How Windows’ Activation Troubleshooter may have a familiar ring
Multiplatform: Activation Troubleshooter enables you to associate your Windows 10 PC with a Microsoft Account. This allows you to activate Windows 10 on a new PC from your smartphone, digital tablet, or a non-Windows PC like a Mac or Linux box. Image by Fatmawati Achmad Zaenuri (via Shutterstock).
Who remembers the days of Windows Genuine Advantage? Back in the day (well, 2005 to be exact), it was used to check if your copy of Windows XP was legit. If WGA wasn’t activated, your Windows desktop would turn black. You would also have a speech bubble from the bottom right of the taskbar saying ‘you might be a victim of software counterfeiting’. A possible successor to WGA could be Windows’ Activation Troubleshooter.
Where Activation Troubleshooter varies is its approach to genuine software. Particularly Windows’ digital licenses. Sometimes, replacing a motherboard or other piece of hardware may warrant a fresh install and remembering the license key. Activation Troubleshooter aims to alleviate these concerns. If you have a Microsoft Account (i.e. for Office 365 or Skype), your copy of Windows 10 is paired with the account.
This also makes a fresh install or reinstallation a lot easier. Under MS’ Anniversary Update, version 1607 (Windows 10 digital license) offers an automatic link up with your Microsoft Account. This speeds up the installation or reinstallation times considerably. For now, this step is optional, and the product installation ID can only be paired with a single machine.
Build 14371 aims to build on 1607 with Activation Troubleshooter covering Windows 10 digital licenses. On ZDNet, it is claimed that Build 14371 will be responsible for “linking installation IDs to a Microsoft account fundamentally changes the anonymity of activation”. Sounds familiar? This sounds like part of the WGA tool on Windows XP. From Service Pack 3 onwards, your Windows XP PC pinged Microsoft every so often to see if your machine had a genuine of XP.
Unless you are worried about the security implications of Build 14371, we think Activation Troubleshooter is more friendly than WGA ever was. For a start, cloud computing wasn’t as widespread in 2005 as it is in 2016 (hence the decision to pair Activation Troubleshooter with Microsoft Accounts). With the free Windows 10 upgrade offer set to expire at the end of July, this tool will come into its own.