How to Activate Windows 10 with Telephone

UPDATE MAY, 2020. PLEASE NOTE: The instructions below are out of date and no longer appear to be working. See Microsoft’s Windows 10 Activation page. Telephone activation should not be needed for Windows 10 anymore. If you purchased a product key and it’s not activating via the normal methods, there is a real possibility you were sold an invalid license. Return the license to the vendor for a refund if it will not activate, and always purchase Windows 10 either from Microsoft directly, or from a known and reputable vendor.

Please check the official retail pricing for Windows 10. If the price you are being offered is significantly less than this price, you are almost certainly being offered an invalid / illegal license.


If you get an error when attempting to activate your Windows 10 license on the Internet, and you know the license is good and from a legitimate source, there is a way to activate your license using the telephone system instead.

It is important to first attempt Internet activation. Firstly, Internet activation works most of the time, so it’s always worth a try. Secondly, attempting Internet activation stores the product key in Windows which you are trying to activate.  In my tests, telephone activation won’t work properly unless the product key is in there. So always try Internet first.

Once you have done so…

  1. Press the Win+R keys to open Run, then type:  SLUI 4, then click on OK.
    Note that there is a space between SLUI and 4.
  2. Select your country or region, then click Next.
  3. Call the provided phone number to reach the Microsoft Product Activation Center.  You will first be walked through an automated menu where you must answer a few questions about what product you are trying to activate (Windows 10), whether you have previously activated it (No), and whether you have a product key (Yes).
  4. The automated system will now describe the Internet Activation process to you.  You already know this information, but simply wait for it to complete.  At the end, the system will ask you if you still need assistance. Tell it “Yes”, and then you will be taken to a human operator.
  5. The human operator will ask confirmation of what product you are trying to activate (Windows 10), and then they will ask you if you have an Installation ID (Yes – it’s on the same screen as the phone number you called).
  6. The human operator will then ask you to read them that number. I’ve found you can read it to them relatively quickly and they keep up just fine; and if you speak clearly, you usually only have to read it once.
  7. The human operator will then turn you back over to the automated telephone system, which after a few brief instructions will read your Confirmation ID to you.  So once the human operator hands the call back to the automated system, click “Enter Confirmation ID” and type in the numbers when they are read to you.
  8. Once you have entered the Confirmation ID, you can click Activate Windows and if your product key is valid and the numbers have been typed in correctly, you should be all set.

17 Comments

  • karen steele 08.02.2018 at 5:32 am

    To get help from Microsoft is like asking for the moon to be delivered on a plate. I have tried everywhich way to get some help, but all the contacts ask you to do something in order to be helped and I don’t know how to do that something. I’m stuck without my Outlook email and Im really fed up with the lack of person to person support that is available. Get your act together Microsoft and help those people that are not computer wizards.

  • Jauseff 09.07.2018 at 9:33 pm

    It says can’t activate windows by phone. Contact your system administrator for more info. That is what it says when I try to run slui 4

  • Joglopark.com 07.03.2019 at 3:47 pm

    Appreciating the time and energy you put into your website and in depth information you provide.

    It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed
    material. Fantastic read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  • Manshell 07.31.2019 at 9:13 am

    Does this work on Windows Server 2016?

  • Mike 08.03.2019 at 8:34 am

    BOOM! Cheap price and SOOOO easy to do. It was almost exactly as described above.

    Thanks!

  • Elated Borg 08.03.2019 at 9:15 am

    thanks but this method is not working anymore on the newer Version 1903 of Windows 10 🙁

  • Steve 11.26.2019 at 4:31 pm

    Yes, I tested this on version 1803, 1809 and 1903 today and neither “run” or command prompt acknowledged slui 4. All responded with the newer activation module on slui 3 or just slui. But I see nothing in this newer module to get you to a phone activation screen. They want you to use a Microsoft account now to do activation if regular activation is not working. Not sure how that works…haven’t gone there yet.

  • Mahesh 12.06.2019 at 9:05 am

    Thanks for the information. Been facing this issue recently.. But, how to get help in windows 10 directly ? I only know one way, that If we press F1 key in windows, it will automatically request assistance from Microsoft Technical Support. Any other best method you know? Please

  • Chuck 12.10.2019 at 1:04 am

    Works as stated!!

  • Bret 01.19.2020 at 9:28 pm

    Hey I just wanted to go out of my way to tell you how grateful I am for this article! I just got off the phone with Microsoft and after exchanging like 500 numbers the guy on the other end got my Windows activated. I thought for sure I was screwed lol.

  • Stathi 01.23.2020 at 7:17 pm

    F1 does nothing. Maybe my keyboard is broken.

  • spooky 04.03.2020 at 9:49 am

    try typing SLUI.EXE 03 then re enter your serial and press activate,
    this worked perfectly for me as slui.exe 04 did nothing atall.
    hope this helps

  • notCho 05.10.2020 at 4:30 am

    take down the article. Helps no one and frustrates frustrated people who aren’t slack devs running old versions

    • Phil Rice 05.13.2020 at 3:51 pm

      You’re not wrong, notCho. Thanks for your comment. Rather than take it down, I’ve updated the article to notify people it’s out of date, and provide some guidance on getting a proper license which will activate the normal way. Thanks again.

  • Shane 05.19.2020 at 8:30 pm

    I just went through this process today and it worked exactly as the article describes activating Windows 10 Pro. No drama.

  • Tony Arbeuil 07.15.2020 at 1:04 am

    I had drama. I turned so many somersaults I’m not even sure I finally got to a MS guy in Bellvue, WA to give me a callback. I answered questions but am pretty sure none of them were about the installation id OR my product key. He copied 8 numeric groups of 6 nos. ea to me which I entered & hit a Confirm button and that worked. Not a pretty or straightforward process but THINK you DO need to have a MS ID to get to phone activation.

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