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Irony? Buy an EVOO laptop PC from Microsoft Store on ebay, can't activate Windows 10? (Solved)

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,994
6,917
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Yeah, an "EVOO". Pulled it out of the box, did OOBE setup without an internet connection to get a local account login, connected wifi, went to Windows Update, several slow and painful updates later, I rebooted and checked the activation.

"Can't Activate Windows - Hardware Changed."

WTF???
 

Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
5,349
997
126
Yikes. Can you return it?
 

fralexandr

Platinum Member
Apr 26, 2007
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www.flickr.com
Should be pretty easy to contact microsoft and get it activated. Apparently home users are routed through virtual chat now. You might be able to avoid having a microsoft account if you "start over" the chat page at the top right.


I wouldn't buy a celeron n3350 though. Even 2 core/4 thread i3s barely cut it as an office/browsing machine. The 4gb ram isn't even upgradeable.
They're just too slow. Imo Atom doesn't age well.
 
Last edited:

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,994
6,917
126
Well, I solved it.

But two things. Normally, with Windows "S Mode", there's a link on the Activation page, "Get out of S Mode", that links you to the MS Store online. That's not there if it's not "Activated". So I was, theoretically, STUCK in "S Mode", if I didn't want to purchase a new license.

I started thinking, well, probably the BIOS is "tattooed" with the license key. So what if I take my new 21H1 USB installer, blow away (re-format) the main Windows OS partition on the eMMC, and install fresh, and it should pick up the key from the BIOS.

Amazingly, that "hail Mary" worked! And even better, I wasn't in "S Mode" once it was installed, just regular Win10 Home.

So, I solved it, but it wasn't without quite a bit of hassle. Most end-users would have been stuck.
 

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