- 1 5 Best Fixes for Activation Key Not Working on Windows 11
5 Best Fixes for Activation Key Not Working on Windows 11
By default, a new computer comes with Windows 11 activated. However, when you need to reinstall Windows 11, you’ll need to activate it again using a legitimate activation key. The process is not as simple as entering the key; sometimes even a genuine key may not work for unknown reasons.
Running Windows 11 without activating it is an option. Yet, activating it is crucial for the best Windows experience. But what if the 25-letter alphanumeric key doesn’t work? Here are the best solutions when the Activation key fails on Windows 11.
1. Use the Windows Activation Troubleshooter
Windows has built-in Troubleshooters that can automatically identify and fix issues. If your Windows 11 computer is experiencing activation problems, you can use the Windows Activation Troubleshooter. Here’s how:
1. Press the Windows + I shortcut to open the Settings app.
2. Select System from the left column and scroll down to find Activation.
3. Click on Activation and then click on the Activation state option under Activation Settings.
4. If your key didn’t work, the state will be shown as ‘Not active.’
Step 3: Open the drop-down and click on Troubleshoot button.
Step 4: Wait a few minutes for Windows Activation troubleshooter to run and detect the problem.
Step 5: After the troubleshooter finishes checking, it will show details about the problem and a potential fix for Windows Activation. Click Close.
The Windows Activation Troubleshooter may work. However, if it doesn’t work, let’s move on to the next solution.
2. Try Running an SFC Scan
Corrupted configuration files can cause Windows to reject a valid Activation key. But there is still hope. You can run an SFC scan to fix corrupt files. Follow these steps:
Step 1: Press Windows + S and type Command Prompt. Select ‘Run as administrator.’
Click Yes when a User Account Control (UAC) prompt appears.
Step 3: Type the command below in the Command Prompt window and press Enter: SFC /scannow
After the scan, you’ll receive a message indicating if any problems were found. If no issues were found, the message will say, “Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations.” However, if corrupted configuration files are detected, they will be automatically repaired.
3. Try Activating Windows 11 Using Command Prompt
Windows includes a Software Licensing Management Tool (slmgr) in the form of a VBS file to manage Windows product activation. You can use Command Prompt to activate Windows 11 with this VBS file. Follow these steps:
1. Press Windows + S keys and type “Command Prompt.” Then, click “Run as administrator” from the search results.
Step 2: Click Yes when prompted by User Account Control (UAC).
Step 3: Type the command into the Command Prompt window and replace the X with the letters from the Activation key. Then, press Enter.
slmgr.vbs -ipk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
Step 4: Click OK when a Windows Script Host dialog appears.
If activation is successful, the Windows Script Host dialog will display the message, ‘Installed activation key XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX successfully.’ In case of activation failure, an error message may appear stating, ‘Error: OxC004FOSO The Software Licensing Service reported that the activation key is invalid.’
4. Rearm the Windows 11 Activation Key
There’s a chance that your PC can’t contact Microsoft’s activation servers. Check our guide for fixing Wi-Fi issues on Windows 11 or try activating your computer again after a few days.
However, you can extend the 30-day trial and delay the ‘Activate Windows’ watermark using the rearm command. The Software Licensing Management Tool can help you figure this out. Here’s how:
Step 1: Press Windows + S and type Command Prompt. From the results, click ‘Run as administrator.’
Step 2: Click Yes when a User Account Control (UAC) prompt appears.
Step 3: Type the command below into Command Prompt and press Enter: slmgr /rearm
Step 4: Click OK when a Windows Script Host dialog appears and restart your PC.
After rearming your computer, it will restart to complete the process and provide an additional 30-day period before you attempt to activate Windows 11 again.
5. Activate Windows Via Phone Using SLUI 4
When none of the solutions mentioned work, you can try the Software Licensing User Interface utility to activate Windows 11 using a phone. This requires running the SLUI 4 command and calling a location-based toll-free number to get a confirmation ID for activation. Here’s how to activate Windows with SLUI 4 command:
Step 1: Press the Windows key + R keys to open the Run dialog. Type SLUI 4 and press Enter.
Step 2: In the window, select your country or region by clicking on the drop-down menu. Then, click Next.
Step 3: Dial the toll-free number below and provide them with your device’s installation ID. Then, click ‘Enter confirmation ID.’
Step 4: After revealing your Installation ID, Microsoft will provide a Confirmation ID for you to enter into the nine boxes in the window. Once you enter the confirmation ID, click Activate Windows.
Activate Windows 11 to Access All Its Features
Activate Windows 11 on your PC to access all its features and remove the ‘Activate Windows’ watermark on your desktop. This works if your Activation Key is genuine. Let us know which solution helped you the most and if you found another way to resolve Windows activation issues.
As Fred Humiston, the author behind Twothirds.us, I focus on providing practical and easy-to-follow guides and solutions for a variety of technical issues that people commonly face.
My articles cover a wide range of topics, from troubleshooting out-of-sync audio on TikTok and managing Firestick devices, to understanding the impact of Capcut on video quality and resolving sound issues on Hisense Roku TVs.
I also delve into more general tech tips, like how to block numbers on landlines or use VPNs without Wi-Fi. My goal is to make technology more accessible and less intimidating for everyone, whether you’re a tech novice or a seasoned user. I strive to offer clear, concise, and helpful advice to make your digital experience smoother and more enjoyable.