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A Windows 10 Cumulative Update has been causing activation issues for some users, and today Microsoft has posted a workaround of sorts for the issue.
Some Windows 10 users have been complaining of error 0xc004c003 activation failures following the installation of the January 2021 monthly “C” release KB4598291 preview update.
Users are running into the following error:
“We can’t activate Windows on this device because you don’t have a valid digital license or product key. If you think you do have a valid license or key, select Troubleshoot below. Error code 0xc004c003.”
Microsoft has acknowledged the issue saying:
“This issue might occur when you try to activate the operating system with an OEM Activation 3.0 (OA3) Digital Product Key (DPK). Error 0xC004C003 occurs when a licensing code component tries to access a registry hive without proper access. A resulting access denied error causes the product key not to be extracted correctly.”
The solution, for now, is not too complicated. Microsoft recommends not installing the update, and, if already installed, uninstall it.
KB4598291 was ironically released to fix an activation issue experienced by some Windows 10 Education devices following an upgrade to Windows 10, version 2004.