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Error 0x803f7001 in Windows 10 is an activation error and seems to affect both upgrades from previous versions and clean installs. It also affects anyone who changes a motherboard or hard drive once Windows 10 has been installed. It is a bit of a pain to overcome, but is unavoidable because otherwise Windows 10 won’t activate.
Licencing in Windows 10 is different than before. Where product keys used to be stored within Windows, now Microsoft uses digital entitlement. I guess it’s an effort to overcome piracy, but regardless of why, the how is a bit of a mystery. Digital entitlement presumably takes a snapshot of the MAC addresses of your hardware and builds a certificate around that. This is why any significant hardware change can throw up this error.
In Windows 10, Microsoft stores a digital entitlement certificate within the UEFI chip of your motherboard. UEFI, or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, is a programmable replacement for the old BIOS and is present on most newer motherboards. This is where your Windows 10 digital entitlement is stored.
So now we know why and where. Let’s look at how to fix the error.
Fix error 0x803f7001 in Windows 10
You have three viable fixes for error 0x803f7001. You can wait for a couple of days for the Windows Authentication Servers to catch up, you can re-enter your original product key or you can try to force reactivation.
Wait and see
I recently changed my motherboard and saw error 0x803f7001 for myself. After unsuccessfully trying to force activation I chose to wait a day or two. A couple of reboots later and Windows 10 activated itself. It seems sometimes there is just a delay in recognizing your system and updating your digital entitlement. While not the most proactive fix in the world, it does work.
Manually activate using product key
If you upgraded to Windows 10 from a previous version, you can manually add your old product key to ‘encourage’ Windows 10 to activate.
- Navigate to Settings, Update & Security and Activation.
- Select Change Product key. Enter the product key of the Windows version you upgraded to Windows 10 from.
- Reboot your computer.
If that doesn’t work, try forcing activation.
‘Force’ is probably too strong a word, but we definitely give Windows a shove in the right direction. For this to work you will need the product key of the version of Windows you upgraded from (if you upgraded). This obviously won’t work if you bought a computer with Windows 10 already installed.
- Type or paste ‘slui 4’ into the Search Windows (Cortana) box.
- Select your country and click Next.
- Call the Freephone number it gives you while staying in front of your computer.
- Use the automated system to get a Confirmation ID.
- Add the Confirmation ID into the box.
- Activate your copy of Windows 10.
In the vast majority of cases, this was enough to get rid of error 0x803f7001. If it doesn’t, you can call that Freephone number again and talk to live support who should be able to help you.