Ask Paul: What Are the Windows 10 Device Limits?

Posted on July 31, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0

Ask Paul: What Are the Windows 10 Device Limits?

With Windows 10, Microsoft is instituting various devices limits that determine where you can use apps, games, subscription music and purchased or rented TV shows and movies. The limits are different for each content type, and the rules have changed a bit—in one case dramatically—since Windows 8.1.

This post came out of a question posed by Ernie S., who asked:

I upgraded both my desktop and my laptop to Windows 10 yesterday without any issues.  I have valid Product keys for each device. But I just received this email:

“It looks like you’ve reached your device limit for installing apps and games from the Store on your Windows 10 device. If you want to install apps and games from the Store on another Windows 10 device, remove a device from the device list.”

What is Microsoft talking about?

With Windows 10 and its universal app platform—where the same app can run across PCs, phones, and, someday, other devices—Microsoft is instituting a new device limit on apps and games purchases. In Windows 8.1 this limit was, humorously, 81. (Get it? Windows 8.1. 81.) But in Windows 10, the new limit is … 10. (Same joke. Let’s move on.)

So why the massive reduction in devices? Because of the universal app platform: with Windows 10, it was unlikely that anyone would ever have more than a few Windows 8.1-based PCs, so there were no worries about theft or other abuses. But with Windows 10, the goal is for this system to run on many device types. So it’s reasonable that many users might have a Windows 10 PC, tablet, phone and maybe even other devices. And to protect the content makers—in this case app and game developers—Microsoft is instituting a limit that actually makes sense.

A device—which today can be a Windows 10 PC, tablet or phone—is added to your list the first time you install an app or game on that device. Fortunately, you can remove a device at any time by using the Microsoft account web site.


So you can use that to free up a slot if needed.

Apps and games aren’t the only content item that has limits in Windows 10. If you use Groove Music (formerly Xbox Music) with a Groove Music Pass (formerly Xbox Music Pass) subscription, there is a device limit there, too. This time, it’s four devices, and again you can manage those devices from the Microsoft account web site.


Unfortunately, you can only remove one device every 30 days—this was true in Xbox Music Pass days, too—so you will want to keep any eye on this.

Finally, there is a separate tally for the devices you have registered for Movies & TV (formerly Xbox Video). As with music, you can only register four devices and you can only remove a device once every 30 days. A device is registered for Movies & TV when you download content from the Store.


Tagged with