Ever wondered how long you can use Windows 11/10 without a product key or activation? A simple answer is that you can use it forever, but in the long term, some of the features will be disabled. Gone are those days when Microsoft forced consumers to buy a license and kept rebooting the computer every two hours if they ran out of grace period for activation.
How long can you use Windows without Activation
So now you know that it is not necessary to Activate Windows 11/10 – but you should know that the Microsoft retail license agreement, section 5 states:
You are authorized to use this software only if you are properly licensed and the software has been properly activated with a genuine product key or by other authorized method.
Windows 11/10, unlike its previous versions, doesn’t force you to enter a product key during the setup process. You get a Skip for now button. Post-installation, you should be able to use Windows 11/10 for the next 30 days without any limitations.
Read: Can a Free copy of Windows 11/10 be secure?
Here is the list of limitations you will face in this situation:
- A watermark will remain at the lower right-hand corner saying Activate Windows.
- Windows will send out notifications asking you to activate Windows. I am not sure how frequent it will be, but you will notice it every day.
- There will be a ‘Windows isn’t activated, Activate Windows now‘ notification in Settings.
- You will not be able to change the wallpaper, accent colors, themes, lock screen, and so on. Anything related to Personalization will be grayed out or not accessible.
- Some apps and features will stop working
- Although currently, you may still get Updates, Microsoft is likely to change its policy in the future.
So you can see that Windows 10 works even without activation, but we will never recommend it. While it may get updates presently, Microsoft can anytime decide to either block or delay them. In that case, it will not be safe to use it. Also, if you are using it for commercial purposes, it can be illegal to use the software without having a proper license.
What is your take on this? Let us know in the comments.