Fix Windows Activation Error 0XC004F009 (Grace Period Expired)

Some Windows users are reportedly seeing the activation error 0XC004F009 each time they attempt to insert a valid license key that was previously used on a different computer. This error code is reported to occur on both Windows 7 and Windows 10.

Windows Activation Error 0xc004f009

After we investigated this particular issue thoroughly, it turns out that there are several different underlying causes that might be responsible for the apparition of this error code. Here’s a shortlist of potential culprits that might be responsible for this issue:

  • Missing security Windows update – As it turns out, you can expect to see this error code due to the fact that your Windows installation is missing a key security update that patches an exploit allowing counterfeit or expired licenses to be activated. In this case, the issue can be resolved by installing every pending Windows update before retrying the activation process.
  • The license needs to be activated by phone – If you’re trying to activate a MAK license key, you will likely need to resort to phone activation in order to activate your license key. A lot of users that have been unable to activate the license via the activation utility have confirmed that phone activation finally allowed them to fix the issue and bypass the apparition of the error.
  • Grace period for MAK key license has expired – In case you previously purchased the MAK key from a vendor but you didn’t activate it immediately, it’s possible to see this error code because the grace period of the license key has expired. In this case, you will need to use Registry Editor to modify the value key of mediabootinstall before you’ll be able to extend the grace period of the license key so you can activate it.

Now that you are aware of every potential issue that might be causing this error code, here’s a list of methods that other affected users to successfully activate their Windows 10 installation:

1. Installing every pending Windows Update

One of the first things you should try if you’re encountering this activation issue is to update your Windows 10, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1 build to the latest version.

Keep in mind that you might expect to see the 0XC004F009 activation error due to the fact that you’re missing a key security update that Microsoft has pushed in order to patch an activation exploit.

So the reason why you might be encountering this problem is a missing security update that needs to be installed before your Windows installation will be able to accept and verify a new license key.

To ensure that you’re using the latest available Windows  version and you have every available update installed, follow the instructions below:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Then, type “ms-settings:windowsupdate” and press Enter to open up the Windows Update screen of the Settings app.
    Opening the Windows Update screen

    Note: If you’re encountering this issue on Windows 7, type ‘wuapp.exe’ instead and press Enter.

  2. Once you’re inside the Windows Update tab, click on Check for Updates, then follow the on-screen prompts to install every pending update until there are none left.
    Checking for Windows Updates

    Note: If prompted to restart your computer while they’re still some updates left to install, do so as instructed and return to this screen once the next startup is complete to complete the update installations.

  3. Once every update is installed, reboot your computer one final time and retry the activation to see if the 0XC004F009 error is fixed.

If the same problem is still occurring, move down to the next method below.

2. Activating phone activation

If you purchased the license key from a genuine retailer, you should be able to use phone activation to get your Windows version activated.

This method was confirmed to work times and times again by a lot of affected users that we’re trying to migrate a license from another machine to a new one.

If this scenario is applicable, you should be able to see a Phone Activation option inside the Activation window (in Windows settings).

To do this, press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Then, type ‘ms-settings:activation‘ for Windows 10 or ‘slui’ for an Older Windows version and press Enter to open the activation menu.

Doing a phone installation

Note: In case you don’t see a “Phone Activation” option inside the Activation window, press Windows key + R (to open a Run box), then type “SLUI 4” to bring up the phone activation menu. Finally, choose your Country and click on Phone Activation. – This workaround should work with every Windows version.

After you finally get to the phone activation screen, go ahead and call the number provided there and use the automated system as instructed.

Important: Keep in mind that you will need to provide your own installation ID (displayed inside the Phone Activation screen) and after the verification is complete, your Windows will be activated.

If this method wasn’t applicable or you’re looking for a different approach, move down to the next potential workaround below.

3. Increasing the grace period for MAK key (if applicable)

As it turns out, you can expect to see the 0xc004f009 error if you previously purchased the MAK key from a vendor but you didn’t activate it immediately. Keep in mind that MAK keys are not recycled, so the number of times and the time window you can activate the license keys of this kind is limited.

If you find yourself in this particular situation, you should be able to extend the grace period in order to be able to activate the license key by modifying the value key of mediabootinstall.

Important: Keep in mind that you can only reset the activation period up to 4 times per MAK license. If you or the previous license owner has already done this 4 times, the operation might fail and you’ll need to get a new license key.

Follow the instructions below to increase the grace period for your MAK key from an elevated CMD prompt:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Once you’re inside the text box, type ‘regedit’ and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open up Registry Editor with admin access. When you are prompted by the UAC (User Account Control), click Yes to grant admin access.
    Opening the Registry Editor
  2. Once you’re inside Registry editor, use the left-hand menu to navigate to the following location:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\OOBE\mediabootinstall

    Note: You can either navigate there manually or you can paste the location directly into the navigation bar and press Enter to get there instantly.

  3. After you arrive inside the correct location, move over to the right-hand section and double-click on the mediabootinstall value.
    Accessing the MediaBootInstall value
  4. Inside the Edit menu of MediaBootInstall, see the base to Hexadecimal, then set the value to 0 before clicking on Ok to save the changes.
  5. Close the elevated Registry Editor window, reboot your computer and wait for the next startup to complete.
  6. Once your computer boots back up, press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Inside the run box, type ‘cmd’ and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open up an elevated Command Prompt.
    Opening up an elevated CMD prompt
  7. When you’re prompted by the UAC (User Account Control), click Yes to grant admin access.
  8. Once you’re inside the elevated CMD prompt, type the following command and press Enter to add the grace period to your activation, then reboot your computer one final time:
    slmgr -rearm
  9. After your computer boots back up, repeat the activation process that was previously failing with the 0XC004F009 and see if the problem is now fixed.
Kamil Anwar
Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.

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Fix Windows Activation Error 0XC004F009 (Grace Period Expired)

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