Recently, we had to buy 6 copies of Windows 10 Pro to update some Windows 7 computers to comply with Cyber Essentials.
When we did this, we carefully looked for the cheapest copies we could find without buying volume licenses.
However, the ones we found, although they were not advertised as volume licenses, were in fact volume licenses. We found out after buying 6 of them and installing them.
Everything worked fine for a while.
Next, 6 different Windows 10 Pro computers that we failed to update. They give error codes 0x8007007b and 0x80240017, indicating that they were looking for a KMS (key management server). These are OEM copies of Windows 10 Pro that come with the computers on which they are installed.
I tried to remove the product key (
slmgr /upk) and rearmament (
slmgr /rearm), then installing the updates in the "awaiting activation" state, but when Windows has restarted to perform the installation, it must have somehow reinstalled the product key and reactivate because it was activated at the end of startup and gave exactly the same error.
We have since purchased 5 and installed 4 authentic Windows 10 Pro licenses on volume licenses (
slmgr /ipk xxxxxxx;
slmgr /ato), but even if it did ease my conscience a little, it didn't change the update problem we have. Anyway, I hope to replace the 6 licenses. However, I also have to fix the problem!
During initial installation, Windows volume license editions identified as channel "VOLUME_MAK". After a while, they identified themselves as a "RETAIL" channel. After installing a new license, they identify themselves as the expected channel. This information was taken from the output of
slmgr /dli, and that's also how I found out that these were volume licenses.
Despite Windows update errors, none of the computers – OEM or volume licensed – has ever reported that they believed they had hacked copies of Windows; they all signal that they are constantly activated, whether they update themselves or not.