Replacing a Faulty Motherboard and Windows 10 Activation (Error code: 0xC004C003)

This blog post is about when I replaced a faulty motherboard and how I dealt with a Windows 10 error and product key activation.

Note: If you’re in a similar position, I’m not informing you that you will have the same experience/result as me. This is just a blog post sharing my recent experience.

What happened
I killed the motherboard in my HP Compaq dx7500 computer! It was a simple mistake, but eventually I gave up trying to fix the motherboard and ordered a replacement. I ordered exactly the same motherboard model. When the motherboard arrived I installed it, but I decided to use same hard drive and didn’t perform a clean install of Windows 10.

Note: I had previously upgraded for free from Windows 7 to 10, but I hadn’t signed into an administrator account on the PC with a Microsoft account. I don’t know that if I had used a Microsoft account, whether the situation and result would have been different. I don’t have that experience or knowledge.

When I booted up the computer it found the USB keyboard and mouse. I decided to find the Windows activation status, by clicking on the magnifying glass, typing activation and selecting the best match.

Find Activation Details

When I looked at the activation details I saw this:

Error code 0xC004C003

We can’t activate Windows on this device because you don’t have a valid digital license or product key. If you think you have do have a valid license or key, select Troubleshoot below. Error code: 0xC004C003

For a short while I was concerned that I might have to buy a new license. However, I didn’t select troubleshoot, but I was able to activate Windows 10 Pro 64-bit with exactly the same Windows 7 product key I had used before the motherboard died.

The steps I took

  1. I clicked ‘Change product key’.
  2. Entered the same product key I had previously used (with the original motherboard).Enter a product key
  3. I clicked ‘Activate’.Activate Windows
  4. I saw the message ‘Windows is activated’ and clicked on ‘Close’.Windows is activated

Now my Windows 10 Pro 64-bit is again activated.


I am glad I was able to re-activate the free Windows 10 upgrade with a replacement motherboard. I hadn’t changed anything else in the computer, and used the same CPU as before.

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