Fixed: “Windows can’t find Microsoft Software License Terms” bug

  • The “Windows can’t find the Microsoft software license terms” error is a common error.
  • There are several possible causes for this error, and the solution may be more complicated because the computer will most likely not be able to start in Windows because it is not yet installed.
  • To fix this error and continue the installation, you can try getting a new installation image, or changing the port, or fixing the CFG file.
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I have a VMware virtual machine with Windows 11 Pro installed, activated & digitally linked to a Microsoft account (separate from the Microsoft account used by the host machine still running Windows 10 Pro). I have purchased a newly assembled computer yesterday on which I plan to install Windows 11 Pro by transferring my digital license from the VMware VM (I will deactivate & delete the VM from the Microsoft account linked devices list as soon as my new computer gets the license transferred). Is this possible? If yes, will the process be the same as the one used for transferring digital licenses (I have a retail license) between two physical machines?

Some of the system files in Windows 10 and Windows Server differ from those used for installation, startup, and other functions. There are, however, some errors that may occur when configuring your Windows 10 operating system if any of these files are corrupt. For example, you may encounter the error “Windows cannot locate Microsoft software license terms.”

Waiting For You To Review The License Terms Windows 11

Because I clicked on something just out of curiosity, it tells me I must review the license agreement.

The installation failed because Windows couldn’t locate the Microsoft software license terms. Verify that the installation sources are valid and restart the installation.”

We have a guide that shows you how to fix the Windows cannot find the Microsoft license software terms error.

A solution for Windows failing to find Microsoft Software License Terms. The useless error message “Windows couldn’t find the Microsoft Software License Terms” stopped me from installing Windows 10 on my virtual machine so that I could upgrade it to Windows 11. If the installation sources are valid, restart the installation. I was able to find a solution after fiddling around for a while.

In this situation, you have only one option: click “OK” and nothing else, which then aborts the configuration. For more information about these possible solutions, refer to the following lists, which provide information about how to fix this error and continue the installation. Getting a new installation image, changing the port, or fixing the CFG file are possible solutions for this error.

What is causing the Windows “Windows cannot locate Microsoft Software License Terms” error?

What causes the "Windows cannot find Microsoft Software License Terms" error in Windows?

Click “Load Drivers” at the bottom left of the Windows Setup window. The device driver will be listed in the “Browse” box, but no hard drive is detected. Click “Load Drivers” again to load more drivers.

Because the computer is not yet installed, it will likely not be able to start with Windows, so the solution will be more difficult. Below you will find a list of reasons that might be critical, so we recommend you take a look at them.

Defective or missing files in the installation – If the ISO file was not created correctly, some important files may be missing or corrupt, causing the installation to abort. Re-create the ISO file with the media creation tool or Rufus can fix the problem.

The disk has not been properly prepared – Any disk that you want to install Windows on must be properly prepared. Preparation includes creating a master partition, cleaning the disk, and formatting it with the NTFS file system. Be sure to follow these steps.

During the installation of Windows 10, I receive the following error message: Windows couldn’t find the Microsoft software license terms. Make sure your installation sources are valid and restart.

Dynamic Memory – If dynamic memory is enabled when installing Windows in a virtual machine, it may cause this error. It is recommended that you disable it and give it enough memory from the start.

This is to fix the problem that Windows can’t find the Microsoft license terms.

Updated: December 2023

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This is to fix the problem that Windows can't find the Microsoft license terms.

Reset BIOS

The BIOS can sometimes be the cause of Windows being unable to locate the Microsoft software license terms. Users are advised to restore the default settings in the BIOS to resolve the problem.

You can restore the default settings by following the instruction in your motherboard’s manual. To reinstall Windows, follow the instructions in your motherboard’s manual.

During installation, unplug all installation media.

According to some users, removing the installation media is the only way to fix the “Windows can’t find the Microsoft software license terms” error message.

The steps are as follows:

  1. You will then be prompted to choose your operating system by clicking “Install Now.”.
  2. The “Install Now” button should be clicked after disconnecting the installation media.
  3. Install the software as usual now.
  4. As soon as the installation media is connected, the installer will begin copying files.
  5. The installation will be completed once the installation media has been reconnected.

You can try this solution to see if it solves the problem, since many users claim that it works.

Use a different USB flashdrive

Windows may not be able to find the Microsoft software license terms if you keep getting this error message. You should try replacing the USB flash drive to resolve this issue.

Using an extra USB flash drive may work for you if you have one, but it’s not the most reliable solution.

Check your hardware

It is possible for a hardware problem on your PC to result in the message “Windows cannot locate the Microsoft software license terms” based on the user. When the hard drive was replaced, some users were able to install Windows 10 without any problems, but other users said that the problem was the hard drive.

It is possible that your processor may also be the cause, and some users have reported that a processor replacement solved the problem. You can use Windows hardware diagnostic tools to determine which hardware component is causing the problem, but it can be tricky at times.

As I install Windows Server 2016 with Intelligent Provisioning on HPE Proliant ML110 Gen9 system, Windows reports “The Microsoft Software License Terms could not be found. Make sure the installation sources are valid and restart the installation.”

A professional may be able to help you troubleshoot hardware errors if your computer is under warranty.

Diskpart can be used to clean out your hard drive

Sometimes your hard drive can have problems, which can be solved by cleaning it with Diskpart utility. If Windows cannot find Microsoft software, it may be because your hard drive cannot find Microsoft software.

Note: Using this solution will delete all files from your hard drive, so be sure to back up important files. You can also safely use this solution on a new hard drive that does not contain files.

These steps will guide you through using Diskpart:

Using the installation media, start your computer.
You can then click Repair Computer once you reach the Install Now screen.
3) Click Troubleshooting > Command Prompt in Advanced Options.
You need to run the following commands on the command line:

list volume

The driver for the drive you need can now be found on your computer’s list of drives.
It is very important to choose the right drive and make sure that you select the right drive. If you choose the wrong drive, all of your files will be deleted. If you select the wrong drive, you will lose all your files forever. Be careful and make sure you select the correct drive.
The following commands should be run once your hard drive has been located:

disk number
convert mbp
Partition 1
active site
In fast format, NTFs are used

Afterwards, restart your computer and close the command line. Reinstall Windows.
Make sure you back up important files before using Diskpart, and be very cautious when using it.

Increase the memory capacity and remove the floppy drive from the virtual computer

The settings in your virtual machine can sometimes lead to errors related to Windows not finding Microsoft licensed software. Users suggest that you remove the floppy disk drive from the virtual machine to fix the problem, so go to your hardware settings and do that.

As an additional option, some users recommend disabling the dynamic random access memory feature and instead setting the virtual machine’s random access memory to a fixed amount. It has been suggested that the virtual machine be boosted with more RAM, so try it out as well.

Create your own ei.cfg file

Creating a new ei.cfg file with the following values will solve this issue if Windows cannot be installed since the error message is relating to your ei.cfg file.

  • [channel].
  • OEM

Paste the ei.cfg file into the source folder on the installation media. Choose Yes when it asks if you want to replace the ei.cfg file.

In addition, you can open the ei.cfg file installed with the installation media and make sure it contains the same values as above. The error message should disappear once you open the ei.cfg file.

RECOMMENATION: Click here for help with Windows errors.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

The Microsoft software license terms define the legal terms under which you can use your software. On the Setup menu, select the I accept the terms of this agreement check box to activate the Next button.

  1. Reset your BIOS.
  2. Unplug the installation media during installation.
  3. Use Rufus to create installation media.
  4. Try using a different flash drive.
  5. Check your hardware.
  6. Use Diskpart to clean your hard drive.
  7. Change the virtual machine settings.

Product licenses do not expire. They are valid as long as you own the product. Software insurance benefits expire after two years. They add value to your product but are not part of it.

To resolve this issue, follow these steps to prevent your application from running in compatibility mode: Exit the Office application that caused the error. Right-click the Office application that caused the error and select Properties. If the Compatibility tab is available, click it and follow the steps below.

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Mark Ginter is a tech blogger with a passion for all things gadgets and gizmos. A self-proclaimed "geek", Mark has been blogging about technology for over 15 years. His blog,, covers a wide range of topics including new product releases, industry news, and tips and tricks for getting the most out of your devices. If you're looking for someone who can keep you up-to-date with all the latest tech news and developments, then be sure to follow him over at Microsoft.