Mi­crosoft’s gift for PC builders: as­so­ciate Win­dows 10 li­censes with your Mi­crosoft ID

The tool comes as Mi­crosoft pre­pares to end free Win­dows 10 up­grades, writes Blair Han­ley Frank

PC Advisor - - NEWS -

As Mi­crosoft hur­tles to­wards the re­lease of its ma­jor Win­dows 10 An­niver­sary Up­date, the com­pany has in­tro­duced a tool that’s sup­posed to help PC own­ers re­solve prob­lems with ac­ti­vat­ing the op­er­at­ing sys­tem on their computers.

It has a com­plex sys­tem in place to en­sure peo­ple are us­ing a copy of Win­dows that hasn’t been pi­rated. But that sys­tem some­times gets too ag­gres­sive and ends up af­fect­ing peo­ple with au­tho­rised copies of Win­dows. The new Ac­ti­va­tion Trou­bleshooter is sup­posed to help. It should make it eas­ier for peo­ple to re­ac­ti­vate their computers af­ter chang­ing hard­ware, such as swap­ping out their mother­board or hard drive.

Right now, it’s avail­able only to mem­bers of the Win­dows In­sider Pro­gram’s Fast ring, who re­cently got a new beta build of Win­dows 10 to play around with. Mi­crosoft hasn’t said that the tool will be avail­able to ev­ery­one with the forth­com­ing An­niver­sary Up­date, but that seems likely.

Us­ing the Ac­ti­va­tion Trou­bleshooter, users can as­so­ciate a dig­i­tal Win­dows 10 li­cense with their Mi­crosoft ac­count. Af­ter that, they can change out hard­ware on their PC and re­ac­ti­vate Win­dows with the li­cense that they as­so­ci­ated with their ac­count.

In a ref­er­ence doc­u­ment, Mi­crosoft said that there would be a limit to the num­ber of times that users can re­ac­ti­vate a de­vice us­ing the same li­cense, but didn’t say what the limit is. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Mi­crosoft didn’t re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment by press time.

In ad­di­tion, the Trou­bleshooter is sup­posed to help users who re­in­stall Win­dows 10 on their de­vice get back to the right edi­tion of Mi­crosoft’s new op­er­at­ing sys­tem. If they pre­vi­ously had a dig­i­tal li­cense for Win­dows 10 Pro (for ex­am­ple, though up­grad­ing from Win­dows 8.1 Pro) and then in­stalled Win­dows 10 Home on the same sys­tem, the Ac­ti­va­tion Trou­bleshooter will walk them through get­ting back to the Pro ver­sion.

The tool is im­por­tant, since Mi­crosoft will no longer be of­fer­ing free up­grades to Win­dows 10 af­ter the end of July. Users who have taken Mi­crosoft up on the free up­grade of­fer will be au­tho­rised to keep their computers run­ning Win­dows 10 for a good long while. This tool will help them han­dle the at times con­vo­luted process of stay­ing on Mi­crosoft’s good side.

It comes along­side a bunch of bug fixes and mi­nor tweaks re­leased to beta testers in build 14371 of Win­dows 10. Mi­crosoft is slated to re­lease the Win­dows 10 An­niver­sary Up­date on 2 Au­gust, and is cur­rently in the process of squash­ing bugs, so that the up­date is ready for re­lease.

A Sur­face Pro 3 run­ning Win­dows 10

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