Microsoft’s newest version of Windows – Windows 10 can be activated via two methods, Product Key method ie. the process of validating software with the manufacture, and the newly introduced Digital Entitlement. In addition to 25-character product key method, there’s another method for activating Windows 10 – Digital Entitlement. The method does not use a product key. The core difference between the two activation methods is the latter does not require a product key. Primarily, all activation methods for Windows are designed to help protect user privacy. All the data that is gathered is used to confirm if the software is a legally licensed copy.
Digital Entitlement and Product Key Activation methods
Many users opting for free upgrade of Windows 10 will not get a product key. That’s because the activation for the free offer of Windows 10 is registered on the Microsoft activation servers for the PC when you upgrade Windows 8.1 or Windows 7. So, If you have upgraded to Windows 10 from a genuine copy of Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, the activation will occur via an internet connection automatically and an online digital entitlement will be created for your device.
Any Windows user running earlier versions of Windows like Windows 7 wanting to install the latest version of windows 10 Insider Preview build after July 29, 2015 will however, need to upgrade to Windows 10 using the free upgrade offer.
To check your Windows 7 activation, simply click the ‘Start’ button, choose computer and select ‘Properties’. Then, explore under ‘Windows Activation’. For checking Windows Activation in Windows 8.1, go to Control Panel, move to ‘System and Security’, and click System: Then look under Windows activation.
Read: How to find Product Key in Windows 10.
The Windows 10 Product Key Activation method holds true for one of the following cases
- A user have purchased a new computer running Windows 10
- A user has obtained a genuine copy of Windows 10 from an authorized seller
- A user has obtained a digital copy of Windows 10 from an authorized retailer.
- User is using the Volume Licensing agreement for Windows 10 or MSDN subscription.
On the other hand, Digital Entitlement Windows 10 Activation method will be applicable, any of the following is true:
- User is a part of the Windows Insider Program and has upgraded genuine activated copy Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build.
- Buyer has purchased a copy of Windows 10 in the Windows Store and successfully activated Windows 10.
- Buyer has purchased a Windows 10 Pro upgrade in the Windows Store and successfully activated Windows 10.
- Any user upgrading a genuine copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 for free.
How you got Windows 10
You upgraded to Windows 10 for free from an eligible device running a genuine copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
You bought genuine Windows 10 from the Windows Store and successfully activated Windows 10.
You bought a Windows 10 Pro upgrade from the Windows Store and successfully activated Windows 10.
You’re a Windows Insider and upgraded to the newest Windows 10 Insider Preview build on an eligible device that was running an activated previous version of Windows and Windows 10 Preview.
You bought a copy of Windows 10 from an authorized retailer.
(On a label inside the box Windows 10 came in.)
You bought a digital copy of Windows 10 from an authorized retailer.
(In the confirmation email you received after buying Windows 10 or in a digital locker accessible through the retailer’s website.)
You have a Volume Licensing agreement for Windows 10 or MSDN subscription.
(Available through the web portal for your program.)
You bought a new device running Windows 10.
(Pre–installed on your device, included with the device packaging, or included as a card or on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached to the device.)
Apart from this, Any genuine copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 that has been upgraded by a user to the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build, will get new and activated builds.