How To Change Windows 8 Product Key To Complete Activation

Windows 8, the official version that will be launching this October 26th, is now available for download if you are a TechNet or MSDN subscriber. Even if you are not,  you can still go ahead and download the official 90-day trial version of Windows 8. That’s long enough to cover until the official Windows 8 release.

While I was downloading and installing Windows 8, one thing I found that was missing, at least to me, was the activation dialogue. I installed the Windows 8 Enterprise Edition, and apparently the install wizard never asked me for the activation key. I suppose this might be the fact that I was installing Windows 8 Enterprise edition rather than the regular Windows 8. Usually enterprise editions are meant for volume installation and activation in corporation and large organizations.  Unfortunately, my TechNet subscription doesn’t offer Windows 8 Pro edition, so I grabbed the enterprise edition. (by the way, if you are confused between Windows 8 editions, be sure to get to know all the Windows 8 editions before purchasing your upgrade)

No activation is fine and ok for me, until I wanted to change my Start screen’s background.

Under the PC Settings > Personalize. It says “You need to activate Windows before you can personalize your PC.” So that leaves me no choice but to activate.


But …

After poking around all the possible place, I just couldn’t find a UI that allows me to change or even enter my activation key. It seems like a time for a “hack” for it.

Firstly, you need to go to the Start screen type “cmd” and right click. Make sure you choose run as “Administrator” from the bottom options.


Once the command prompt is launched with local admin privilege, run the following command to enter your activation key.




You will get a confirmation for the product key that you have entered.

Then, run the following script to activate the product key

slmgr.vbs -ato


Finally, you will get a confirmation on product activated successfully.


Now all you need to do is to restart your Windows 8.

[Update Aug 18, 2012]

There is actually a much easier way of doing the activation in Windows 8, thanks to W7H reader Daniel for pointing it out in the comment.

Just open a Command Prompt (Admin) window, and fire up the following command:

slui 3

CMD - slui command

And this window pops up, now you can put in your Windows 8 product key and go active it. This also seems to work when you have a new product key that you want to activate.

Windows 8 Activate Window

Related posts:

  1. How To Skip Product Key When Installing Windows 8
  2. How To Retrieve Windows 8 OEM Product Key From BIOS
  3. How To Open Command Prompt As Administrator Window to Any Folder in Windows 8
  4. 7 Things Must to Know Before Trying Out Windows 8 90-Day Evaluation
  5. Complete Guide How to Change Windows 8 Metro App Install Location
  • Justin

    Thanks for posting this. How strange that this is not obvious to find and fix.

    • Eric Barb

      I agree. You would that that would be one of the easier things to do. Go article though.

  • ANE

    My PC is not ready. I don’t know why, but it could not be activated. Can you help me?

  • Daniel

    1. Right click bottom left
    corner at Start, select Command Prompt (Admin)

    2. In cmd type: “slui 3″

    3. Insert product key

    • Olivier Vanbiervliet

      No need for a command prompt, just hit Win+R for the Run dialog and type “slui 3″.

    • sujeewa


    • PEBIN

      CAN u give me the activator key…

  • miguel

    Thanks a lot, it’s work for me.

  • CastlegarGlenn

    So, just to clarify for the slow guy, does this mean I can install a trial version now, buy the product key when available and then just fully activate my installation?

    • Kent Chen

      Theoretically, yes. But since we didn’t try it out on the trial version, we can’t positively say yes.

    • windows7hacker

      actually, you bought a good point. according to Microsoft ”
      The evaluation edition will expire and cannot be upgraded.
      To upgrade, the evaluation must be uninstalled and a non-evaluation version of Windows must be re-installed from your original installation media. ” To answer your question, no you can’t just buy the product key and activate your system when it releases.

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  • john febb

    hello it says 0xC0000022 on a computer running microsoft windows none – core edition, run ‘slui.exe 0x2a 0xC0000022′ to display the error text
    please help me with this one

    • Andre

      here same

    • ashish

      i also have the same problem

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  • alone

    error description : the software licensing reported that the product could not be activated. no key management service could be contacted. Help me plss. i can’t activate it.

  • HBC IT

    Thank you

  • Dirk


  • Baha Lahhamito

    it keeps telling me that the key is blocked!!! how can I get an unblocked key!!!?? please someone help me



  • Admin

    Thanks a lot…. I just installed the enterprise edition and I was able to change the production key and activate at once using the “slmgr.vbs -ipk” command…. as soon as I executed the command, the activation notice on bottom right corner disappeared, and under System it shows windows as “Activated”.

  • Jason Wong

    can someone give me the product key for window 8 pro (x86)

  • Jaspreet Chahal

    life saver! absolute gem of an article.

  • prince007

    error code 0x80072ee7

    the server name and address could not be resolved

    • almighty

      same here

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  • Ambicapathy

    looks like it worked for me…but still in desktop it says as “Evalution Copy Build 8400″. How to activate it permanently.

  • domdc1

    hi there all, im a newbie to this and need some help. I won a laptop playing poker and it has a bootleg version of win7. I wanted the real version so i purchase a legit key. I have been reading on how to install (the slui 3 does not work, keeps saying i dont have permissions) i want to try the slmgr.vbs -ipk. My question is will i lose all my applications, programs, files etc by simply changing the key ? thanks for any help

    • Sayed Ahad Abbas

      Nope, you wont loose anything. It’ll just enable you to use certain more features on your windows which might be locked until now.

  • aman0446

    hi, how can i change the “let apps use my location” in PC settings from command prompt.. or at least go to PC settings page from cmd prompt

  • Pete Day


    • Khan

      Hey, which method worked for you? I should have Internet to activate?

  • Cesar

    Thanks a lot!

  • astriemer

    This was what I needed to know slui 3 was the ticket! Thanks!

  • khurram S Malik

    this is not working anymore

  • Nisiki

    how to change enterprise evaluation to enterprise editon for activated

  • Sami Khan

    When i activate my windows after command “slui 3″ i get an error: 0x8007007b

    and says the file name, directory name or volume label syntax is incorrect…

    Kindly tell me the meaning of that…and what i should i do now…???
    I have activated my windows too before this and it says windows is activated in the computer properties from another uploader but i can not change the desktop background etc…I didnt understand what is happening with my machine…

    • Zeeshan

      I m also facing the same problem. Can someone plz help me???

  • yolo19

    Get here the Windows 8 activator

    Good luck

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  • sooraj

    not working at all it is showing the same error code after slmgr.vbs -ato


    these iz no working!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    help me

  • Rick

    Many thanks for this, I was having this very same problem. Thanks again.

  • Steve


  • David

    Or you can click Start, type Winodws Activation and click on the resultant search result. Click change product key, enter key, done. Not that hard really.

  • Fraser MacKenzie

    Worked like a charm for me. Thanks so much for posting this!

  • John

    Get you key here


    Mine says Error:0x8004F80B On a computer running Microsoft Windows non-core edition, run ‘slui.exe 0x2a 0x8004F80B’ to display the error text HELP!!!!!!!!

  • Zaw Ye’ Naing

    It’ is not working for me…plz help….i want to personalize window setting…. :’(

  • Erik Farley

    Worked very nicely using the slui 3 method. Thanks!

  • Dave

    Worked for me. Thanks man.

  • Sumit Khemka

    thank you so much for the post. I faced the same problem.

  • burra192

    This also works for Windows 2012 server. Top work.

  • Aaron


  • leebenningfield

    Ugh. Why isn’t this exposed in the System Properties control panel like it is in Windows 7?

  • dick

    yo this is 2012 stop ask people for product key go buy it stop save your fucking money ut
    try use people key

  • Amr Ashraf

    Thanks a million! you saved me.

  • Avi Nash

    can any one give product key for windows 8 activation 32bit

    • Alex

      Avi Nash the product key you need is:

      Get Real-Spend money-act like professional – get lost

      • Kreative Mart

        Alex, indians never care about real-spend money act…. they are too much in population even cockroaches come second to them. MS is now running out of license keys available for activation they only created one bn keys but they out numbered MS with 2bn (hidden talent at nights)

  • Mr_Galt

    You are the bomb. I’m a sysadmin that generally works in the Linux / Mac OS X world, and was forced to install Win 8 in a VM for troubleshooting user problems. Oh man how does one release a major OS without having a clear-cut way to activate?

    Regardless, after sifting through 500 pounds of bad/mis-information, I found this post and it worked most excellently. Cheers.

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  • Rolando Peralta

    Fantastic! It worked! thank you very much. (I opted for the “slui 3″ option)



    • andy way

      its not for enterprise evaluation

    • Gopalakrishnan

      it says no key management service is activated

  • Pat_R350

    Awesome! This worked perfectly for a volume Windows 8 Pro activation!

    1. Right click bottom left
    corner at Start, select Command Prompt (Admin)

    2. In cmd type: “slui 3″

    3. Insert product key

    How come the activation is not easy like Windows 7 ? How come Windows 8 made it more difficult to change activation keycodes ???

  • vaibhav

    sir it gives an error:0x8007007b the file name ,directory,volume label syntax is incorrect.

  • Sinister

    I work in the IT department for a major manufacturer. Just ran into this issue today updating from an Eval version of Windows 8 to an Enterprise version. I don’t undestand why Microsoft would hide something so essential as activating the copy of Windows you just bought. The slui 3 tip work perfectly. It brings up the old activation window I’m used to and allowed me to set my actual key.

    I have a few tips for some of the comments posted on this page.

    1. Open an Admin command prompt by right-clicking cmd.exe and choosing Run as Admin. Then use the slui 3 command. (There is a space between the slui and the #3)

    2. For error code 0x8004F80B due to ‘non-core’ I believe this only occurs from an upgrade install of Windows 8 and not a clean install. Try running this from a command prompt: sfc /scannow. Once completed see if you can use SLUI 3 to activate.
    3. STOP giving out bogus activation keys or asking for activation keys. If you legitimately purchased Windows 8 you will have a valid key provided with your install. Trying to take other’s activation keys or use one key on multiple systems is the same thing as pirating. (Unless you have an Enterprise multi user license which can be quite expensive) Go get a job!

    • Manikandan Surendranath

      Thanks a lot! #2 solved my issue.

  • Sanmo Gene

    Fantastic it works just so good……

  • Dhiraj Malviya

    I am a windows 8 enterprise evaluation user
    it is not activating as a full version
    help me pls.

    • Nurul Atiqah

      Hello, yeah same with me.

      Really need help.

  • Networx

    Thanks for the tip. It worked perfectly.

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  • Siddharth Saurav

    Thanks a LOT , no wait , thanks a TON :D this helped me .

  • Max

    Great help, the second option worked like a charm!

  • ThienHien Sydtriong

    THANK YOU!!! IT is great!

  • Bibsy

    Thank you so much!!

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  • Luiz Claudio

    Friend, thank you for the support. It worked perfectly.
    a big hug from Brazil.
    Luiz Claudio – Sao Caetano do Sul

  • praveen

    Hey thanks man they should put this info in help file atleast :).

  • Former Windows Fan

    Why the F is this so difficult? Am I the only one who thinks win 8 is an effin DISASTER? I am CIO of my company and I will NEVER deploy this POS.

  • john

    Dude the trick not work for non core eitions how to fix it bro…

    • XYZZ

      SAME PROB…..

  • Wayne


    Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. Or, if you are using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.
    In the search box, type Slui.exe 0×3.
    Tap or click the Slui.exe 0×3 icon.
    Type your product key in the Windows Activation window, and then click Activate.

  • Deepak Yadav


  • Prithvi Raja

    This really helped to over come my toil – thank you very much

  • joshua

    hello it says 0xC0000022 on a computer running microsoft windows none – core edition, run ‘slui.exe 0x2a 0xC0000022′ to display the error text
    please help me with this one

  • joshua

    error code: 0xc004e003
    errordescription: the software licensing sevice reported that license evaluation failed

    please help me with this one

  • Tae Wong

    Error: 0xC004F074 The Software Licensing Service reported that the computer could not be activated. No Key Management Service (KMS) could be contacted. Please see the Application Event Log for additional information.

    You have a problem with activating.

  • Tae Wong

    He has censored the product keys in the images! Yes.

  • Serialize

    Win 8 Serials:








  • Jonathan Hu

    OEM’s should have the product key somewhere on the back of the laptop or bottom of a desktop look around. You should be able to find one

  • tae123

    Product keys on images are censored!

  • Tommy

    Sweet, thanx!

  • Klee

    You save my day! Thank you.Jonathan.

  • Dilip Choudhary

    I Have windows 8 consumer preview. so i asking that it will work or not in consumer preview..

  • hatim

    what is key man

  • Biken Shrestha

    0x8007232b DNS doesn’t exist ….

  • Jan C

    you saved my day!

  • helio

    Worked fine! Thank you!



  • Mark Riffey

    Or just type “Acti” from the modern ui screen and look in the results on the right:)

  • Prakhar

    same problem with me