Having a Windows 10 activation issue which I think is specific to Dell laptops. Did a clean windows 10 install on my Dell XPS 15. Under settings-Activation there is an error which says

Activation failed because this device doesn't have a valid digital entitlement or product key. Error code 0x803F7001

Ok so then I retrieved my product key from BIOS and tried the 'Change Product Key' option. After entering the key I get a new error

We couldn't activate Windows Error Code 0xc004f014

So what gives. Why is this so difficult? I used both a 3rd party tool and a command line option to retrieve my product key so fairly sure its accurate.


I had the same problem after clean installing Windows 10 Home Single Language (Version 1511) on my dell inspiron 3542.

When I contacted Microsoft Support, they told me :

Windows 10 is a free upgrade. You have to upgrade to Windows 10. Windows 10 will automatically get activated after few days. You have to upgrade. Cleanly installed Windows 10 can not be activated with Win 7/8/8.1 keys.

This is what they have on their website :

Starting with the November update, Windows 10 (Version 1511) can be activated using some Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 product keys. For more info, see the section Activating Windows 10 (Version 1511 or higher) using a Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 product key in this topic.


Notice the line :

Starting with the November update, Windows 10 (Version 1511) can be activated using some Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 product keys.

Those some keys do not include oem product keys.

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So the only way to get genuine Windows 10 on computers with oem keys (at least on dell) is to upgrade.

I had no other choice so I upgraded to Windows 10 and it got activated within 2 days with a valid digital entitlement.

  • The very first type of key that is supported, are OEM Windows 8 keys, I don't understand this answer. It is flat out wrong. – Ramhound May 14 '16 at 16:50
  • @Ramhound - there is diffrence between keys printed on stickers (COA) and keys embedded in bios. – Manoj Sawai May 14 '16 at 16:52
  • You are mistaken. Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 OEM machines do not have COA stickers (they do have a sticker just not one with the license on it). They 3 only have keys embedded in firmware. I know for a face, because of personal direct experience with these types of machines, your answer is wrong. I left a comment as a courtesy The other words "COA" for those devices is a digital one. There are lots of reason Single Language would have problem activating, if you submitted your question, we could have helped figure it out. – Ramhound May 14 '16 at 17:01
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    @Ramhound - This answer may be wrong for other OEMs but this is very much correct for Dell. If you have a dell system with win8.1SL and time, you can try it yourself. And if you have already done it successfully then I just might unlucky because I couldn't get win10SL activated with win8.1SL key even after 3 attempts. Error - We couldn't activate Windows Error Code 0xc004f014 – Manoj Sawai May 14 '16 at 17:15
  • I don't live in a region where Single Language is even sold. I know from the hundred plus questions on Single Language that people even have problems going from 8.0 to 8.1 due to them using different languages. – Ramhound May 14 '16 at 19:42

More than likely you are upgrading to a different version, which is not allowed. Example, Home versions can only be upgraded to W10 Home.

Language options can also cause this if changed from original.


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