We help IT Professionals succeed at work.
Get Started

Windows 10 Activation fails after cloning hard drive

Bob Vaal
Bob Vaal asked
1 Endorsement
Last Modified: 2018-03-13
1. I have several computers I am re-purposing with Windows 10 Pro.  I have Software Assurance volume licenses from Microsoft I have purchased.
2. I downloaded the latest 1709 build of Windows 10 Pro and setup the first of many computers.  All the computers are of the same make and model.  I installed my apps (Adobe Reader, Chrome, Office 2016, etc.) and I activated Windows 10 Pro using my volume license.  I ran MS Update and installed all current updates.
3.  I removed the hard drive from the system and using an external drive cloning device (Wavlink) cloned the master to several targets of the exact same make and size of hard drive.
4. I put a cloned drive in the original system to test and it booted up okay.  I had to activate Windows 10  which it did without a hitch.
5. I put a second cloned drive into a second system.  It boots fine.  My Office 2016 installation is activate but Windows 10 Pro is not.  I did the Change Product Key and pasted my volume license key again.  It says

Unable to activate Windows
We can't activate Windows on this device because you don't have a valid digital license or product key.  

I click troubleshoot and it comes back stating to make sure I am connected to the internet which I am. (confirmed by launching Chrome)

Having a second volume product key I tried it.  Same messages.

Is it not possible to make a master hard drive running Windows 10 Pro and clone it?
This is the first time using an external device like the Wavlink.  Could that be the issue?

I have not used Acronis which I have in the past for Windows 7.  Maybe I'll try it even though the Wavlink cloned the entire master in less than 5 minutes and all I had to do was plug them into the device.
Watch Question
IT Manager
This problem has been solved!
Unlock 3 Answers and 8 Comments.
See Answers
Why Experts Exchange?

Experts Exchange always has the answer, or at the least points me in the correct direction! It is like having another employee that is extremely experienced.

Jim Murphy
Programmer at Smart IT Solutions

When asked, what has been your best career decision?

Deciding to stick with EE.

Mohamed Asif
Technical Department Head

Being involved with EE helped me to grow personally and professionally.

Carl Webster
CTP, Sr Infrastructure Consultant
Ask ANY Question

Connect with Certified Experts to gain insight and support on specific technology challenges including:

  • Troubleshooting
  • Research
  • Professional Opinions
Did You Know?

We've partnered with two important charities to provide clean water and computer science education to those who need it most. READ MORE