Fix: Windows Can’t Activate Try Again Later

Switching from one operating system to another is always a process which requires a certain amount of dedication and that is why a lot of people postpone it to the last minute. They are unable to cope with the fact that they might lose their personal files and applications so they need to back everything up, etc.

Additionally, a lot of people received their version of Windows preinstalled on their computers and they didn’t have to go install it themselves nor did they have to pay extra money since the price of the OS was calculated into the price of the PC. Even folks who update their OS sometimes struggle with errors such as the one below.

“Windows can’t activate. Try again later.”

There are a lot of different reasons why similar messages appear but each different cause of the issue is something else depending on the error code beside it.

For example, this particular error code we are dealing with is caused by a faulty Internet connection or there is something blocking Windows from updating such as an antivirus or a firewall. There are several solutions to this problem so check them out below.

Solution 1: Troubleshooting Your Internet Connection

First of all, you might want to try and disable your antivirus software during this process as it may interfere with Windows Activation. Also, disable Windows Defender and Windows Firewall.

  1. In order to disable Windows Defender, the easiest thing you can do is use a registry DWORD since there is no “Disable” option available when you open it.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender and create a DWORD key and name it DisableAntiSpyware.
  3. Set its value to 1 to turn it off.
  4. When you are finished with Windows Activation, return to this key and set its value to 0.

Disabling Windows Firewall is rather easy and it does not require editing registry or using Command Prompt.

  1. Open Control Panel and set the view to Icons.
  2. Locate the Windows Firewall option and click on it.
  3. As soon as it opens, you should be able to see the “Turn Windows Firewall on or off” option on the left pane with the admin shield icon next to it.
  4. Click on it and set the radio button to “Turn off Windows Firewall (not recommended)” for both the private and public network settings.

Disabling your antivirus software generally varies from one antivirus to another but it should be fairly easy.

The next step you need to undertake is to troubleshoot you network after you have disabled these protections.

  1. Open Control Panel and set the view to Icons.
  2. Locate the Network and Sharing Center option and click on it.
  3. You should be able to see the Troubleshoot problems options.
  4. Click on it and follow the instructions on screen. The troubleshooter is automatic and it should handle any issues by itself.

There are also some Command Prompt commands which can help you fix some of your Internet connection problems by updating your IP address which can prove to solve some of your connection problems.

  1. Search for Command Prompt and run it as an administrator.
  2. Type in the following commands one after another and wait for them to finish with their processes:

ipconfig /release

ipconfig /renew

Try activating Windows now.

Solution 2: Activating Windows by Phone

This is a new feature of Windows and it enables you to activate your copy of Windows via a free phone call. The process is relatively simple and it includes following instructions on screen. There are some things you can do to make the process easier and error-free before you start.

  1. Search for “Command Prompt”, right-click on it, and select Run as administrator.
  2. Copy or type the following command and click yes if a dialog box appears asking are you sure:

net stop sppsvc

  1. Type the following commands in this particular order and wait until each command finishes doing its thing. The process shouldn’t take a long time at all.

cd %windir% \ServiceProfiles\NetworkService\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SoftwareProtectionPlatform

rename tokens.dat

cd %windir%\system32

net start sppsvc

  1. Exit Command Prompt and type “SLUI 04” without the quotation marks in your Search bar and click on the only result.
  2. A screen should appear asking for your country. Select your real location because of the phone number.
  3. Choose the Activate Windows by phone option and call the number which appears on the screen.
  4. Don’t press anything and wait for someone to help you out.
  5. You will be asked to provide the numbers listed under Step 2 on your screen.
  6. Do it and you will receive the confirmation ID from the support person and you will need to read them back in order to eliminate any confusion.
  7. After, typing in all the numbers, click Activate.
  8. In order to check whether you activated Windows successfully, type “slui.exe” in the Run dialog box.


(these fixes were listed for Windows 8 and 8.1 but they also apply to Windows 10)


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.