How to Get Windows 11 or Windows 10 for Free (or Under $20) | Tom’s Hardware.
Cancel Submit. Hi, Thank you for writing to Microsoft Community Forums. If the issue persists, then perform the steps as mentioned in this article: Using the Activation troubleshooter If the issue persists and you have a product key then perform these methods.
Type this command and press enter: slmgr. Select your country from the drop-down menu and click Next. You will see the contact number for the country that you have selected which you have to call. You will be required to provide the Installation ID mentioned in Step 2 when you are asked. The representative in turn, give you a Confirmation ID, which you will need to enter. Once done, click on Activate to activate your copy. But come on; does anyone actually do that?
Other than those inconveniences, unactivated Windows should work just fine and receive automatic updates too. You can see if your school is eligible and download your free Windows 11 key here. These are all OEM keys and likely can’t be used on another computer after you activate them on the first one.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. While we can’t vouch for all of them, websites selling cheap Windows 10 or 11 keys are likely offering legitimate codes. Kinguin has more than three dozen merchants worldwide selling Windows keys. It’s just another marketplace. So we tried calling the number and waited on hold for a few minutes. We thought activating via phone would be an automated process where we just punched in the key and got an approval code, but instead we got a live representative who immediately asked for our Microsoft account ID.
However, both sites play host to a number of third-party sellers whose product keys may or may not be legit. The easiest but most expensive way to get Windows is to buy your key directly from Microsoft.
You can get these either as downloads or on USB drives. If you are looking for a Windows 10 key, the better alternative will be to use the free version of Windows 10 instead of buying a new license key.
It comes with all Windows functionalities and you will get feature and security updates too. Basically, everything works similar to the activated Pro version.
However, both these limitations are actually not much of a big deal. There are no intrusive prompts forcing you to buy a Windows 10 key or any sort of lockout from your PC. You are absolutely free to use it, any way you want.
Using the free Windows 10 seems a much better option than pirating Windows 10 Key which is most probably infected with spyware and malware. If you want a step by step guide, follow our tutorial here. Get Windows 10 Free or Cheap Through OnTheHub For School, Colleges and Universities To bring more students and researchers under the Microsoft ecosystem, the company has partnered with schools, colleges, and universities from many countries.
Under this partnership, students can avail many Microsoft products at a discounted price or even free of cost. If you are a student at any educational institute, you can get a Windows 10 key, Microsoft Office , Oracle software and access to many other Microsoft goodies.
Microsoft has a dedicated OnTheHub website for students where you can find all the details about the offerings. Just head over to OnTheHub page and scroll down to the bottom.
Here, select your Country, State, and School. After that, it will provide you a WebStore link of your institute. Open the WebStore and you will find all the products offered by your institute. If your institute has included Windows 10 in the partnership program then you will find it here.
Just search for Windows 10 and you are likely to get it. Do note that you must have an active email ID from your school, college or university to register on the portal. You will have to use your student email ID to finally obtain the Windows 10 key.
You can still upgrade your PC with your older Windows license and the activation works without any issue. Here is how you can do it. Download the Media Creation Tool from here and run it. Here, you will find the activation status. This way you will save yourself from buying a new Windows 10 key. Here I will share some authentic sources from where you can get a genuine Windows 10 key at a much cheaper price. But before that, let me explain briefly the reason behind the low cost.
There might also be situations when Windows requires reactivation even though the product has already been activated. The Product Key could be obtained by buying a retail kit from a store or online. When the new Product Key is entered, the system will reactivate using that new Product Key. Windows activation terms The following list explains the terms that are used during the activation process:. This is also called a Digital License. The key is manually typed into the OS and Windows 10 will activate via the internet by validating the Product Key.
Windows 10 retail kits will include this character key. Certificate of Authenticity COA : An identification method to help prove that a Windows product is not counterfeit or copied. The COA could be in the form of a label that contains a bar code and product key. Activating Windows 10 Windows 10 can only be activated by connecting to the internet except for volume-license versions of Windows Windows 10 cannot be activated over the phone.
If a system has a Digital Product Key that was injected into the system BIOS during the manufacturing process, Windows 10 will use that key to activate Windows 10 on that specific system. Activation is automatic when connected to the internet. Activation is automatic when connected to the internet if the user has already typed in the Product Key. Digital Product Keys and retail Product Keys are unique and can only be used to activate one system.
If the system cannot be connected to the internet and activated, the system is in the ‘Deferred Activation’ state. Windows 11 Pro volume license clients are used by large organizations that deploy Windows 11 to hundreds or thousands of computers.
In this situation, activation is typically managed by your organization, and you’ll need to contact your system administrator for assistance. For more info, see Troubleshooting Windows license expiration issues. Here’s how to activate Windows:. If you have a valid product key, select Change product key , and then enter the character product key. Note: Your product key should be in the confirmation email you received after buying Windows, included with the packaging that came with your device, or on the Certificate of Authenticity COA attached to the back or bottom of your device.
For more info on how to troubleshoot error code 0xF, see Fix Windows activation error 0xF You must use a valid product key to activate Windows. Your product key should be in the confirmation email you received after buying Windows, included with the packaging that came with your device, or on the Certificate of Authenticity COA attached to the back or bottom of your device.
Select Change product key , and then enter the character product key. If you’ve made a major change to your device’s hardware, such as a motherboard replacement, run the Windows Activation troubleshooter located on the activation settings page. Note that you might be asked to go through the reactivation process. You entered a product key that can’t be used to activate Windows.
Enter a different product key or buy a new product key. You upgraded to Windows 11, but the activation servers were busy. If you upgraded from an activated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8. If you continue to have problems with activation, contact customer support. You upgraded to Windows 11 using the free upgrade offer, but Windows 11 isn’t activated after a reinstall. Your copy of Windows 11 should automatically be activated as long as you didn’t make any significant hardware changes to your device such as replacing the motherboard.
Product keys are unique—assigned to a specific user to install on a single device. If you bought a device from a reseller of Windows 11 and expected the key to be valid, contact the reseller. If your device was purchased with Windows 11 preinstalled and you received this activation error upon turning it on for the first time, contact your device manufacturer.
Check to see if you have a paper copy of your Windows character product key you can enter to activate Windows If your device was recently repaired at an independent repair facility, contact them to see if the repairs require a new Windows 11 license.
You might see this error if you entered an invalid product key or a product key for a different version of Windows. Enter a valid product key that matches the version and edition of Windows 11 installed on your device.
If Windows is installed on a device that connects to a Key Management Service KMS server, contact your organization’s support person for more info about how to activate Windows. You might see this error if you entered a product key for a different edition of Windows than the edition installed on your device. You might also see this error if you previously upgraded to Windows 11, but the current edition of Windows installed on your device doesn’t match the edition of your digital license.
You can either enter a valid product key that matches the edition of Windows installed on your device or reinstall the edition of Windows 11 that matches your digital license. If your device is running Windows 11 Version or later , the Activation troubleshooter can help you install the correct edition of Windows on your device.
You might see this error if you entered a product key for a different version or edition of Windows. For example, a product key for the Enterprise edition of Windows 11can’t be used to activate Windows 11 Home or Windows 11 Core editions. Enter a product key that matches the version and edition of Windows installed on your device or buy a new copy of Windows from the Microsoft Store.
You might see this error if you’re not connected to the internet or your firewall settings are preventing Windows from completing the activation process online.
Not running Windows 10, version or later? Your copy of Windows 10 should automatically be activated as long as you didn’t make any significant hardware changes to your device such as replacing the motherboard. Any thoughts on how this works? Yes, you can get it from Microsoft Store.