Can't ativate windows 10 0xc004e016

Upgraded from windows 7 pro to windows 10 pro. After messing around with some forum posts about switching from a KMS to a MAK key, I've tried entering my windows 8 BIOS key (found using produkey) into windows 10 and I get error code 0xc004e016

How can I fix this without a reinstall of windows 8.1?

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You changed the key? That's bad. I am not sure if that will work out. It seems the Microsoft activation servers are super-busy, so that alone could be the problem. I have seen people (including myself) that needed several attempts to activate.

But after you changed the key - I don't know.
Sure thing would be a rollback like here then redo the upgrade and then activate without touching the key at all.

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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
when you do an upgrade your machine is checked first and if it fits the parameters the machine configuration is saved to the microsoft store (not the one you see in the gui).. an eligible pc has oem or retail copy of an eligible operating system and is not joined to a domain. Your machine is then upgraded and the activation is done with a check of the machine config against what is stored in the microsoft store and if they match the machine is automatically activated.

For instance, when setup wanted a product key on a machine that I redid a clean install. I skipped it.. and again in the first windows 10 screen I said enter the product key later.. now when I check the activation status it says activated.  This machine had the preview installed on it previously.
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Not sure what your base system was.
Did you have an 8.1 Pro system supplied and used Downgrade Rights to switch to Win7 Pro?
What's the source of your Win 10 upgrade?

The correct path should be:
Win 8.1 Pro embedded key > Win 7 One-off Downgrade Activation Key from M$ > Win 10 upgrade via Windows Update claimed

The downloaded Win 10 image is pre-registered for that machine's HardwareID only - from the registry data captured in the Windows GWX Registry Key.  Your upgrade should activate against this. You shouldn't need a Generic KMS key, & if you're prompted for a key and can't bypass entering a Key at that time it's usually a mismatch between the installation media and the hardware (download used on a different machine etc). You may be able to reinstall and as McKnife describes simply omit a key and select activate later.
tegeniusAuthor Commented:
Cheers for the replies guys. I've downgraded back to windows 7 (as mcknife suggested) - I never knew you could do that and it totally saved my laptop from a format so thanks!

I've learned a lot here about how microsoft generate the key based on the GWX reg key, where I used the windows 10 upgrade manually on the web where clearly one had not been generated. I should have used my Windows 8.1 retail disk that came with my laptop (as it was previously downgraded to win7 with a win8 key in the bios) and then wait for the upgrade thing to kick in again :)

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