Windows 11/10 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 11/10 – 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 a free upgrade of Windows 11/10 will not get a product key. That’s because the activation for the free offer of Windows 11/10 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 11/10 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.
- 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 11/10.
The Windows 11/10 Product Key Activation method holds true for one of the following cases-
- A user has purchased a new computer running Windows 11/10
- A user has obtained a genuine copy of Windows 11/10 from an authorized seller
- A user has obtained a digital copy of Windows 11/10 from an authorized retailer.
- The user is using the Volume Licensing agreement for Windows 11/10 or MSDN subscription.
On the other hand, Digital Entitlement Windows 11/10 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 or Windows 10 to the latest Windows 11/10 Insider Preview build.
- Buyer has purchased a copy of Windows 11/10 in the Windows Store and successfully activated Windows 10.
- Buyer has purchased a Windows 11/10 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, or from Windows 10 to Windows 11 for free.
How you got Windows 11/10
You upgraded to Windows 11/10 for free from an eligible device running a genuine copy of an earlier version of Windows.
You bought genuine Windows 11/10 from the Windows Store and successfully activated Windows 11/10.
You bought a Windows 11/10 Pro upgrade from the Windows Store and successfully activated Windows 11/10.
You’re a Windows Insider and upgraded to the newest Windows 11/10 Insider Preview build on an eligible device that was running an activated previous version of Windows and Windows 11/10 Preview.
You bought a copy of Windows from an authorized retailer.
(On a label inside the box Windows came in.)
You bought a digital copy of Windows from an authorized retailer.
(In the confirmation email you received after buying Windows or in a digital locker accessible through the retailer’s website.)
You have a Volume Licensing agreement for Windows or MSDN subscription.
(Available through the web portal for your program.)
You bought a new device running Windows.
(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 11/10 Insider Preview build, will get new and activated builds.