Microsoft changed a lot of things with the launch of Windows 10. Most importantly, Microsoft made it easy to install Windows without having to activate it. The idea was to reduce the rampant piracy and cracked versions of Windows that were in circulation. But it raised another question. Why do you need to activate Windows 10 on your computer if you can download the official version and use it freely?
It turns out there are several reasons behind it, and you should buy a Windows license at the earliest. Let’s understand why and then we will see how to activate Windows 10 too.
Key Features are Missing
One reason why you should consider activating Windows 10 is its features. Windows 10 comes with several features, many of which are only available in the licensed version. Some of my favorites are systemwide dark mode, Windows Defender and Security, Focus Assist, and Windows Hello, among others.
You also can’t install and use Microsoft Office in Windows 10 unless you activate it. If you manage to install the crack or trial version, you will be greeted with a constant pop-up reminding you to activate. That’s annoying and counter-productive.
What you do get is a watermark at the bottom right of the screen that reminds you that you are using the free version.
These are just some of the key features that you would be missing. And the Windows dev team is constantly working on new features that you will never receive because you can’t download updates either.
Bugs Fixes and Patches
If you thought Windows updates were just about pushing new features or updating old ones, you are wrong. Microsoft frequently pushes small updates that fix known bugs and errors. These bugs affect how you interact with Windows OS as well as Microsoft apps.
The Microsoft development team are not the only people who are looking for these bugs. Independent developers and enthusiasts are also working as freelancers via the Microsoft Bug Bounty Program. If you find a bug and report it to Microsoft, you will receive a reward for your effort. These rewards can be substantial, which is why some people have made it their profession and do this for a living too.
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Security Updates are Essential
Windows Updates also contain security fixes for malware, virus, and other cyber threats that were discovered recently. Fighting cyber criminals and hackers is like a never-ending war. You can never defeat them but only keep them at bay, and Windows updates are one way to do that.
You can do your bit by updating your computer, which you can only do after you activate Windows 10 on your computer. You need these security updates and fixes to protect your data, identity, and for preventing hackers from taking over your system for blackmailing you. That’s called ransomware, and it’s a nightmare.
Why Not Use Cracked Keys
There are a lot of Windows users who still scour the internet for cracked Windows keys, hoping to activate Windows 10 on their computer for free. Here’s the problem. Most of these keys don’t work, and the site hosting/sharing them are full ads, viruses, and trojans. They are after your data.
Scams and frauds are also rampant. You will often find a shady dealer on social media or some forum claiming to have a spare Windows 10 license key. He/she will ask you to pay upfront via PayPal or even Bitcoin, which will cost you less than a 10th of the original price. You will buy thinking it’s a good deal only to realize you were just scammed. That is why you should always buy directly from Microsoft or authorized dealers only.
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Types of Windows 10 Licenses
There are primarily two types of licenses. One is Windows Home, and the other is Windows Pro. You get most features in Windows Home like Windows Hello, firewall, encryption, parental controls, and Defender. Windows Pro offers more control for developers, businesses, and advanced users like Group Policy editor, Kiosk mode, access control, support for Azure, and more.
When you buy a computer with Windows pre-installed, its called an OEM license, and the license cost is included in the final product price. When you buy a computer with DOS, you need to buy a retail license from the Microsoft site or an authorized dealer. The difference is that the OEM license is non-transferable. If you sell your computer and buy a new one, the retail license is transferable, which makes it a lifelong deal. That is why buying DOS-based laptops can make a lot of sense.
How to Activate Windows 10
There is no need to activate Windows 10 if it came preinstalled on your computer. If you bought the license online/offline and have a 25-character product key, read on. Press Windows key+I to open Settings and go to Update & Security > Activation > Update product key > Change product key.
Ideally, the interface will prompt you to enter the key during or right after the installation process.
Key to Success
Windows 10 license keys can be expensive for some, which is why I would recommend you to buy a retail license. You can then transfer it. You should activate Windows 10 on your computer for features, updates, bugs fixes, and security patches.
Next up: Want to update Windows 10 offline? Click on the link below to learn how to update your Windows 10 system offline.