Windows 11 is the latest release of the Windows operating system, and many people have upgraded their PCs to this latest software. However, some PC users are undecided about installing this update because they’re unsure if their existing license is transferrable.
- Do You Need a New License for Windows 11?
- Why Is It Important To Have a License if You’re Using Windows?
- Can I Use a Windows 10 License for Windows 11?
- What Are the Requirements To Install Windows 11 on Your PC?
- How To Install Windows 11
- How To Activate Your Windows
You don’t lose your license by upgrading to Windows 11. Installing the Windows 11 software upgrade will not negatively affect your PC if you’re using Windows 10 and have a valid and activated Windows 10 license.
Keep reading to learn about Windows Activation and which activation method is the best for you.
Do You Need a New License for Windows 11?
Windows 11 is a relatively new software upgrade that Microsoft released on October 21, 2021.
This release came six years after its predecessor, Windows 10, which was released in 2015.
Since you don’t lose your license by upgrading to Windows 11, you don’t need a new license.
However, you may need to get a new license or purchase a Windows 10 or Windows 11 product key if you don’t have a valid Windows 10 license.
Also, some older PCs may have expired product keys and need a new license to operate Windows 11.
Even though you can upgrade to Windows 11 without purchasing a new license, you might need to activate your Windows OS after upgrading.
Activation generally helps users ascertain that their Windows version is genuine and doesn’t breach the terms and conditions in Microsoft’s Software License Terms.
Why Is It Important To Have a License if You’re Using Windows?
While I recommend having an authentic Windows license for your PC, you can install or use the Windows software without getting one.
If you’re putting a PC together instead of buying a new one, there’s a massive chance it may be missing a product key.
And although you can access essential Windows functions and key features, you can’t access some crucial attributes, which pushes most people to get a Windows license.
Without a license, you’ll likely see the words Activate Windows written at the bottom of the screen.
These words are constant on PCs with no Windows license, and the watermark’s transparency allows it to blend in with various displays on your PC.
Unfortunately, there’s no legitimate way to get rid of it without your Windows license.
Can I Use a Windows 10 License for Windows 11?
The Windows 10 operating system was the latest Windows software version between 2015 and 2021. Naturally, many people still have PCs that come with Windows 10 built-in.
The good news is that you don’t have to buy a Windows 11 license if your PC has a Windows 10 license.
Windows 11 automatically activates as soon as you install the upgrade, provided your PC has an assigned digital license for Windows 10.
Therefore, you can purchase a Windows 10 license before switching to Windows 11 and not have to spend extra cash afterward.
However, ensure you use a legitimate license, which you can get directly from Windows.
Buying cheap Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) keys from third-party sites isn’t advisable because they rarely work.
And not only would you be wasting your time trying to buy these illegal keys, but you would also be wasting valuable money and putting your computer at risk.
There’s also a chance that product keys for older Windows operating systems and devices may not be compatible with Windows 11.
What Are the Requirements To Install Windows 11 on Your PC?
Before installing Windows 11, it’s best to ensure that your PC is compatible. If not, your device may malfunction and deliver a poor, unsatisfactory experience—even if you have the license.
Incompatibility issues will cause your PC to have slight problems with the upgraded operating system, which might affect the installation of subsequent updates.
Luckily, most PCs made in the 2010s can support the new Windows 11 OS. However, the software still needs certain hardware features to run properly, including:
- Minimum RAM storage of 4GB.
- A minimum ROM storage of 64GB. If your laptop doesn’t have this, you can make some upgrades to get additional space.
- CPU unit speeds of 1Ghz or faster. Also, your CPU must have at least two cores.
- Your computer system must have a system Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) firmware. It must also be “secure boot” capable.
- A 2.0 Trusted Platform Module (TPM).
- Your computer’s graphics card must be compatible with DirectX 12 or a WDDM driver.
- A 720p display that’s larger than 9″.
- A stable internet connection.
- Your computer must be running Windows 10.
You can learn about Windows 11’s minimum system requirements from the Microsoft official website to check if your PC is compatible with this software.
How To Install Windows 11
Windows 11 is easy to install, and as long as your PC meets the minimum requirements to install and run the program, you should be able to use it on your computer without issues.
You can follow one of three ways to install Windows 11:
- Use the start button.
- Use the Windows 11 installation assistant.
- Create a Windows 11 installation media.
The next section of this article examines these methods in detail.
How To Install Windows 11 With the Start Button
The start button is one of the most popular buttons on a PC and a surefire sign the computer you’re using is running Windows or ran Windows out of the box.
It’s also a quick and easy way to install Windows 11 on your PC.
Here are the steps required to install Windows 11 using the start button:
- Press the start button on your computer.
- Click on Settings.
- Head to Update and Security.
- Look for Windows Update and select it.
- If your PC is compatible with the latest OS, there should be a pop-up message that notifies you of its availability.
- Click the button and follow the prompts.
This is undoubtedly the easiest and best way to install the latest version of Windows. If you are still looking for an option to update your OS, below are a few other methods you could try.
How To Install Windows 11 With the Windows 11 Installation Assistant
You can find the installation assistant on the Windows software update page.
However, if your PC hasn’t been offered the Windows 11 update, it’s not a good idea to install it this way. Doing so may cause your PC to malfunction and may also cause irreversible damage.
Here’s how to install Windows 11 using the Windows 11 installation assistant:
- Head over to the Windows software download website.
- Download the Windows 11 Installation Assistant file.
- Follow the installation prompts.
But what other option can you use?
How To Install Windows 11 by Creating a Windows 11 Installation Media
You can find the media creation tool on the Windows software update page. It’s best for clean installs on new computers, but you can use it to upgrade an old PC.
Of course, Windows must qualify your device for an update for this option to work.
Here’s how to install Windows 11 by creating a Windows 11 installation media:
- Head over to the Windows software download website.
- Click on Create tool now.
- Follow the set of instructions that follow.
Carefully read each option to ensure your installation is error-free.
How To Activate Your Windows
Windows 11 licenses have only been available since its official release in 2022.
And whether you’re installing it on a new or old PC, you may need to purchase a Windows 10 or 11 licenses to ensure your PC’s maximum functionality.
Here are the best ways to activate your Windows OS:
- Use a digital entitlement.
- Use a product key.
- Purchase another license.
- Link your PC to your Microsoft account.
Let’s explore these activation methods.
Using Digital Entitlement
A digital entitlement, the official name for Windows 11 licenses, allows you to activate Windows without needing the traditional product key.
Microsoft did this to make the installation and activation process easier.
Microsoft also created the digital entitlement activation method to protect user data and ensure privacy.
More often than not, digital entitlement keys come with your hardware and are linked to your Microsoft account.
Consequently, you don’t need to go through many steps to activate your Windows operating system (OS) since it automatically updates itself as soon as you log into your Microsoft account.
So, log into your Microsoft account to get your digital license if you have a relatively new PC.
Using a Product Key
Alternatively, you can use a product key, the traditional option, to activate your Windows PC.
Product keys are a set of codes that contains about 25 encrypted characters. Here’s what a product key looks like XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX.
To activate Windows, if you’ve never installed a product key on your old or new PC, input your 25-character key on the Windows Setup screen during installation.
As soon as you do this, Windows 11 will finish its installation and be activated when you log in.
If you’re installing windows again on the same device, you should click the I don’t have a product key option on the installation screen. Your Windows OS will be automatically activated later.
You can also use a new license if you don’t have a product key.
Purchasing Another License
Sometimes, your Windows may lose its activation status, especially after making considerable hardware changes.
Fortunately, you can link your digital license to your Windows OS to quickly recover your activation status and prepare for hardware changes.
After making significant hardware changes, such as replacing your PC’s motherboard, head to the Activation Troubleshooter in settings.
Making sure your Windows 11 is activated and linked is crucial to using the Activation Troubleshooter.
Once you access the program, follow the guidelines and prompts to reactivate your Windows OS.
Here’s how to check your Activation status on the Windows 11 OS:
- Click on the Start button and head to settings. The Start button hasn’t changed locations since the last software update, so finding it shouldn’t be a problem.
- Click on settings, and then select System.
- Click on Activation, and you should be able to see your PC’s activation status.
It’s that easy!
Linking Your PC To Your Microsoft Account
If Windows is activated on your PC but is not linked to your Microsoft account, you will see Your Microsoft account is not linked to your digital license. Rectifying this problem is pretty simple.
Here are the steps to link your Microsoft account:
- Click on the hyperlinked Instructions button when activating.
- Follow the provided instructions to link your Microsoft account.
However, if Windows is not activated, you’ll see an error message explaining the reason for inactivation. This error usually means you have to purchase a digital license.
You can check out the instructions in the previous section to learn how to purchase a digital license.
If you’re lucky, your OEM might not have changed the motherboard of your refurbished device. In that case, you won’t have any problems with Windows activation.
If you’re seeing a Windows license will expire soon error, it’s best to follow the troubleshooting process to rectify the issue. You can also contact your PC manufacturer for assistance.
Losing your software license can be scary when you consider the prices of software.
You keep your license when upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11. The activation license is transferable when upgrading.
You can use Windows without activating it, but you will inevitably experience limited functionality.
The best and most legitimate way of activating Windows is by getting a digital license or using a product key.