Windows 11 Pro installed, machine has W11 Home key and won't accept a Pro key


tawnytim

New member
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OS
Windows 11
I run a computer repair and of the thousands of times I've installed Windows over the years I've not run across this.

I clean installed Windows 11 Pro onto a machine. When I input the license, it won't activate because it says there's a Windows 11 Home digital license associated with the machine. I've removed everything using slmgr.vbs and installed the key that way but with the same result.

This doesn't have to be Pro either if we can't settle this. I either need to get this key activated or downgrade to home(without having to reinstall).

Any thoughts?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
Is it an OEM key from a different computer?
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Canary Channel
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    PowerSpec B746
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-10700K
    Motherboard
    ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming 4/ax
    Memory
    16GB (8GB PC4-19200 DDR4 SDRAM x2)
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 TI
    Sound Card
    Realtek Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung SAM0A87 Samsung SAM0D32
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    NVMe WDC WDS100T2B0C-00PXH0 1TB
    Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB
    PSU
    750 Watts (62.5A)
    Case
    PowerSpec/Lian Li ATX 205
    Keyboard
    Logitech K270
    Mouse
    Logitech M185
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge and Firefox
    Antivirus
    ESET Internet Security
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Canary Channel
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    PowerSpec G156
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-8400 CPU @ 2.80GHz
    Motherboard
    AsusTeK Prime B360M-S
    Memory
    16 MB DDR 4-2666
    Monitor(s) Displays
    23" Speptre HDMI 75Hz
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 970 EVO 500GB NVMe
    Mouse
    Logitek M185
    Keyboard
    Logitek K270
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge and Edge Canary
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
Are you sure you installed pro - if bios has an embedded bios key, it will install home.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0
Are you sure you installed pro - if bios has an embedded bios key, it will install home.
Yes, we definitely installed Pro. As is the case many times, Windows didn't pick up a key from the UEFI during installation so when this happens, we normally choose Pro and sometimes it activates, sometimes it doesn't. Very peculiar behavior. I don't know why sometimes Windows doesn't pick up a key from UEFI really, but lots of times it doesn't and most times once the machine comes online and hits the activation servers, it activates. Very rarely it does not activate which makes no sense as the key is SUPPOSED to be stored in UEFI as well as on the user's MS account.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11
As is the case many times, Windows didn't pick up a key from the UEFI during installation

Very rarely it does not activate which makes no sense as the key is SUPPOSED to be stored in UEFI as well as on the user's MS account.
I think I had something like this yesterday! I have retail and it randomly wasn't recognized without running one of the activation troubleshooters!
This is unacceptable, even when I did change hardware, as I didn't change the motherboard. I didn't even change the CPU, much less the whole shebang! I only changed the SSD and RAM, due to an unexpected file corruption error from CBS. Albeit, I was going to change the SSD anyways.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro x64 23H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    Ryzen 9 5900X
    Motherboard
    ASRock B550 PG Velocita (UEFI-BIOS P3.40)
    Memory
    32 GB G.Skill F4-3200C16D-32GVR
    Graphics Card(s)
    Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6750 XT
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Alienware AW3423DWF OLED ultrawide
    Hard Drives
    Western Digital Black SN850 1 TB NVMe SSD
    PSU
    eVGA Supernova 750 G3
    Case
    Corsair 275R
    Internet Speed
    VTel FTTH 1 Gb down and 1 Gb up
  • Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    Ryzen 7 5800X3D
    Motherboard
    Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (UEFI-BIOS version 3405, which fixes " LogoFail" bug according to Asus)
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Sparkle Titan Arc A770 16 GB
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 970 Pro 512 GB NVMe SSD
    PSU
    eVGA Supernova 650 GQ
    Case
    Fractal Focus G
Did you buy the OEM license from a reliable seller?
As it's a OEM license if it has once been used on another computer it can't be used on another.
If the computer has a Home license on BIOS, it will install Home without asking to choose between Home or Pro.

Edit: Once running Home, if the Pro is a OEM key, change the license key with a generic Pro key. (Windows doesn't accept a OEM Pro key to upgrade). It will upgrade to Pro, restart but wont activate. Then change the license key with the OEM Pro. Now it will activate.

 
Last edited:

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 7 HP 64 - Windows 11 Pro - Lubuntu
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    custom build
    CPU
    i5 6600K - 800MHz to 4400MHz
    Motherboard
    GA-Z170-HD3P
    Memory
    4+4G GSkill DDR4 3000
    Graphics Card(s)
    IG - Intel 530
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 226BW
    Screen Resolution
    1680x1050
    Hard Drives
    (1) -1 SM951 – 128GB M.2 AHCI PCIe SSD drive for Win 11
    (2) -1 WD SATA 3 - 1T for Data
    (3) -1 WD SATA 3 - 1T for backup
    (4) -1 BX500 SSD - 128G for Windows 7 and Lubuntu
    PSU
    Thermaltake 450W TR2 gold
    Keyboard
    Old and good Chicony mechanical keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech mX performance - 9 buttons (had to disable some)
    Internet Speed
    500 Mb/s
    Browser
    Firefox 64
  • Operating System
    Windows 7 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Asus Q550LF
    CPU
    i7-4500U 800- 3000MHz
    Motherboard
    Asus Q550LF
    Memory
    (4+4)G DDR3 1600
    Graphics card(s)
    IG intel 4400 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    LG Display LP156WF4-SPH1
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    BX500 120G SSD for Windows and programs
    & 1T HDD for data
    Internet Speed
    350 Mb/s
    Browser
    Firefox 64
Did you buy the OEM license from a reliable seller?
As it's a OEM license if it has once been used on another computer it can't be used on another.
If the computer has a home license on BIOS, it will install Home without asking to choose between Home or Pro.
Once running Home, change the license key. It will upgrade to Pro, restart and activate.
I have a retail Pro, FYI.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro x64 23H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    Ryzen 9 5900X
    Motherboard
    ASRock B550 PG Velocita (UEFI-BIOS P3.40)
    Memory
    32 GB G.Skill F4-3200C16D-32GVR
    Graphics Card(s)
    Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6750 XT
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Alienware AW3423DWF OLED ultrawide
    Hard Drives
    Western Digital Black SN850 1 TB NVMe SSD
    PSU
    eVGA Supernova 750 G3
    Case
    Corsair 275R
    Internet Speed
    VTel FTTH 1 Gb down and 1 Gb up
  • Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    Ryzen 7 5800X3D
    Motherboard
    Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (UEFI-BIOS version 3405, which fixes " LogoFail" bug according to Asus)
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Sparkle Titan Arc A770 16 GB
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 970 Pro 512 GB NVMe SSD
    PSU
    eVGA Supernova 650 GQ
    Case
    Fractal Focus G
Yes, we definitely installed Pro. As is the case many times, Windows didn't pick up a key from the UEFI during installation so when this happens, we normally choose Pro and sometimes it activates, sometimes it doesn't. Very peculiar behavior. I don't know why sometimes Windows doesn't pick up a key from UEFI really, but lots of times it doesn't and most times once the machine comes online and hits the activation servers, it activates. Very rarely it does not activate which makes no sense as the key is SUPPOSED to be stored in UEFI as well as on the user's MS account.
Well in all my testing (of activation issues)I have never had issues like yours - please post screenshots that we can see what's happening.

" it won't activate because it says there's a Windows 11 Home digital license associated with the machine" is particularly confusing.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows
Edit: Once running Home, if the Pro is a OEM key, change the license key with a generic Pro key. (Windows doesn't accept a OEM Pro key to upgrade). It will upgrade to Pro, restart but wont activate. Then change the license key with the OEM Pro. Now it will activate.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 7 HP 64 - Windows 11 Pro - Lubuntu
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    custom build
    CPU
    i5 6600K - 800MHz to 4400MHz
    Motherboard
    GA-Z170-HD3P
    Memory
    4+4G GSkill DDR4 3000
    Graphics Card(s)
    IG - Intel 530
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 226BW
    Screen Resolution
    1680x1050
    Hard Drives
    (1) -1 SM951 – 128GB M.2 AHCI PCIe SSD drive for Win 11
    (2) -1 WD SATA 3 - 1T for Data
    (3) -1 WD SATA 3 - 1T for backup
    (4) -1 BX500 SSD - 128G for Windows 7 and Lubuntu
    PSU
    Thermaltake 450W TR2 gold
    Keyboard
    Old and good Chicony mechanical keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech mX performance - 9 buttons (had to disable some)
    Internet Speed
    500 Mb/s
    Browser
    Firefox 64
  • Operating System
    Windows 7 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Asus Q550LF
    CPU
    i7-4500U 800- 3000MHz
    Motherboard
    Asus Q550LF
    Memory
    (4+4)G DDR3 1600
    Graphics card(s)
    IG intel 4400 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    LG Display LP156WF4-SPH1
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    BX500 120G SSD for Windows and programs
    & 1T HDD for data
    Internet Speed
    350 Mb/s
    Browser
    Firefox 64
it won't activate because it says there's a Windows 11 Home digital license associated with the machine

Perhaps a screenshot of that message would be enlightening.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win7
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    i5-8400
    Motherboard
    gigabyte b365m ds3h
    Memory
    2x8gb 3200mhz
    Monitor(s) Displays
    benq gw2480
    PSU
    bequiet pure power 11 400CM
    Cooling
    cryorig m9i
  • Operating System
    win7
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    pentium g5400
    Motherboard
    gigabyte b365m ds3h
    Memory
    1x8gb 2400
    PSU
    xfx pro 450
In all my experiences of clean installs, the only way to get Pro on a device that originally had Home to start with, is to install Home first then use the Pro key to upgrade.

Clean install Home, activate, upgrade key, reboot.

Absolutely.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 22H2 (latest update ... forever anal)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Slim S01
    CPU
    Intel i5-9400
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GT730
    Sound Card
    OOBE
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Acer 32"
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    2 x 1TB SSDs
    PSU
    OOBE
    Case
    OOBE
    Cooling
    OOBE
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless
    Mouse
    Logitech wireless
    Internet Speed
    Classic Australian w.a.p.
    Browser
    Brave
    Antivirus
    KIS
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro (latest upadte ... anally always)
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavillion 15
    CPU
    i7-1165G7 @ 2.80GHz
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Xe Graphics
    Hard Drives
    Samsung NVMe 512GB
    + numerous/multiple SSD Type C USB enclosures
    Internet Speed
    NBN FTTN 50
    Browser
    Brave
    Antivirus
    KIS
It depends what is meant by a clean install. That might not necessarily mean the standard windows setup routine from booted official ms media.

e.g. a clean install could also desribe the apply method because it isnt a repair or upgrade install. Or maybe the media has something in it to ensure pro is installed.

Or maybe something else.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win7
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    i5-8400
    Motherboard
    gigabyte b365m ds3h
    Memory
    2x8gb 3200mhz
    Monitor(s) Displays
    benq gw2480
    PSU
    bequiet pure power 11 400CM
    Cooling
    cryorig m9i
  • Operating System
    win7
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    pentium g5400
    Motherboard
    gigabyte b365m ds3h
    Memory
    1x8gb 2400
    PSU
    xfx pro 450
In all my experiences of clean installs, the only way to get Pro on a device that originally had Home to start with, is to install Home first then use the Pro key to upgrade.

Clean install Home, activate, upgrade key, reboot.

Absolutely.
Absolutely not... done many of these. in VM's admittedly, without issue.

Edit:

Clean install meaning deleting the partitions in Setup when running the ISO in a VM.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows
Another snag is that an OEM product key cannot be used to upgrade Home to Pro. The first thing we need to see is a screenshot of:
slmgr /dlv

Then we can see what we are starting with.capture3.jpg

I clean installed Windows 11 Pro onto a machine.

This doesn't have to be Pro either if we can't settle this. I either need to get this key activated or downgrade to home(without having to reinstall).

Any thoughts?
Why would you not be able to do another clean install? Why would you have to downgrade Pro to Home in place?
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi)
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Education
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 7773
    CPU
    Intel i7-8550U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce MX150
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 512GB NVMe SSD
    SK Hynix 512GB SATA SSD
    Internet Speed
    Fast!
Windows didn't pick up a key from the UEFI during installation so when this happens, we normally choose Pro and sometimes it activates, sometimes it doesn't. Very peculiar behavior.
When you choose Pro in the install Setup installs it with the generic Pro key. Activation is then based on whether or not this PC has an existing digital licence stored on the Microsoft activation servers. If it already has a digital licence for Windows 10/11 Pro it activates, if not it won't.

An unactivated install of Pro should get issued a digital licence by changing the installed key to a valid Pro key for Win7, Win8/8.1, or Win10/11, provided, that is, that the key hasn't been used recently to activate another machine.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Aspire 3 A315-23
    CPU
    AMD Athlon Silver 3050U
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Radeon Graphics
    Monitor(s) Displays
    laptop screen
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768 native resolution, up to 2560x1440 with Radeon Virtual Super Resolution
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung EVO 870 SSD
    Internet Speed
    50 Mbps
    Browser
    Edge, Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    fully 'Windows 11 ready' laptop. Windows 10 C: partition migrated from my old unsupported 'main machine' then upgraded to 11. A test migration ran Insider builds for 2 months. When 11 was released on 5th October it was re-imaged back to 10 and was offered the upgrade in Windows Update on 20th October. Windows Update offered the 22H2 Feature Update on 20th September 2022. It got the 23H2 Feature Update on 4th November 2023 through Windows Update.

    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, supported device running Windows 11 Pro (and all my Hyper-V VMs).

    My SYSTEM FOUR is a 2-in-1 convertible Lenovo Yoga 11e 20DA, Celeron N2930, 8GB RAM, 256GB ssd. Unsupported device: currently running Win10 Pro, plus Win11 Pro RTM and Insider Beta as native boot vhdx.

    My SYSTEM FIVE is a Dell Latitude 3190 2-in-1, Pentium Silver N5030, 4GB RAM, 512GB NVMe ssd, supported device running Windows 11 Pro, plus the Insider Beta, Dev, and Canary builds as a native boot .vhdx.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Lattitude E4310
    CPU
    Intel® Core™ i5-520M
    Motherboard
    0T6M8G
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics card(s)
    (integrated graphics) Intel HD Graphics
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768
    Hard Drives
    500GB Crucial MX500 SSD
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    unsupported machine: Legacy bios, MBR, TPM 1.2, upgraded from W10 to W11 using W10/W11 hybrid install media workaround. In-place upgrade to 22H2 using ISO and a workaround. Feature Update to 23H2 by manually installing the Enablement Package. Also running Insider Beta, Dev, and Canary builds as a native boot .vhdx.

    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, supported device running Windows 11 Pro (and all my Hyper-V VMs).

    My SYSTEM FOUR is a 2-in-1 convertible Lenovo Yoga 11e 20DA, Celeron N2930, 8GB RAM, 256GB ssd. Unsupported device: currently running Win10 Pro, plus Win11 Pro RTM and Insider Beta as native boot vhdx.

    My SYSTEM FIVE is a Dell Latitude 3190 2-in-1, Pentium Silver N5030, 4GB RAM, 512GB NVMe ssd, supported device running Windows 11 Pro, plus the Insider Beta, Dev, and Canary builds as a native boot .vhdx.
Another snag is that an OEM product key cannot be used to upgrade Home to Pro. The first thing we need to see is a screenshot of:
slmgr /dlv

Then we can see what we are starting with.View attachment 31603


Why would you not be able to do another clean install? Why would you have to downgrade Pro to Home in place?
I am gonna have to test this (my keys are now re-enabled - don't ask - just used a Win 7 key that I know was expired and it activated - must be a year since I last used it - I will have to find a Pro OEM )
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows
Not directly relevant to the thread question, but related to activation

I just used the gatherosstate dance for win 11 on a machine that has never had win10 inflicted on it.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win7
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    i5-8400
    Motherboard
    gigabyte b365m ds3h
    Memory
    2x8gb 3200mhz
    Monitor(s) Displays
    benq gw2480
    PSU
    bequiet pure power 11 400CM
    Cooling
    cryorig m9i
  • Operating System
    win7
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    pentium g5400
    Motherboard
    gigabyte b365m ds3h
    Memory
    1x8gb 2400
    PSU
    xfx pro 450
Clean install meaning deleting the partitions in Setup when running the ISO in a VM.
Clean install meaning deleting all partitions and installation from Windows MCT boot USB or Rufus boot USB.

Never done it in VM so i suspect that might be where the installation is identifying the host machine original Home license (whether the host device is Home or Pro). I know it shouldn't, but we are talking about Microsoft/Windows .... :unsure:

EDIT
I did read somewhere, many moons ago, that installing W10/11 in a virtual environment requires a separate/different/additional license key - in the true spirit to the letter of the EULA - irrespective of the version installed on the host device. What that has to do with it, anyone's guess.

EDIT
I have said elsewhere, I have 4 retail upgrade keys Home > Pro (legit retail purchases, not $2 eBay/Amazon/etc). I am running 6 devices at home/office and all are Pro upgrades. Obviously I've doubled up somewhere, but it makes no never mind, I doubt whether MS gives a fig as long as they're legit.

ADMISSION : I have never tried the generic Pro key on clean install for a device that's previously gone from Home > Pro upgrade, maybe that's the secret?
 
Last edited:

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 22H2 (latest update ... forever anal)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Slim S01
    CPU
    Intel i5-9400
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GT730
    Sound Card
    OOBE
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Acer 32"
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    2 x 1TB SSDs
    PSU
    OOBE
    Case
    OOBE
    Cooling
    OOBE
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless
    Mouse
    Logitech wireless
    Internet Speed
    Classic Australian w.a.p.
    Browser
    Brave
    Antivirus
    KIS
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro (latest upadte ... anally always)
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavillion 15
    CPU
    i7-1165G7 @ 2.80GHz
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Xe Graphics
    Hard Drives
    Samsung NVMe 512GB
    + numerous/multiple SSD Type C USB enclosures
    Internet Speed
    NBN FTTN 50
    Browser
    Brave
    Antivirus
    KIS
Another snag is that an OEM product key cannot be used to upgrade Home to Pro. The first thing we need to see is a screenshot of:
slmgr /dlv
Correct..

I Installed Home with a Microsoft Windows 8.1 RTM Core OEM:NONSLP key and it activated
Screenshot 2022-06-17 100045.png

Changing the key to Win 8 RTM Professional OEM accepted the key but no upgrade - remained Home activated.

Changing the key to Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Retail did go the upgrade.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows
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