When you install Windows 10 on your PC, you are asked for a license. The OS itself can be downloaded from Microsoft via the Media Creation Tool however, it requires activation. If you bought a new PC that came with Windows 10 installed then you have an OEM license i.e. it is tied to your motherboard. OEM licenses are nearly impossible to lose unless you change your motherboard. A clean installation will go through smoothly and Windows 10 will automatically find the product key without needing your input. A soft key which is one you buy online and is not hardware specific i.e. not tied to your motherboard is far easier to lose. If you misplace the file with the product key, you won’t be able to activate Windows 10 after a clean install. To help users prevent losing their licenses, Windows 10 Anniversary Update lets you connect your Windows 10 license with your Microsoft account. If you lose your license, you can simply add your account to Windows 10 and it will activate the OS. Here’s how to connect it now so you can benefit from it later.
Open the Settings app and go to the Update & security group of settings. In this group, go to the Activation tab. We assume that you’ve already activated Windows 10. If not, you want to activate it first with a genuine license and then proceed.
At the bottom of this tab, you will find an ‘Add a Microsoft Account’ section. Click the plus button under it to add your Microsoft Account. You will be asked to sign in to your Microsoft account and your current user will switch from a local account to a Microsoft Account. If you prefer using a local account instead of your Microsoft Account to sign in to the current user, we advise you to create a new user account and use it instead of this one. There really isn’t much choice here.
If the option to add an account is inactive, it means you do not have administrative rights. Sign in to the admin account and the option should become active. Once you’ve connected your account, the add an account section disappears. It doesn’t give you any other indication that you account has been connected.
The next time you do a fresh/clean install of Windows 10, and it doesn’t automatically detect the OEM license, or you can’t find your software license key, simply sign in to your Microsoft account to sort it out. The ‘Activation’ tab will guide you through the process.