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

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