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Yes, Windows 10 is automatically downgrading user licenses

Microsoft is in a strange place at the moment. Its Bing search engine has been churning out racist ads for certain innocuous search terms and it recently released an update to Windows 10 that started deleting user’s files and folders. After originally being pulled, the Windows 10 October 2018 Update has just started rolling out again, but another problem has been striking Windows 10 and Microsoft.

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Windows 10 users are being told their official copies of the OS are illegitimate and Pro users are having their licenses downgraded

The latest in a long line of issues hitting the software giant comes from a warning that has been showing up on many Windows 10 users’ desktops when they log into the OS. Affected users are told that their copy of Windows 10 hasn’t been properly activated and, as such, is not officially licensed for use. It is still possible to use Windows 10 in this state but users face a barrage of messages telling them their software isn’t licensed and a permanent watermark reminding them so.

“Error: you are running Windows 10 Pro, but you have valid digital license for Windows 10 Home,”

For Windows 10 Pro users, the issue has been causing more serious problems as it actually affects functionality. The flaw is downgrading Windows Pro users to a Windows 10 Home license. Pro users often use their Windows 10 PCs across their business networks. The lack of Pro features including Remote Desktop, Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer, the Azure Active Directory, and the Windows Store for Business can come as a real blow to business and enterprise users of Windows 10.

The problem seems to come from Microsoft’s anti-piracy program, which, for some reason, has stopped working properly. According to reports on social media, it is targeting ex-members of the Windows Insider Program, which tests new features from upcoming updates, and people upgraded to Windows 10 Pro licenses from Windows 8 Pro.

Relevant threads relating to the issue have been set up on the Microsoft support threads and Microsoft has issued a response to the issue. “A limited number of customers experienced an activation issue that our engineers have now addressed… Affected customers will see resolution over the next 24 hours as the solution is applied automatically. In the meantime, they can continue to use Windows 10 Pro as usual.”

The issue seems to have caught Microsoft’s attention and support is on the way. If, however, you’ve fallen victim to this bug and you’re yet to see a resolution there is action you can take yourself. A number of users have suggested that the Windows 10 Activation Troubleshooter can help you restore your true and proper license for Windows 10.

Even if things are heading back to normal on this issue, it underlines the fact that something is not quite right at Microsoft and with Windows 10 in particular. It begs the question, what the hell is going on over there?

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