How Microsoft's Windows Subscription Activation works

Microsoft has updated the Windows subscription service, now IT administrators won't require the rather old wipe-and-image OS deployment method any more, as the Windows 10 Pro/Enterprise will automatically upgrade on-reboot.

The "Subscription Activation" requirements includes access to Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AAD), and with a subscription-based Windows 10 Enterprise license, IT assigns that license to a new device's user through ADD, or alternately, a synced-to-ADD Active Directory.

While the morphing is possible because Windows 10 Pro actually contains all the components for the Enterprise Stock-selling Unit (SKU); with proper authorization it unlocks Enterprise's features.

Albeit, IT personnel would typically take a new device, wipe the Windows 10 Pro operating system from the system, then load the corporation's customized Windows 10 Enterprise image onto the personal computer.

Then once the user logs onto the new device, Windows 10 Pro, the factory-installed OS, automatically transforms into Windows 10 Enterprise.

But with Subscription Activation, it completely eliminates the need for devices to periodically connect to a company network to validate the product activation key used, for instance, when upgrading a PC software from Pro to Enterprise.

And when a user's subscription expires or is transferred to another user, the Windows 10 Enterprise device reverts seamlessly to Windows 10 Pro edition, after a grace period of up to 90 days.

Microsoft had promised to bring Subscription Activation to customers who want to step up devices to Windows 10 Education starting next summer.

And most likely, the company will, before then, offer subscriptions to Windows 10 Education - essentially an offshoot of Windows 10 Enterprise.
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