SOLVED! “We Can’t Reactivate Windows On This Device. Try Again Later”

Damaged system files could lead to the “we can’t reactivate windows on this device. Try again later” error and you might be forced to run an SFC scan. Running an antivirus scan, purchasing genuine Windows, running the Activation troubleshooter, getting in touch with Microsoft assistant, and changing your product key will also come in handy at this point. To solve this error at once, keep an eye on the solutions mentioned in this article.

Causes Of The Error

Hardware Change

The Windows product key is linked with the installed motherboard of the system. If Windows came preinstalled with your computer, that is an OEM license and this type of license expires once the motherboard dies. Upon replacing that motherboard, Windows will fail to identify the product key and the result will be “we can’t reactivate windows on this device. Try again later.”

Used Product Key

You will likely face an activation error if you try to use a product key that is not transferable. OEM, short for Original Equipment Manufacturer, means that you can’t use the product key to activate another installation. In the case of a retail license, you will not be able to use the same key unless you deactivate the previous installation.

Counterfeit Windows

Some users face the “we can’t reactivate windows on this device. Try again later” error because they are using pirated Windows. Once Microsoft has proven that you are using a counterfeit version of Windows, you will not be able to reactivate the OS. There are a lot of shady online sites selling licenses and if you purchase your Windows from them, you may end up with a counterfeit. In terms of performance, you can hardly tell the difference between a fake from genuine Windows. 


The presence of malware or virus on your computer may corrupt Windows activation and cause it to fail. There are several ways in which viruses can get into your computer, the main way is through a download of infected files. Some pirated Windows are distributed by hackers after changing the source code and adding malware to it.

Damaged Entries

Your computer can have damaged registry entries or system files, these damaged files can cause your activation to fail. The presence of bad sectors on your storage media can result in damage or corruption of your files.

What You Could Do

SFC Scan

Before trying out other complicated fixes, you have to ensure that the activation error is not caused by corrupted system files. System File Checker (SFC) will scan all protected system files, and replace corrupted system files with cached copies.

  • Step 1: Press the Windows + R to open Run.
  • Step 2: Type cmd then hit enter to open Command Prompt.
  • Step 3: Type sfc /scannow then hit enter and wait for Windows to complete the scan.
  • Step 4: Open settings then try making the activation.

Run Antivirus Scan

Windows security continually scans for malware, virus, and security threats. If you suspect a virus software is stopping Windows reactivation, you can run a quick scan on your device.

  • Step 1: Press Windows + I to open Settings.
  • Step 2: Select Update and Security then click Windows Security.
  • Step 3: Select Virus and threat and under Current threats, hit Quick scan.

Purchase Genuine Windows

If you are not using a genuine version of Windows and you do not have a valid key, there is nothing much you can do to reactivate Windows. You will need to purchase one from a trusted reseller or Microsoft Store. Once you have purchased a new product key, do a fresh install of Windows with the new key.

Activation Troubleshoot

If you run into an activation error after a hardware change, the Windows Activation troubleshooter can help you.

  • Step 1: Press Windows + I to open Settings.
  • Step 2: Select Update and security then click Activation.
  • Step 3: Select Troubleshoot then choose I changed hardware on this device recently.
  • Step 4: From the list of devices, click the device name you are trying to activate Windows for.
  • Step 5: Check the box next to This is the device I’m using right now then click Activate.

Get In Touch With Chat Support

If activation becomes a bit challenging, Microsoft agents can take you through the activation process. 

  • Step 1: Press the Windows key, type “get help” then hit Enter.
  • Step 2: Select Contact Support and on the dropdown menu, select Windows then click Confirm to proceed.
  • Step 3: Select Product Activation then choose Chat online with Microsoft Answer Tech.
  • Step 4: Once the Microsoft Answer Tech connects, explain that you want your Windows 10 license to be reactivated. 
  • Step 5: You have to provide your Installation ID so press Windows key + R to open Run, type “slui 4” and hit Enter. 
  • Step 6: In the Installation ID window, select your country/region and click Next to get the Installation ID.
  • Step 7: Copy the Installation ID you generated to Contact Support Window and once Microsoft Answer Tech receives it, you will be provided with a Confirmation ID. 
  • Step 8: Once you have Confirmation ID, return to the Installation ID window, click Enter confirmation ID then enter the 25 characters provided. 
  • Step 9: Click Activate Windows and wait for the reactivation process to get complete.

Change Product Key

After changing the motherboard of your computer and you run into the activation error, you will need to change the product key.

  • Step 1: Press Windows key + R to open a Run Dialog. 
  • Step 2: Type “slui 4” then hit Enter to open the Installation ID screen.
  • Step 3: Click on the Change Product Key, then enter the appropriate generic key for your Windows edition. You can check the appropriate generic key from Microsoft’s official list.
  • Step 4: Click Next and wait for the activation window to close, then restart your computer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Windows Without Reactivating?

Using Windows without activation is not illegal. However, you will miss out on some of the key features of your computer. For instance, online Also, there will be a permanent ‘Activate Windows’ watermark in the lower right corner of the screen. Personalization features like changing wallpaper, colors, and themes will be grayed out as well.

How Can I Check My Activation Status?

To check the activation status on a Windows computer, press Windows key + I to open Settings then select Update & Security. On the left panel, select Activation, your activation status will be listed next to Activation.

What Does “Windows Is Activated Using Your Organization’s Activation Service” Mean?

You may see this on the product key status after you purchased a second-hand device. It means that the Windows installation is volume licensed. The previous owner’s company activated it when they were working. Volume licenses normally expire after 180 days. To disconnect the volume license, turn on the airplane mode then launch CMD. Type slmgr -upk then hit enter. 

A Guide For Novices

  • The product key involves 25 characters, double-check each set before hitting Activate.
  • Ensure you are using a key that matches your Windows Edition.
  • For online activation, ensure you have a stable internet connection.
  • Ensure your operating system is up to date before reactivating it.

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