How I "fixed" the Windows 10 activation error 0xc004f050

I found a way to activate your current install of Windows 10 without formatting.

The 0xc004f050 error is caused when you do a clean wipe of your OS before upgrading to Windows 10. I was told by Microsoft that there are only 2 ways to fix this error;

1. Reinstall your old OS (7, 8, 8.1) and wait for the Windows 10 app to downloaded Windows 10 to your computer, then upgrade using the app.

2. Buy a Windows 10 license for $119 -199 (depending on Home or Pro)

I did neither of these. Well, sort of. I didn't want to lose my current install of Windows 10, so I installed Windows 7 (my old OS) on to a different drive. Once I loaded into and activated Windows 7, I downloaded the Windows 10 ISO (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10) to a USB stick. Without restarting, I launched the Windows 10 setup on the USB. I installed Windows 10 as an upgrade and it never prompted me for a key. When it was done installing, it automatically activated.

At this point it is important to note that the 'Get Windows 10 app' did not appear before I launched Windows 10 setup.

Now this is the important part; once Windows 10 was activated on my computer, I swapped back to my original drive(the drive with the non-activated copy of windows)and when logged in, it automatically activated. The best part, not a single file or application is missing.

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This is the source of my information.

This worked for me, thank you very much as I was told I could only ever upgrade or purchase a key.
Do you think that'll work if I use an external hard drive?

I don't know for sure, but I think it will.

I believe that when you upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft logs your hardware ID. So if your hardware is the same as when you upgraded, you should be fine. If you install your old OS on to an external drive and upgrade to 10, it should still log your hardware ID.

Try it. Let us know what happens.

I've changed my mind and I reinstalled Windows 7 by formatting the hard drive (I had nothing important installed on it), re-activated my product key, then I downloaded the media creation toll and updated to Windows 10 and got my key instantly activated. I'm sorry but I didn't want to waste my time on experimenting that since I have no time.
No problem. I'm glad you got it working. I might try to do the external drive upgrade in a few days to see if it would have worked. You got me curious.

Unfortunately, this does not work for those of us who's Windows 7 came installed on a PC. My OS was corrupted to the point that even my Win 7 recovery disks would not salvage it. I upgraded to Windows 10 as a last resort and like it, but am still unable to activate. I have a valid product key, but Microsoft will not accept it.

??

Unfortunately, this does not work for those of us who's Windows 7 came installed on a PC. My OS was corrupted to the point that even my Win 7 recovery disks would not salvage it. I upgraded to Windows 10 as a last resort and like it, but am still unable to activate. I have a valid product key, but Microsoft will not accept it.

??

You can at any time  Clean Install Windows 7 with the Product Key on the COA sticker if its still readable.

So in Disk Mgmt  Shrink a 30-50gb partition from C,  boot Win7 installer to Clean Install to that space only, update it fully, Activate, save a Win7 backup image in Backup and Restore center so you can always go back to it if you want since the Windows 10 upgrade does not affect its license.  You can use one or the other, but not both. 

Then use the first option for  Installing Windows 10 using the media creation tool - Windows Help , confirm it is activated, then wait for your present install to Activate too.  Once it does so then you can delete the crutch partition and Extend over it in Disk Mgmt. 

If for some reason the workaround doesn't work for you, I will help you transfer your Upgrade install over to the Clean Install partition and recover the space from the failed Upgrade install. 

Let us know how this goes. 

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I am a volunteer and not Microsoft.

Over 100,000 helped in forums for 10 years. I don't quit for those who are polite and cooperative.

Windows MVP 2010-20

When I tried to follow the instructions for a clean install of Windows 7, it asked for my Product Key. When I entered it, it displayed this:

The product key you entered appears to be for software that was pre-installed on a device.  Please contact the device manufacturer for software recovery options.

??

Are you entering the Product Key on the COA sticker affixed to PC? 

If so leave the Product Key blank and later if necessary use phone Activation option to activate.   Activate Windows 7 by Phone

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I am a volunteer and not Microsoft.

Over 100,000 helped in forums for 10 years. I don't quit for those who are polite and cooperative.

Windows MVP 2010-20

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Last updated June 17, 2020 Views 20,275 Applies to: