Security Windows

How to Safely Activate Windows 10 and Avoid Scams and Malware

Mihir Patkar 20-02-2015

It’s the next big operating system and everyone can’t wait to get a piece. Microsoft recently unveiled the all-new Windows 10 Microsoft Shows Off Windows 10, HoloLens, Cortana On PC & More... [Tech News Digest] Microsoft reveals the future, with Windows 10, HoloLens, Cortana, and Spartan, BlackBerry wants app neutrality, Twitter launches While You Were Away, The Elder Scrolls Online is set free, and LittleBigPlanet does Game Of Thrones. Read More , and allowed enthusiasts to download an early Technical Preview version of the new OS.


But it is not without a few bugs, which is par for the course for an early build. The only problem is that mischievous elements are trying to exploit these bugs by tricking you into downloading harmful files on your system.

If you see a link, a video, or anything else that is asking you to activate Windows 10, don’t click on it. Security firm MalwareBytes says most of these links and purported activators are malicious.

Beware Of Geeks Bearing Gifts

Did you find a “helpful” blog post or YouTube video telling you how to activate Windows 10? Don’t click it. Run. Run like the wind.


“The videos show a nice looking activation tool complete with some buttons to press (everybody likes button pressing) and the promise of technical preview operating system unlocks galore,” says MalwareBytes. “Downloading the files and running them, however, lead us to PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program) offerings (VirusTotal 24 / 57).”


The security firm saw similar results with surveys that promise you an activated and unlocked Windows 10, as well as websites dedicated to fully unlocking Windows 10. The same goes for a “Windows 10 Gamer Edition.” Stay far, far away from all these, folks.

In case you did use one of these activation tools, download a good antivirus program Free Anti-Virus Comparison: 5 Popular Choices Go Toe-To-Toe What is the best free antivirus? This is among the most common questions we receive at MakeUseOf. People want to be protected, but they don’t want to have to pay a yearly fee or use... Read More and run it to get rid of any malware on your PC. In fact, if you are paranoid like me, it might be best to format and reinstall Windows Wondering How To Reformat Windows 8? Let Me Explain You probably want to perform a clean installation. With Windows 8, this typically doesn't involve formatting anymore. Let's find out what you can do instead. Read More . Once you’ve done this, spend a few moments thinking about where you’re getting your advice from. You’ll find a lot of scammy videos on YouTube, linking to activation key unlocks and “free downloads” of premium applications and games; these are all, of course, scams. At the very least, review the comments on these videos, but for the safest results, steer well clear of them. No one you can trust is offering downloads or serial keys via YouTube.

Windows 10 Cannot Be Unlocked, It’s Free


If you want to try out Windows 10, please do it safely. There are three easy and safe ways to install Windows 10 3 Easy Ways To Install Windows 10 Technical Preview You can try Windows 10 Technical Preview for free and help Microsoft polish its new flagship operating system. Before you install it, make sure you choose the best method for your needs. Read More on your computer, so use one of those instead of downloading an ISO from a third-party site or a torrent.


The official version of Windows 10 cannot be unlocked to a full version, so there is no question of going around looking for a way of doing this. More importantly, Windows 10 is free and works on both mobile and desktop, so there is absolutely no reason you should go around looking for a way to hack it and unlock it.

It’s free!

What To Do When You Are Prompted To Activate Windows 10

Most users can enjoy the splendours of Windows 10 Technical Preview Windows 10 In Pictures - A Guided Tour Of The Technical Preview The Windows 10 Technical Preview is now available to everyone. Some bugs aside, it does look promising. We'll guide you through the new Windows one screenshot at a time. Read More without ever encountering a prompt to activate it. However, there are certain scenarios where you will face this prompt:



Ed Bott of ZDNet encountered the prompt above. The solution isn’t to panic (when is it ever?), nor is it to search Google for ways to activate Windows 10. It’s actually far simpler. Here’s how you activate Windows 10:

  1. Go to the official Windows 10 Technical Preview download page, where you grabbed the original ISO.
  2. Scroll down to where you see “Product Key”, right before the download links.How-To-Activate-Windows-10-Activation-Unlock-Scam-product-keys
  3. Copy that product key, then click on that activation prompt or follow the steps to activate Windows 8 How to Activate Windows 8 After an Installation or Hardware Upgrade Here's a summary of activation scenarios and a step-by-step rundown of how you can (re-) activate Windows or change your product key. We also show you how to access hidden options. Read More ; Windows 10 uses the same method.

And before you go, our Windows editor Tina has one more piece of advice you should heed: The Windows 10 Technical Preview should not be your main OS Why The Windows 10 Technical Preview Should Not Be Your Main OS If you think Windows 10 is a keylogger, you know nothing about the purpose of a Technical Preview. That's OK because we're here to explain. Read More .

Have you tried to activate Windows 10? Perhaps you’ve stumbled across malware by following links from other videos on YouTube? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments box.

Related topics: Anti-Malware, Online Security, Windows 10.

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  1. Jmies
    March 16, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Get windows 10 key here:

  2. Jonathan Pelaez
    July 13, 2016 at 1:24 am

    this is a cool community where you can develop & enhance yourself to learn new things specially in computer technology. thankful to be grateful

  3. lydia20155
    May 13, 2015 at 7:41 am

    thank you! real activation, to get what you want by search @@@windows 8.1 key sale@@@ on bing.

  4. Chris
    March 25, 2015 at 11:45 am

    When it states 'free upgrade for the first year', is this for this first year after the release date or free for the first year after installation? IF it is the later, then what happens at the end of the first year in terms of costs? I am wondering if this will be licenced in the same way as Office 365 i.e. monthly and yearly subscriptions with number of seats etc.

  5. Saifur Rahman Mohsin
    February 20, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    What do you mean when you say "Windows 10 is free and cross-platform". So, Windows 10 runs on Linux? I think you meant to say device independent (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) which means it can be installed in mobile phones as well. We can find out only when it comes out!

    • Christina
      February 20, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      Eh, no. It will be a free upgrade for the first year for all windows 7 & 8 (some little loopholes apply I think, but for the vast majority this will be true) also, it you have a windows phone, any with sufficient hardware will upgrade automatically (again, as far as I am aware, this is most phones) ... Right now you can get prerelease versions on any computer capable of installing it, however, I haven't heard anyone say that Microsoft will let you keep it on things that were "upgraded" from 7 or 8 after it is officially released.

    • Eric
      February 20, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      Christina: I haven’t heard anyone say that Microsoft will let you keep it on things that were “upgraded” from 7 or 8 after it is officially released.

      MS was clear that all computers running 7 and above would be eligible for upgrade to Windows 10 if done within the first year of launching. Once upgraded, those machines will be supported with a constantly updating Windows OS for the life of the machine.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 21, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      You're right, I meant cross-device, not cross-platform (works on desktops, tablets and mobile). Sorry about that, I'll fix it :)