A Bug Appears to Deactivate Windows 10 Pro (UPDATE: Fix Coming)

Creddit: cwsink on Reddit

Update: Nov. 8, 8:10 p.m. ET: Microsoft sent a statement saying this issue will soon be fixed for users automatically:

“A limited number of customers experienced an activation issue that our engineers have now addressed. Affected customers will see resolution over the next 24 hours as the solution is applied automatically. In the meantime, they can continue to use Windows 10 Pro as usual.” – Jeff Jones, senior director, Microsoft

The company also said that watermarks will disappear once the fix is applied. The original story is below:

Microsoft's had a rough month. The company attempted to release the Windows 10 October 2018 Update during its namesake month only to pull it after numerous file system bugs were discovered; it still has yet to be re-released to the public. Now several Redditors have reported that their Windows 10 Pro licenses have been mysteriously deactivated, with their systems prompting them to install Windows 10 Home instead. Windowsunited.de was among the first to report on the issue.

It's not clear what's causing this issue. Numerous people said their Windows 10 Pro license was carried over from Windows 8, so it could be related to that migration, though it's strange to encounter problems like this so long after Windows 10 debuted. Several members of the Windows Insider Program who tested Windows 10 Pro before its release have also had this problem, which could mean the migration path isn't at fault.

Update, Nov. 8, 3:36 p.m.: "We’re working to restore product activations for the limited number of affected Windows 10 Pro customers." said Jeff Jones, a senior director at Microsoft.

Things got even weirder after the original poster said they restarted their system only to find that their license now claimed to be for Windows 10 Enterprise for Virtual Desktops. At this point it almost seems like Windows 10 is flicking a spinner whenever the system is restarted, noting the result, and then saying the license is for whatever version of Windows 10 it landed on. That's not what people want from their operating system.

We haven't experienced this problem ourselves, and like always, the warnings about online complaints apply here. The vast majority of Windows 10 Pro license owners probably haven't been affected by this problem.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • derekullo
    And today's OS is

    "Spins the Wheel"

    Windows Millennium

    "System Crashes"
  • ex_bubblehead
    One also has to wonder just how many of these deactivations are due pirated content. It's entirely possible that MS is finally catching up to sketchy keys.
  • Math Geek
    very true. i know from past experience that it can take a year or more for MS to catch up to leaked in house keys, volume license overuse and many other types of bad keys out there.

    most hactivation type stuff gets patched pretty quick but those leaked keys can linger for a long time.

    could be a legit issue or could be a hacktivation method finally got patched or some early bad keys finally got shut down. never really know cause not like folks gonna tell complete truth on the truth magnet that is the internet.
  • captaincharisma
    i wish i seen this article before wasting an hour on the phone getting through to MS. they said they had several cases today about it and told me it is a current issue. that what i figured since its telling me my longtime pro key is now a home edition key
  • Brian28
    21468831 said:
    One also has to wonder just how many of these deactivations are due pirated content. It's entirely possible that MS is finally catching up to sketchy keys.

    Or MS has gotten overzealous in detecting pirated keys, and is impacting innocent users. If somebody had a pirated key, do you think they would be broadcasting their license woes on a public forum?
  • patchez711
    Just had this pop up for me... I had 7 Enterprise, upgraded to 10 pro during the free period. Mine says my code is for home now.
  • TechyInAZ
    I can confirm this, just a minute ago my windows 10 got deactivated out of the blew.
  • Khaydin1
    This happened to me as well this morning. I built the computer several months ago and applied a Windows 10 Pro OEM key - has been activated for several months. Was activated yesterday when i left work, come in this morning and no longer activated.
  • faalin
    Bought this exact copy of window 10 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075PZ12B2/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 The usb says windows 10 home/pro on it. Installed my laptop just last week and now it has been deactivated saying i have windows 10 pro installed but my key is only for window 10 home.

    ...... i hate Microsoft and their windows 10 so much.....
  • poopflinger
    Had this happen to me last night. It told me I had Windows 10 Pro installed and that I had a Windows 10 Pro key... but for some reason it couldn't be validated. The solution for me for was going through the troubleshooting steps and "upgrading" to pro. This restarted my computer with the threat that setting up Windows 10 Pro could take a very long time. All my PC did was restart with Windows activated this time. This is a very strange bug.