable to Reach Windows Activation Servers Windows 10
This issue has also occurred on Windows 10 if the motherboard was replaced after successfully activating Windows on your PC. This often happens after applying the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (version 1607). It happens because the Anniversary Update doesn’t include a motherboard replacement improvement fix later included with the Creators Update. There are various other reasons Windows 10 might not activate.
- Unstable Internet Connection: This usually resolves itself. Check your Internet connection or wait for it to become more stable.
- Busy Servers: This is a problem with Microsoft. Wait a while and the servers should clear up, allowing you to activate your software.
- Antivirus Issue: Sometimes your antivirus software will block you from reaching the Microsoft activation servers. You can turn off the antivirus software to see if this is the issue. If it is, activate and then turn your antivirus software on again.
- Upgrading to Windows 10 from a pirated earlier versions of Windows can prevent you from being able to activate your Windows 10.
How to Fix the Activation Process
Because there are so many issues that can be associated with reaching activation servers, you need to eliminate potential problems so you can drill down to the actual issue. Ensure you’re on a trusted network. If you have previously set up a Proxy server or VPN network, disable them before you try other methods. This may fix the issue.
Install the Creator’s Update from Windows to see if this fixes the issue. Again, it’s important to try all of the simple methods before you start to worry. You can also try using a generic activation key. This will not work indefinitely, but it will allow you to temporarily activate so you can work on fixing the issue. To do this:
- Press Windows key + R to open the Run Window. Type “slui” and hit Enter to open the Windows Activation Client.
- Click on Change Product key, then enter the appropriate generic key for your Windows edition: Windows 10 Home Edition: YTMG3 – N6DKC – DKB77 – 7M9GH – 8HVX7/Windows 10 Home Edition Single Language: BT79Q – G7N6G – PGBYW – 4YWX6 – 6F4BT/Windows 10 Pro Edition: VK7JG – NPHTM – C97JM – 9MPGT – 3V66T/Windows 10 Home N Edition: 4CPRK – NM3K3 – X6XXQ – RXX86 – WXCHW/Windows 10 Pro N Edition: 2B87N – 8KFHP – DKV6R – Y2C8J – PKCKT
- Go back to the Activation Screen and check to see if the error message is gone. If the error message has been replaced with “Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account,” you’ve resolved the issue but will still need to see why you can’t activate it with your key.
To replace the generic product key:
- Open an elevated Command Prompt by clicking the Windows Start icon and type “cmd.” Right-click on Command Prompt and choose Run as administrator.
- Enter a password if prompted to do so.
- Type slmgr -ipk followed by your product key. This lets you replace the generic product key with a user-specified one. The result will look like this: slmgr -ipk xxxxx – xxxxx – xxxxx – xxxxx – xxxxx, with the x’s being your product key. The product key will have 25 alphanumeric characters, with dashes every 5 characters to split the key into five distinct sections.
Exit out and reboot your computer. Activation may not happen right away, so wait a couple of hours before you try another method of activation.
You can also use chat support to activate. You need your actual Windows activation key to use this particular method. To do this:
- Press Windows key + R to open the Run Window. Type “slui 4” and hit Enter to open the Installation ID screen.
- Choose your country.
- Call the number that comes up on the screen. Minimize the Installation ID window, then hit the Start button, search for “get help” and open the Get Help app.
- The Virtual Agent will suggest some troubleshooting steps. Skip this by typing “test” and choosing “No” on every prompt until you are presented with the option to “Talk to a person.”
- Go to Services & Apps > Windows > Setting up, and select “Chat online with a Microsoft Answer Tech.” This could take a while to get someone. It all depends on how busy they are.
- Once the tech is online, you may be asked to give a valid Windows license key. You’ll also be asked to provide the Installation ID you generated. Copy and paste it to the Contact Support window.
- The tech will give you a Confirmation ID. Return to the Installation ID window, click on Enter confirmation ID, then hit Enter it again.
- Hit Activate. It shouldn’t take long before activation happens.
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