How long can Windows 10 be used without activation?

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Download PDF
Affiliate Disclosure

How long can Windows 10 be used without activation

Microsoft launched Windows 10 in 2015 with a one-year free upgrade offer for Win 7 users. Today, Win 10 is retailing on for about $85. So, some users might assume that they can no longer freely upgrade from previous Windows platforms to Win 10.

However, users can freely download the Windows 10 disc image (ISO) file from Microsoft’s website with the media creation utility. Users can upgrade to Win 10 with that file. During the Win 10 installation, users will be asked to enter a product key. Then they can click I don’t have a product key to install the OS without a product key.

Download Windows 10 page how long can windows 10 be used without activation

Users will have then upgraded to an unactivated Windows 10. The unactivated version comes with some relatively minor restrictions. For example, users can’t change desktop wallpapers or themes within the unactivated Windows 10; and some of the platform’s apps will not work.

Most users have no idea that they can still upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge. Learn how now.

How Long can Windows 10 Run Without activation?

Some users might then wonder how long they can continue to run Windows 10 without activating the OS with a product key. Users can utilize an unactivated Windows 10 without any restrictions for one month after installing it. However, that only means the user restrictions come into effect after one month.

Thereafter, users will see some “Activate Windows now” notifications. Windows will send out regular notifications requesting that users activate the OS. Furthermore, the Activation tab in Settings will include a notification requesting that users activate the OS with a product key. Their users can click Change product key or a Go to Store option to purchase and activate Win 10.

Activation tab how long can windows 10 be used without activation

However, users do not have to activate Windows 10. In fact, users can continue to utilize the unactivated Win 10 with the few restrictions it has. Thus, Windows 10 can run indefinitely without activation. So, users can utilize the unactivated platform for as long as they wish at the moment. Note, however, that Microsoft’s retail agreement only authorizes users to utilize Win 10 with a valid product key.

More and more Windows 7 users are now upgrading to Win 10 as Microsoft will stop supporting 7 from 2020. Some of them are probably purchasing the OS from Amazon or Microsoft, but remember that it’s not currently essential to do so.

Instead, users can freely download the Windows 10 ISO to upgrade to a slightly restricted Win 10 without needing a product key.