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Two new Windows 10 resources: Microsoft's official activation and servicing guidance


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Microsoft quietly has released two formerly missing -- and much-needed -- Windows 10 resources, an activation assistance page and Windows 10 servicing and updating guide.

By Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft | September 28, 2015 -- 12:00 GMT (05:00 PDT) |

Even though one of Microsoft's goals with Windows 10 seemingly was to simplify its upgrade and deployment processes, the company introduced some new and very different ways with Windows 10 that Microsoft didn't do much to explain.


Until now, that is.
Over the past couple of days, Microsoft has quietly made available some new web resources providing some much-needed guidance on how product activation and updating work with its new operating system.

Microsoft officials had shared a few tidbits in August with ZDNet's Ed Bott around how the company's activation policies had changed with Windows 10. But now there's an official and more fully documented web page that explains the various paths to activation that the company is now enabling with the operating system. (Thanks @WinObs, a k a Richard Hay, for tweeting a link to the new activation page.)

In order to decipher the new "Activation in Windows 10" page, a couple of definitions first need to be understood."Activation" is the process via which Microsoft attempts to verify that a copy of Windows is "genuine." And "digital entitlement" is Microsoft's name for the new method of activation in Windows 10 that doesn't require users to enter a product key.

"Depending on how you got your copy of Windows 10, activation will use either a digital entitlement or a 25-character product key," Microsoft's new resource page states.

The page then goes on to list a handful of different ways users potentially may have gotten Windows 10 -- ranging from upgrading for free from Windows 7 or 8.1, to buying a copy of the product from a retailer or on a new device -- and the required activation method. There are a number of subsections linked from the main page, including how to activate after reinstalling Windows 10; activating the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview; and activating Windows 10 after a hardware configuration change.after a config change.