How Windows 11 Activation Works

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Hello All!

I'm asking if anyone knows how Windows 11 activation works when you login to your Microsoft Account. Recently I installed Windows 11 on my Steam Deck and bought a key from NewEgg to activate it, but when I went to activate said key, it said Windows was already activated by a digital license connected to my Microsoft account. My desktop and laptop also say this.

Anyone know how keys are managed or is there a way I can see the key mappings?


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Are you the original owner of the Steam Deck or did someone else own it before you and could of installed Windows on it?

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Depending on the license you activated with your msft acct (win7/8/10/11) ... you will most probably have multiple licenses attached to your msft account. I for eg, have about 10. So, when i sign into my account with a new device or when re-installing... a digital license is assigned to the device. If you check your microsoft account, and look under devices, you will see them activated there. Should you attempt to activate a new device or re-installed, and you get an error stating you dont have a license, then you can remove a device from your account portal, so then you end up with a license for the new device.

The same goes for all 365 products (Office, Visio etc...) no need to keep a text file of license keys anymore... unless you are using corporate VLSC, those still activate using MAK/KMS licenses. The one thing i will call out just as a boring FYI, sometimes, if you mix VLSC with 365 products, you might end up inadvertantly uninstalling the already installed product family (ie, Office365 installed, install Viosio VLSC, can potentially cause an uninstall of Office365 and vice versa)... there are workarounds, but it is a faff if you dont know powershell very well, and the new rubbish Office Setup methods (Click to Run)

Microsoft account | Devices

Activate Windows - Microsoft Support

Hope that helps!!!

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