Windows 10 Pro Systems Accidentally Downgraded into Windows 10 Home

Anyone who has bought a pro version of any software, whether it’s a utility, cloud service, or Windows 10, recognizes the decision-making that goes into it, as you weigh the pros and cons of whether it’s worth it or not to pay all that money.

And certainly, after you go to the extent to make that decision and decide it’s worth it to pay that extra money for a pro version, it would be frustrating to have it rendered useless, requiring you to have to pay again.

Yet, that’s what’s happening to Windows 10 Pro users. After spending that money for that license, Microsoft has warned that activation servers have started accidentally downgrading systems. The $199 system suddenly becomes a $119 system.

Insider Build 18277 and Others

Insider build 18277, a preview of next year’s Windows, just appeared this week and has many enticing features. These include the ability to prevent notifications from interrupting apps in fullscreen mode, resolution improvements, and the ability to manage camera and mic settings in Application Guard for Edge.


But it also contains a surprise that isn’t so nice. It relegates a user’s expensive Windows 10 upgrade useless. While it was first discovered by those trying preview code, it soon became apparent that it is happening to those users in general who had upgraded to this preview build from a previous version.

“After updating to Insider Build 18277 my Windows 10 digital license became invalid. I don’t understand! … No hardware changes, nothing has changed. I don’t know what to do,” tweeted an affected user.

Another user tweeted, “One of our three-year-old Lenovo Yogas just decided to throw 0xC004C003 Windows activation error. Windows diagnostic tool says this machine has Windows 10 Home license.”

Yet, others are reporting it happening on fresh installs from different Windows Pro versions.

“Same issue on Dell computers 10 Pro 1803 that we just bought. Need to deploy to clients, but they won’t activate,” complained a Reddit user.

Microsoft’s Response

Microsoft responded to this issue on its official “Answers” page. They are referring to it as a “temporary issue” with their activation server but are not providing any other details. Users who have called in to the company’s call centers are being told to just wait for a fix.


What many are having a particular difficult time with is that this is the fourth time an issue has popped up this year. Windows 10 updates pushed PCs with AMD hardware into an “unbootable state,” caused the Blue Screen of Death, and permanently deleted personal files.

Some are suggesting that Microsoft has a “software quality problem.” That certainly seem to be the case. If it was only relegated to the preview build, all this could be understandable, but it’s also happening to older versions.


This issue just isn’t okay, especially when you are eliminating expensive pro upgrades. Hopefully, with this being widely publicized, it will do more than just tell users to wait for a fix.

Has this happened to your Windows 10 machine? How are you deciding to fix this problem of Windows 10 being downgraded? Let us know in the comments below.

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

One comment

  1. Once again something stupid has happened with Microsoft’s forced updates. After all that has happened with this, it would seem they would get the hint by now.
    This happened to me, but mine was a little different, after the update, a message popped up on my desktop saying that my copy of Windows 10 was not registered or not a valid copy. This really threw me for a loop because I had never seen this before. I went to the systems panel to check if my computer was activated, and it said it was not. I clicked on the Microsoft Software License Terms, and it went away.
    Thanks for the article, at least now I know what happened.

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