Activating Windows 10 remains a confusing process for consumers. Activation helps verify that your copy of Windows is genuine and hasn’t been used on more devices than the Microsoft Software License Terms allow. Depending on how you got your copy of Windows 10, activation will use either a digital entitlement or a 25-character product key. Microsoft has now provided a detailed guide on Activation in Windows 10.
Digital entitlement is a new method of activation in Windows 10 that doesn’t require you to enter a product key.
How you got Windows 10 Activation method
You upgraded to Windows 10 for free from an eligible device running a genuine copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
You bought genuine Windows 10 from the Windows Store and successfully activated Windows 10.
You bought a Windows 10 Pro upgrade from the Windows Store and successfully activated Windows 10.
You’re a Windows Insider and upgraded to the newest Windows 10 Insider Preview build on an eligible device that was running an activated previous version of Windows and Windows 10 Preview.
You bought a copy of Windows 10 from an authorized retailer.
(On a label inside the box Windows 10 came in.)
You bought a digital copy of Windows 10 from an authorized retailer.
(In the confirmation email you received after buying Windows 10 or in a digital locker accessible through the retailer’s website.)
You have a Volume Licensing agreement for Windows 10 or MSDN subscription.
(Available through the web portal for your program.)
You bought a new device running Windows 10.
(Pre–installed on your device, included with the device packaging, or included as a card or on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached to the device.)
You can find more details here.
Microsoft has also published a new help page on Windows servicing features. It describes the new servicing options available in Windows 10, and how they enable enterprises to keep their devices current with the latest feature upgrades. It also covers related topics, such as how enterprises can make better use of Windows Update, and what the new servicing options mean for support lifecycles. Find it here.