If you recently bought a used Windows computer with an older version of the operating system (Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1), you are likely to run into the infamous 0xc004f050 error. This error shows up when trying to enter the genuine Windows 10 product key via the control panel. You will see an error message “The product key you have entered didn’t work. Check the product key and try again or enter a different one.”
As you already might know, Microsoft had permitted Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 users to upgrade to Windows 10 without having to pay a penny. This step was taken in an attempt to boost the Windows 10 user base. Also, Microsoft has officially ended support, assistance, and improvements in the Windows 7 version.
On January 14, 2020, the company made it clear that it would be better for the Windows 7 users to upgrade to the newer version. Naturally, a lot of users attempted to upgrade to Windows 10 and found themselves struggling to finish the otherwise simple process. Whatever the reason might be, to help you solve the 0xc004f050 error, I have shared a few tried and tested solutions.
Here Are Some Easy-To-Follow Ways to Get Rid of Error 0xc004f050 in Windows 10
1) Using the Windows 10 Troubleshooter
Microsoft regularly releases bug fixes and patches that can be downloaded via Windows updates. Since you have the newest version of Windows 10, you should have all the files updated on your machine.
However, if you are trying to activate the Windows 10 version a few days after downloading it, I would suggest running the troubleshooter once. Often, Windows troubleshooters can solve few of the biggest problems with a click of a button.
Follow the steps below to run the Windows 10 troubleshooting tool.
Open the Windows Settings by typing the keyword in the search box located at the bottom left corner of the screen. Or simply click on the Windows icon also located at the bottom left corner of the screen, click on the gear icon, and then select Settings from the dropdown list.
Scroll below and click on Update & Security. Refer to the above image for assistance.
Since you have already encountered the error 0xc004f050 while changing the product key, this time skip and click on the troubleshooting option instead, I have highlighted the option with the red box in the above image.
The troubleshooting will take a few seconds to load. If the error is easily fixable, the troubleshooter will identify it and present an option for you to solve the issue then and there. Next, follow the on-screen directions to fix the activation error.
Once the troubleshooting process is done, go back to the Activation tab and enter the product key again.
2) Reinstall the Previous Version of Windows (Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1)
To upgrade from an older version of the Windows operating system to Windows 10, you don’t need to perform a custom or fresh installation. When you perform a fresh installation, Windows deletes all the files, settings, and programs from the hard disk. Hence, the Windows 10 that you just installed did not find the information it needs to prove that you are a genuine user.
On the other hand, by opting for an Upgrade, you get to keep the essential files, settings, and programs needed by the new Windows 10 version. So, what should be the first course of action for someone who has made the mistake of installing a fresh version of Windows 10?
Find the Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 CD. Begin the installation process on your computer. After accepting the terms and conditions on the Windows license, select Upgrade (and not Custom). For reference, I have shared the screenshot above.
Once you are done installing Windows 10, now you can open Settings→ Update & Security→ Activation→ Change product key. Enter the product key mentioned on the CD. Select OK.
3. Purchase a New Windows 10 Licence
If you are unable to reinstall the older version of Windows back on your machine for some reason, you may have to invest in a new license altogether. Indeed, Microsoft does not charge you to upgrade from an older version of Windows to Windows 10, but instead of using the machine without updating the key, it is far better to spend some money.
Also, do not use the cracked version if you are planning to connect the device with the internet. Microsoft has ways to track your device– most probably they will disable the operating system entirely, leaving you with no other option than to buy a new license. Also, think about the data loss. Also, by purchasing a new license, you no longer have to worry about preserving the older CD key.
4) Install Both Operating Systems on Separate Drives
Sometimes despite following Microsoft’s guidelines on how to upgrade and activate Windows 10, the activation error 0xc004f050 seems to persist. This is where you have to get creative by installing both versions on separate drives. Although, you will have to dedicate another drive for the older version (at least for the time being). You can format this drive once Windows 10 has finished installation.
Follow the steps below to format an existing drive.
The first step is to partition the hard drive. Create a temporary drive by partitioning one of the existing ones. Plan to allocate at least 20 GB memory.
Open Computer Management by clicking the Windows icon located on the bottom left corner of the screen. Next Control Panel→ System and Security→ Administrative Tools. Here you will have an option for Computer Management.
A new window will appear. In the left pane, under the Storage section, find and click on Disk Management.
Head to the volume that you wish to format and right-click on it.
Allocate memory and then select Format—Press Windows icon+D. You will have a new partition created here.
Follow the steps below to create a new partition from scratch.
Open Computer Management by clicking the Windows icon located on the bottom left corner of the screen. Next Control Panel→ System and Security→ Administrative Tools. Click on Computer Management.
In the left pane, under the Storage section, find and click on the Disk Management section, find and click on Disk Management.
In the New Simple Volume section, enter the memory (in megabytes) you wish to allocate to the new drive.
Next, in the Format Partition dialog box, select Do not format this volume as you have just created this partition, and there is no data to delete. Plus, the default format of the drive is suitable for the operating system files.
Now that you have created space for an older version of Windows install it here. Next, activate the program with the activation key.
Further, you can download the Windows 10 setup ISO file from the official website. Load it in a flash drive. Install it in the C drive of your machine. Here, you will have to format the unactivated Windows 10 that you installed before. Do not forget to select “fresh install.”
That’s it! You have upgraded your computer to Windows 10 and also activated it without entering the key. You can format the newly created drive as it is no more needed.
5) Check If You Have Recently Upgraded a Hardware Part
In case you are using an assembled desktop computer, a recent hardware change may be causing the error 0xc004f050. If you do find a new hardware component in the CPU, you should install the older version of the Windows again (in a new drive). Install Windows 10 in the C drive. After activation of the latest version of Windows, the error is expected to get fixed.
The occurrence of an unexpected error may seem annoying initially, but by using the easy-to-follow troubleshooting techniques mentioned in this post, you can quickly get rid of it. If you are still unable to solve the issue, let me know in the comments below.