Windows Activation

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I purchased a Dell computer off the internet with Windows 10 installed on it. Whenever I use it, it has a window appear that says I need to "Activate Windows". I purchased n Activation Number but the computer will not accept the number. Did I just get ripped off, or am I just too dumb to activate my computer. Oh,
i am 77 years old ad not very knowledgeable about computers. Can anybody help me. Thak you
 
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Most OEM/Brandname computers come with and the Product Key of earlier versions have the code in the BIOS, all of my Dell and HP do with Win10 and Win11, even my old ASUS with Win8. It's possible someone installed the Retail version of Win10 but didn't activate after setup where the Product Key was required, I've not done a Retail install and haven't seen a Win10 disc so not sure about that.

Right-click of the Start button and clicking System should give a place to check the Activation and try to do so.
i am 77 years old ad not very knowledgeable about computers
I have you beat, I'm 83+ and been working on/building computers for 25+ years.
 
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Right click Start>Powershell with administrator rights & enter:
slmgr.vbs /dlv
Does it say OEM, Retail or KMS?
Have you tried resetting Windows or even clean installing Windows?
 
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Right click Start>Powershell with administrator rights & enter:
slmgr.vbs /dlv
Does it say OEM, Retail or KMS?
Have you tried resetting Windows or even clean installing Windows?
Interesting. I got a new Dell Notebook the month Win11 was released, came with Win10 Pro then Windows Update did the upgrade to Win11. Several months later the motherboard was replaced under warranty when the audio adapter failed, came back to me with Win10 Pro then again upgraded to Win11. Running the command in Win11's Terminal [opens PowerShell] shows it is a Retail version.

1689259247351.png
 
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@Bighorn Some users have found that after a Windows version update that their OEM key shows as retail when running that command. It is certainly strange.
 
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I'm now on my Dell Desktop I got in April '22 with Win10 Pro and similar to the Notebook was Upgraded to Win11 Pro using Windows Update, it still shows OEM.

1689286048755.png
 
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Yes the change doesn’t affect every user of OEM who upgrade.
I wondered when I first read this on another forum whether it happened on clean installs only or whether there was ever a retail key used on those devices.
 

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