What is Product Activation?

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Product activation is the procedure by which a piece of software or operating system is proven to be legitimately installed.

From a technical perspective, product activation usually means combining a product key or serial number with unique information about a computer and sending that data to the software maker over the Internet.

Product activation helps prove that the product key or serial number being used is not pirated and that the software is being used on an appropriate number of computers...

usually, but not always, one.

Depending on the software or operating system, choosing not to activate might prevent the software from running entirely, reduce the functionality of the software, watermark any output from the program, cause regular (usually very annoying) reminders, or may not have any effect at all.

Product activation is usually just referred to as activation.

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