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.

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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.

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

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slmgr.vbs -ipk YOUR-ACTIVATION-KEY-HERE

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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

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

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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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