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What is the difference between a "Product Key" and an "Activation Code"?

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Product keys are required during the installation process. They are unique only to the product, not to the user. Product keys may be used repeatedly. (Generally, older products such as Visual Studio 6 and Windows 2000 use product keys.) Activation codes may be required during installation. They are unique to the product and to the user. Products using activation codes require the user to "activate" the product within 30 days or less. These products will not work after the time period, unless the product is activated. An activation key may be used only a limited number of times (typically two-to-three times). Thereafter, you must acquire a new activation key or call Microsoft technical support to request additional activations. (Eligible system users can contact the MSDNAA administrator for "Additional Downloads" (you need to download the product again) or "Additional Activation Keys" (you need a new, unique key for a new installation). Most Information Technology students will use 3- ... more
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Product keys are required during the installation process. They are unique only to the product, not to the user. Product keys may be used repeatedly. Activation codes are also required during installation. They are unique to the product and to the user. Products using activation codes require the user to "activate" the product within 30 days or less. These products will not work after the time period, unless the product is activated. An activation key may be used only a limited number of times (typically two or three times). Thereafter you must call Microsoft technical support to request additional activations. more
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