Windows 8.1: The OEM or Retail License and Product Activation

I start with a brief introduction into Window licensing and have put together my recommended mechanisms for downloading Windows installation media and activating your product depending on your license type.

There are some more in depth notes which explain in more detail how to determine your license type and explain how the activation mechanisms and if necessary workarounds work.

For all intents and purposes Windows 8.0 Service Pack 1 is Windows 8.1 so anything mentioned below that applies to Windows 8.1 also applies to Windows 8.0 unless specifically differentiated.

The older revision of this page got extremely popular due to previous issues where I compiled a working convoluted set of workarounds that are no longer necessary, Microsoft have simplified their Windows Deployment and hence made installation of Windows 8.1 far easier.


Brief Introduction – Windows Licensing

Microsoft Windows 8.1 is sold via many different channels and there are a number of different activation mechanisms for Windows 8.1 depending on the type of license you are utilising.

There are 5 different license types:

In Depth – Windows Licensing

Major OEM License

The Windows 8.1 OEM license should be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 for a promotional period of 1 year after its final release.

Because no installation media is provided for Windows 8.1 RT (a crippled version of Windows 8.1 essentially equivalent in functionality to Windows Phone) and Windows 8.1 with Bing or Windows 8.1 SL with Bing. I do not recommend purchase of any of these devices.

The Microsoft Windows 8.1 OEM licenses uses OEM 3.0 system locked preinstallation keys for activation. OEM 3.0 SLP activation inputs a unique 25 digit product key into the systems UEFI BIOS and hence has no need for a COA which have been removed due to piracy issues and due to the multiple problems users had when they peeled off or faded.

This part mainly concerns OEM product keys as there are more Editions and the product key (SLP key) resides in the UEFI BIOS. Many that will advise you on Windows installation on Microsoft Answers will say the choice is very easy and that there are only two "Editions" to choose from in accordance to your sticker and are wrong… there are actually 8 OEM editions users have made me aware of…

Unfortunately there is no way for the user to distinguish between some of these Editions and it should be stressed that are not interchangeable:

Windows 8.1 (Core/Home) ≠ Windows 8.1 N (Core/Home) ≠ Windows 8.1 SL (Core/Home) ≠ Windows 8.1 with Bing  ≠ Windows 8.1 with Bing SL ≠ Windows 8.1 Professional ≠ Windows 8.1 Professional N

Home Editions

If you have this sticker which says "Windows 8" you likely have one of the following three editions:


  • Windows 8.1 Most Common
  • Windows 8.1 Single Language Common
  • Windows 8.1 N Rare

In the vast majority of cases the "Home Edition" is "Windows 8.1" or "Windows 8.1 Single Language". If your system has this sticker try downloading these two .isos and if one of the .isos takes you to the license agreement during installation you have the correct "Edition".

The "N" Editions are rare so try these only if the regular .isos don't work.

Home with Bing Editions

I had a look at a few shops BestBuy, PC World, Staples in the US, CA and in the UK. I checked the sticker at the base of the system and compared this with the Edition in system properties. I was looking in particular for a difference in the with Bing systems. Although all the systems have a sticker which just says "Windows 8" similar to the other 3 Editions which the Media Creation Tool Supports it was a different sticker.

If you have this sticker which looks like the following you likely have one of the with Bing Editions which are unfortunately not supported by the Microsoft Windows 8.1 Media Creation Tool:


  • Windows 8.1 with Bing Most Common
  • Windows 8.1 Single Language with Bing Common

Pro Editions 

If you have this sticker you likely have one of the following 2 editions:


  • Windows 8.1 Pro Most Common
  • Windows 8.1 ProN Rare

In the vast majority of cases the "Professional Edition" is "Windows 8.1 Pro". If your system has this sticker try downloading this .iso and if the .iso takes you to the license agreement during installation you have the correct "Edition".

The "N" Editions are rare so try these only if the regular .isos don't work.

RT Edition

If you have this sticker you have Windows RT:


A Windows RT device has hardware in particular a processor that is non-Intel/AMD using instead Arm processors. These devices were made to compete with Chrome Books as budget devices and prolonged battery life.

However in reality Arm processors do not scratch the potential of Intel/AMD processors because of the magnitude of third party applications written using either the Intel x86 or AMD x64 architectures (Intel and AMD have an agreement – Intel use AMD x64 and AMD use Intel x86).

These means the overwhelming majority of third party applications will run fine on Windows 8 but not on Windows RT. This gives Windows RT essentially the capabilities of Windows Phone…

This Edition was terribly marketed and sold often by shops as Windows 8. As a consequence of being sold and marketed as a broken variant of Windows 8 with the end user seeing it as a device with Windows 8 but with nothing working, Windows RT was highly unpopular. In turn as it was unpopular, developers never felt the urge to write programs which would run on Windows RT therefore making it redundant.

Windows RT is unfortunately unsupported by the Windows 8.1 Media Creation Tool and you have to procure installation media from Dell.

Determining Edition from System

If your system is working you can determine your Windows Edition and the easiest way of determining what edition your product key is for is by right clicking the start button (or pressing [Windows] and [x]) and then selecting system:


Your Windows 8.1 Edition will be listed at the top.


Determining your UEFI OEM SLP Product Key

The product key can be obtained using RWEverything but this is unecessary if the correct installation .iso is utilised from the Windows 8.1 Media Creation utility:

To find out the OEM BIOS Embedded System locked Product Key select ACPI Tables and the MSDM tab, copy down your product key.


Note RW-Everything is the preferred utility to obtain your BIOS embedded product key because it will give you the product key regardless what version of Windows is installed. Other utilities can give bogus keys from the Windows registry.

For example this can be important if you have downgraded to Windows 7 and wish to migrate to Windows 8.1.

Legacy Issues with Installation Media

Important note, in the past Microsoft had a substandard deployment of both Windows 8.0 and 8.1 but listened to user feedback. Older installation media had the following problems and even if you have procured them from Dell I recommend never using them:

  • Discrimination between Windows 8.0 and Windows 8.1 Product Keys
    • Windows 8.1 media rejected 8.0 keys
    • Windows 8.0 media rejected 8.1 keys
    • Could be bypassed by use of Generic Keys and Change Key after installation.
  • Windows 8.0 involved a convoluted forced upgrade to Windows 8.1 via the Microsoft Store. This was problematic at best. The download is practically the same size as the full .iso.
  • Windows 8.1 media with this fault did not contain update 1. The update to update 1 was also problematic.

Use the Windows 8.1 Media Creation Utility to get Windows 8.1 with Update 1 Media.

Retail and Retail Upgrade

The Windows 8.1 Retail licenses should be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 for a promotional period of 1 year after its final release. This is not applicable to Vista or XP licenses.

If you purchased Windows separately from your computer:

  • Windows 8.0 is "Upgrade Only"
  • Windows 8.1 is "Full"

However Windows 8.0 → Windows 8.1.

These licenses will come with a unique 25 digit product key affixed to the box with the installation media or were sent to you via email. Its recommended to email yourself a copy of the 25 digit product key in case you misplace the boxed media.

The Full version of the license can be installed and transferred from one computer to the other without any problems provided that it is only installed on one computer at a time.

“Upgrade Only” installation media as the name suggests only lets you install on top of an old Windows version. There are two main problems with this:

  • This method of installation always leads to detrimental performance
  • Many users have lost their installation media for their old license or didn’t get installation media for their old license if its OEM.
    • The OEM will be unable to ship installation media for the original Windows XP license as its reached End of Life.
    • The cost of procuring media for an out of Windows Vista system is higher than a new license.

It is therefore recommended you toss any Windows 8.0 installation DVDs in the bin. You may download a Windows 8.1 .iso using the Windows 8.1 media Creation Tool and this does not discriminate between Windows 8.0 and 8.1.

For the Retail Full licenses input your product key during installation and it should automatically activate online.

The Retail license is supported by Microsoft and not Dell. Dell may therefore not provide drivers for systems users have upgraded themselves but Windows 7 drivers will suffice in most cases. I have some additional notes mentioned here regarding system drivers:

Windows 8.1 retail can be evaluated by use of generic product keys:

  • Core/Home=334NH-RXG76-64THK-C7CKG-D3VPT
  • Core/Home N=6NPQ8-PK64X-W4WMM-MF84V-RGB89
  • Core/Home Single Language=Y9NXP-XT8MV-PT9TG-97CT3-9D6TC
  • Professional=XHQ8N-C3MCJ-RQXB6-WCHYG-C9WKB
  • Professional N=JRBBN-4Q997-H4RM2-H3B7W-Q68KC
  • Professional with Media Centre=GBFNG-2X3TC-8R27F-RMKYB-JK7QT

OEM System Builder License

This is easily the most understood license because Microsoft’s intended use of the license was different to the bulk number of cases where the license was used.

This license is designed for smaller system builders to sell e.g. for local computer shops to purchase that build custom systems and sell them on to the end user with preinstalled Windows and installation media. Because such shops only sell a low volume of systems (compared to Dell or HP) there is no custom BIOS to include the markers for OEM SLP activation. The computer shop are meant to be the ones to support the license and since they can only support their own configuration there is the same OEM inability to transfer the license; it is tied to the original mainboard. The installation and activation for this license type is therefore more similar to a retail license. Phone activation may be required if Retail media is used for installation however.

In reality however it is seen by the end user as a cheap “Retail” license and users purchased it as it was significantly cheaper than the Retail Full or Retail “Upgrade Only” licenses. Experienced end users accepted that they got the license for cheaper and their only limitation was that they couldn’t transfer the license or get Microsoft support. Naturally less experienced users also followed this trend and didn’t understand the limitations.

Volume Licensing

The Volume License is essentially a volume “Upgrade Only” License although it can be utilised for clean installation.

The point is organisations purchase maybe >25 or more systems with OEM licenses from Dell. IT departments will struggle deploying custom Windows installations on possibility 100’s or 1000’s of systems with OEM licenses.

The Volume License gives them the flexibility to deploy Windows throughout their entire organisation without having to waste time phoning Microsoft to activate every system or separately clean install each system with a Dell Windows 7 OEM Reinstallation DVD.

If you are the end user, you likely have a dedicated IT department handling this. If you are the dedicated IT department and want to know more about it, then contact Microsoft who will give you a custom quote:

127 thoughts on “Windows 8.1: The OEM or Retail License and Product Activation

  1. Philip, your write-ups are exactly what I'm dealing with right now, and I thank you for laying everything out so perfectly! Since I have an OEM of Win 8 Home, I tried the generic 8.0 key you and others have listed, but it does not work. Do you have any other ideas? Thanks so much.

    1. You must use the generic key of Windows 8.1 and not the generic key of Windows 8.0 as the geenric key of WIndows 8.0 will be rejected like any other Windows 8.0 key.

      1. Thank you for the response. The "Windows 8.1 Core/Home" generic key you list doesn't work when I type it into the Windows8-Setup.exe program for downloading the iso. Any idea on how to get the iso so I can try reinstalling?

  2. after installation I can use my old key to activate or do I have to purchase a new one for activation?

      1. ? What are you trying to install Windows 8 retail or Windows 8 OEM?
        If you are installing the OEM version use RW-Everything, if the retail use the retail key.

  3. I tried using the generic product key of Win 8.1 and it actually was approved by the recovery media installer by windows, but when I've proceeded to the next step, it always states, "WE CAN't CONNECT RIGHT NOW. CHECK YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION AND TRY AGAIN LATER." Is there a problem?? My internet connection is just fine and has a fair speed of 3mpbs. =(

  4. The generic serial key was approved by the recovery media installer by windows, but when I proceeded to the nxt step, it kept on stating, "WE CAN'T CONNECT RIGHT NOW. PLEASE CHECK YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION AND TRY AGAIN." I mean what's the problem? My internet connection is just fine. x.x

    1. The generic product key cannot be used to download Windows 8.1 it can only be used for installation. It cannot be used for activation. See here for details, where I explain the error:

      This page also explains how to download Windows 8.1 using a Windows 8.0 retail product key. It will not work for an OEM or system builder product key.

  5. i alread having a windows 8 with orginal key…now am trying to update to 8.1..but while installing they aksing for key..

    1. What are you trying to do?
      If installing with Windows 8.0 media you shouldn't have to enter a product key if its a Windows 8.0 key.
      If installing with Windows 8.1 media you will need to enter a generic Windows 8.1 product key to install if its a Windows 8.0 key.
      If installing with Windows 8.1 media you shouldn't have to enter a product key if its a Windows 8.1 key.
      If installing with Windows 8.0 media you will need to enter a generic Windows 8.0 product key to install if its a Windows 8.1 key.
      If you install with a generic product key after installation you need to use change key and activate with your Windows 8.0 key. If your license is OEM you need to find out the key with RW-Everything before going to change key.
      If updating from the Store you should not be prompted for a product key.
      If trying to download Windows 8.1 media then see here:

  6. ty so much i was having alot of issues and the generic key helped solve them thank you so much!!

  7. after installation it ask me to activate windows . so please give me activation key for windows 8.1

    1. slui.exe 0x3
      Use a cmd prompt as admin or run the above and then enter your Win 8 prod key -it will activate 8.1

  8. Excellent writeup. Thank you!
    I'm installing Windows 8.1 Pro. Originally bought Windows 8 Pro. Needless to say but this is a real timesaver! Thanks again 🙂

    1. Glad its helped Sebastian. I don't know why Microsoft want you to install Windows old (XP/Vista/7) and then download Windows 8.0, then download all updates and then visit the Microsoft Store then download Windows 8.1 and then download all the updates for Windows 8.1. Not only is it a waste of time, system performance is worse. This page has became quite popular as more and more people want to clean install directly.

      1. Yes, absolutely. Not only a timesaver. A fresh install of Win 8.1 without the hassle of the other steps is always better.

        What is strange though: of course I have the orignal product key from the COA. Just to be sure I ran both Produkey (Nirsoft) and Recoverkeys before reinstalling. Produkey found the just mentioned key. But RecoverKeys found another… 😐

        When I wanted to change the product key after the installation, it didn't take the original key from the COA (!), but it did take the key found by RecoverKeys. I didn't see that coming but I was sure glad I took the time to double check.

        Now, my theory. My version of Windows 8 was already updated to Windows 8.1(.1). So it seems like Microsoft already assigned a new product key to my version of Windows 8.1 Pro. Thus replacing the Windows 8 Pro key. Does that make sense to you?

        Perhaps some good info for others.

        Thanks again Philip! Keep up the good work! 🙂

      2. Key finding programs have issues with Windows 8.0 and 8.1.
        It seems there is maybe an additional key in the registry that they pick up on if the system updates to Windows 8.1.

        Belarc advisor however gives me the correct keys for a retail install (the Windows 8.0 key):
        Both the Windows 8.0 Professional and Windows 8.0 Media Center Key. However it gives the Windows 8.0 Professional Product key as the "Internet Explorer Key" and the Media Centre key as the "Windows 8.1 Professional with Media Center" key. The Media Center key cannot be used for a direct install (it has to be used in the add features). Is it possible you got the Media Centre Upgrade and hence your key was changed?

        For the retail license (if bought in boxed form) it should be the key on the card:
        Alternatively if bought as a digital download the key supplied in the email. Both of these have been reported to work in the method on this page.

        For the Major Vendors/OEM version RW-Everything is needed:

        I assume you used an OEM system builders license (which I haven't played with). You should get a "COA" saying its not a COA. It will have the 25 digit key? This key should work with the change key but I haven't tried it:

  9. I purchased my copy of Windows 8 through digital download.

    The key found by Produkey is the same as the one in the email. It was listed both as Windows 8.1 Professional and Internet Explorer (both the same keys). RecoverKeys found the unexpected one. But that one was the only one I was able to activate with in the end. RecoverKeys listed it as Windows 8.1 Professional. Not as Internet Explorer or Media Center (I don't have the Media Center addition).

    Strange, but I do think you're right that an additional key is stored in the registry after updating to 8.1.

    Anyways, I thought I'd share for future reference plus I was curious to your thoughts 🙂


    1. It is strange, my 2 licenses are also digital downloads from the initial promotion and they worked as shown in the guides.

  10. The workaround doesn't seem to work anymore. I have tried it a few times and it fails at the point where you close the 8.0 installer and open the 8.1 installer.

    1. Ditto I just tried several times and am now creating a windows 8 usb again because there is NO way to create a 8.1 usb with a windows 8 key. This is completely asinine and a pain when you have to install fresh. With the upgrade key it goes like this. Install windows 7, install windows 8.. install windows updates to 8.. install windows 8.1 It is about a 6 hour process.

    2. You are talking about the downloader or the installer?
      The downloader both my keys are blocked to download as I have used them too many times and get the we cannot connect right now error so I cannot do more testing and refuse to buy Windows 8 again (especially at full price).
      The installer you should use the generic product key and change key at the end.

  11. i installed window 8 from dell dvd, further I have genuine key. I activate window 8 at that time it show that window has been successfully activated online. but after some time it shows error message and I have to again enter window 8 product key. again and again it have to be done, so how to resolve this issue?

    1. Press [Windows] and [r] trype "slui 4" without the " and go for phone activation. A Microsoft support agent should be able to help you.

  12. Hello Philip
    I bought a Dell with Win 7 Pro. I made a Win 8 disc and after installation I went through the store to get Win 8.1. I think I download all Win updates etc. before going to 8.1
    I was just told to insert the 8.1 disc I made from the iso and use the generic key to install.
    Then use my pro win 8 product key to activate using cmd prmt as admin = slui.exe 0x3 . What I do not know is when do I install Win updates, WMC (with my key), Install my printer and Office – before activation or after?
    Thank you

    1. I usually install Windows 8.1 Professional directly with the Windows 8.1 Professional .iso. Installation requires use of the generic product key. You need to follow the workarounds here to download the Windows 8.1 .iso with a Windows 8.0 product key or get the .iso from unofficial sources due to complications made by Microsoft…
      Otherwise the media you get is just Windows 8.0 and you may have difficulty repairing or refreshing a Windows 8.1 installation.

      After installation of Windows 8.1 using a generic Windows 8.1 Professional product key. As long as you are online you should be able to activate using the change key:

      After Windows 8.1 Professional is activated you can use add features to upgrade to media centre:

      This should also automatically go online to activate.

      Once you have Windows 8.1 and then Media Centre activated you may then proceed with installation of Microsoft and then Windows Update (which will also update Office). The printer can be installed after Windows/Office is updated.

      1. I should have said I have the win 8 disc and prod key, the WMC prod key, the generic Win 8.1 key to install and can use slui.exe 0x3 to insert my Windows 8 prod key for activation. My question was, when do I perform Windows updates, before or after activation and the answer appears to be after activation of Win 8.1?
        Thank you

  13. i buy from gtex in dell inspiron 15 , put buying time windows 8.1 active , now i have problem to windows 8 some file missing , i have one windows update CD install to my system it is not working proper? what to do Please explain me

  14. i tried to use the generic Windows 8.1 Core/Home product key 334NH-RXG76-64THK-C7CKG-D3VPT but unfortunately it tells me that the key doesn't work with this edition of windows. i have a sony vaio flip 14A with preinstalled win 8 .
    How can i solve this problem to install win 8.1.

  15. Here's my scenario 🙂 I have four PC's that started with a fresh Windows 8.0 Pro Install from disk, then Windows Media Center was added via key purchase and online install, then upgraded to Windows 8.1 via online install – so currently they are at "Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center". I have the Windows 8.0 Pro and Windows Media Center product keys.

    Now we buy two Dell XPS 8700's that come with Windows 8.1 core OEM – product key tied to the motherboard, which I'm ok with on these two. Everything is already setup on the new Dells so I would rather not start from fresh installs. I would like to retire the Pro and Media Center product keys from the old PC's and use them to somehow "upgrade" the new PCs from Windows 8.1 core OEM to Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows Media Center. Not quite sure what to try so before I trash something I thought I would ask around.

  16. OK, I see. That procedure is part of what needs to be done. The procedure assumes the PC has Windows 8.1 Pro installed, and you are adding the Windows Media Center product key to it. Since these new PC's have Windows 8.1 home/core OEM (not Pro), you can't simply do an add feature/use Windows Media Center key. You need to first get the Windows 8.1 home/core OEM converted to Windows 8.1 Pro, and then you can follow this procedure. So I guess my follow-up question is: Can I switch the windows product key from the Windows 8.1 core/home OEM version to one of the Windows 8.0 Pro product keys I have without screwing it up? Even if that means I'll have to then run the 8.1 upgrade on it that would be fine.

    1. As mentioned I haven't tested it, I don't have a Windows 8.1 OEM system I wish to try this with. You can try with your Windows 8.0 Professional key. It'll either get accepted or rejected, please let me know. If something goes wrong, it should be an easy fix to go back to factory settings.

      I would advise you follow my instructions here to update Dell Backup and Recovery to and then make a Recovery USB before trying:

  17. I'll give it a try. I guess I can simply try to change the product key and see what happens. I had already made a recovery USB so if it all goes terribly wrong I can get it back to factory settings.

  18. 1. On the new Windows 8.1 OEM PC run Control Panel/System.
    It should currently read Windows 8.1.
    2. Write down the product id. You may need that to get Dell support at a future date.
    3. Click "Get more features with a new edition of Windows"
    Note: You can't simply click "Change Product Key".
    That only works if you aren't changing the Windows version.
    4. Enter the product key for your Windows 8.0 Pro and click next after it has said your
    key works.
    5. Hands off once the update starts.
    Mine went through two update/reboot cycles before it was completed.
    6. After update is complete Control Panel/System should now read Windows 8.1 Pro.
    7. Go to your old computer that you are taking the Windows 8.1 Pro product key from.
    You will need to deactivate the product key from that computer.
    You will need to be logged in with an account that has administrtor acccess.
    8. Press Windows key + X
    9. Click Command Prompt (Admin)
    10. At the command prompt, type: slmgr.vbs -upk
    then press enter.
    11. You have now deactivated the product key so go back to your new computer because
    you will need to activate the product key there.
    12. Run Control Panel/System.
    13. Click Activate Windows
    14. It may say that the product key is already installed on another computer.
    Perhaps if you wait longer that will not be the case.
    Anyhow… if it says that a few more steps will take care of it:
    A. Follow the instructions to telephone support to activate windows.
    The automated system instructions are quite good so just do what it says.
    B. Once done on the telephone your Windows 8.1 Pro on your new computer
    is activated.

    Additional steps if your old computer had Windows Media Center installed and you also want to transfer that to the new computer:
    15. Run Control Panel/Add features to Windows 8.1.
    16. Enter the Windows Media Center product key and click next after it has said your
    key works.
    17. Wait for the update to complete.
    18. Once all done run Control Panel/System.
    It will now read Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center.
    19. Windows Media Center should now be visible on the Metro screen under the
    Utilities group. Move it to wherever you like.

    That's it. All done and working great without needing to re-install Windows.

  19. Thanks Philip for this great tutorial but i have some questions
    there an HP OEM DVD of WINDOWS 8.1 that my friend have and he told me that this version will automatically activated on any new hp laptop is this true? some new hp laptop came with free dos it means no windows on it but do those machines have an embedded OEM key product? thanks for answering me because i'm planning on a getting a new laptop and i'm wondering will it be activated or no

    1. The HP Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 OEM DVD does not contain a product key. Windows 8.0 and 8.1 come with new unique system locked preinstallation keys. The DVD simply reads the product key from the system BIOS and automatically inputs it during installation. A system without Windows 8.0 or 8.1 factory installed will not have a Windows 8.0 or 8.1 product key in the system BIOS and will not activate.

    1. You will need to buy one if you don't have one.
      This instructions you in using your Windows 8 retail key for the download.
      If you want to evaluate use the Enterprise trial or the Windows 10 preview.

  20. I need help – I suppose as all of the above.

    Is there a simple way of deleting the Windows 8 core product key from the BIOS on the HP laptop. Laptop was issued with Win 8.0 core and formatted by other with Win 7. Both 64 bit. I obtained an OEM Win 8.1 Pro CD from the supplier, but obviously the keys don't match.

    Is there an easy fix or am I going to have to set aside a week for this?

  21. I actually have the opposite problem: installing 8.1 pro with key (student version) over an existing, 8.1 without a key.

    My son's laptop went back to dell for service, and they reloaded Windows 8. Unfortunately he had disposed of the Windows key from the bottom of the laptop months before and so the new install has been without a key and unable to complete upgrades etc.

    I purchased a student version of 8.1 pro, with key from the Microsoft website, but the install keeps failing, not being able to detect the flash drive (which is there, formatted, 32 GB free, and I can open) and direct install gives a fail message, long before install actually starts.

    Is there a way to make this install work so we can finally have his system running a full up to date OS?

  22. hey sir help .. i choose 8.1 but after ill paste the product key it said WE CANT CONNECT RIGHT NOW , CHECK YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION AND TRY AGAIN ? what do i do

  23. can i use windows 8 single language prod key into new windows 8.1 iso to make window gunine

    1. The Windows 8.1 Single Language Product key will only work with the Windows 8.1 Single Language .iso otherwise it will state the product key is not for the version of Windows currently installed.

  24. hi sir…
    i am confuse about all of the explanation…i just wanna make it simple…i have bought lenovo y400 with windows 8.0 64x single language…and i already got my product key….
    i choose try to change my os with 8.1…i was download it via torrent download…i though its work as well…but problems come when i insert my product key to this w8.1 installation disc…its says wrong disk…after read some of yours articles i know it…i need to use the serial keys…may be this one Y9NXP-XT8MV-PT9TG-97CT3-9D6TC….my questions is…its ok to use the installation disc from torrent ? is there any possibility that i can use other version like w 8.1 pro series? pls answer me…i was looking for this articles for long time…and finally found it…sorry for my bad english…from the bottm of my heart i am bagging you…pls answer me

      1. ty sir…
        i was succeeded to update my windows…the installation process didnt required any key just next and next…ty so much sir…

  25. Thanks. Just installed 8.1 on a Toshiba. Wiped the hard drive clean first, so the resulting partition structure is simple. Windows never asked for any key, not during or after installation. So I guess MS, now that W10 is about out, finally has gotten rid of the incredibly controlling activation scheme for Win8.1 – an OS it maintained was only an update to Win8. They were trying to have it both ways, and IMO lost a lot of credibility and good will – once again.

  26. admin… thanks for key 8.1 Pro… from 8.1 single language upgraded to 8.1 Pro… peace yoo ;-)))

  27. Hi there. I have an HP TouchSmart 15 laptop. How can I get the Windows version information and product key because the drive where windows is installed is locked? I have the external hard drive and 2 USB drives, as well as a working PC, and I had downloaded that RWeverything program as well as Rufus, but I don't see a .iso file in all of the RW files to make a bootable USB. Would you help please? Thanks.

  28. I don't believe it's a password issue. Someone tampered with the administrative rights on my laptop, and in trying to restore them, somehow the C drive got locked. When I start the PC, it tries to repair but fails, and then gives 2 options – to either shutdown or advanced options. When I click on advanced options, I get a blue screen that gives the message saying that the drive where windows is installed is locked. That's why I am going to do this process, but first, I am wondering how I can get the exact 8.1 version and product key, considering that the drive is locked. Is there a way please?

    1. The product key doesn't matter, so long as the correct .iso is used the product key will be input automatically. As mentioned in my guides, currently the way things are setup, determining the correct edition is difficult if you have lsot your original install which for all intents and purposes is the scenario you are in.

      The good news is looking at the price of your system it won't be a Bing edition.
      You should download the Windows 8.1 .iso, make a bootable USB and then attempt to boot from it, if it asks for a product key it is the incorrect .iso if it doesn't then its the correct .iso. Try Windows 8.1, then Windows 8.1 Single Language and then Windows 8.1N. As this is a Home System I don't think this system would be shipped with the Professional Editions.

  29. I get error 0xC004F069 when trying to use my Windows 8 Pro upgrade on an installation of Windows 8.1 Pro with update 1 installed which was installed using the new program that allows you to download an 8.1 ISO. This article is great except my key does not work without that error. Elsewhere on this site you state to trash all my 8.0 installations, that won't work for me as my key ONLY works on Windows 8.0. Is there anyway I can use my 8.0 key any other way, without installing Windows 8.0 and downloading 8.1 through the store?

  30. The error comes as a result of using the command line. Replacing the key in the "PC Settings" modern app just says that the key doesn't work. I am just trying to test the key, without being connected to the Internet. I don't want to activate with it just yet. It is being transferred from another machine. Do I have to be connected to the Internet?

  31. I know you need to be online to activate, but do you need to be online to test the key?

    1. If you want to test to see whether or not the .iso accepts the product key, then the first step is to see whether or not the .iso accepts the product key. If it passes the first step the second step is product activation and the second step requires the system to be online.

      If your intent is to test the first step I advise setting up a virtual machine using VMWare player, you can disable the Ethernet connection in hardware and input the product key. See the video of the setup of Windows 10 for details which is more or less identical:
      The Windows 10 test preview .iso never asked for a product key but the Windows 8.1 .iso asks for the product key before the setup screen (about 2:11 in the video).

      You can see the testing with the Windows 8.1 generic product keys in the video here:
      I begin testing of the keys with the various .isos at 10:09.

      1. My 8.0 Pro key was successfully installed in Windows 8.1 Pro when typed in or using it inside of a PID.txt file. I will try to activate it at a later date.

        Thanks for your help.

  32. Hello Phil, I'm trying to do a fresh install of Windows 8 Single Language. Can I use my product key on a 8.1 Single Language? Will it work?

    1. Yes this downloader now accepts Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 keys as equal unlike previous flawed downloaders.

      The Windows 8.1 Single Language .iso will work with Windows 8.0 Single Language OEM/Retail key.

  33. To one of the experts, I want to downgrade from win 8 to win 7 (Ult) on my laptop. I have win 7 disk.

    1. It is not worth your time downgrading from Windows 8.1 to Windows 7 Ultimate (via a full retail license) at this stage. In Late Summer Windows 10 will be released and Windows 7 and 8.1 will both be auto-updated to Windows 10 as a free update. Using 2 Windows licenses for a system to get Windows 10 is not worthwhile and its not worthwhile performing the downgrade for only a "few" months use. Both Windows 7 and 8.1 will be realistically obsolete once the majority of the userbase has migrated.

      Windows 8.1 can be made usable with the following settings which should get you by for they few months:
      You can install Windows 10 Technical Preview at present but should be aware that it will have bugs.

      There is also the fact that Dell are not providing new Home Inspiron systems with Windows 7 compatible drivers so you may get limited functionality in some cases. You have to make some adjustments to the UEFI BIOS setup such as disable SecureBoot, enable UEFI, convert your installation media into FAT32 UEFI Bootable media for the GPT partition scheme, enable USB Debug (disable USB 3.0 functionality) in order to accomodate a Windows 7 install. Windows 7 has >200 updates to install so updating takes longer than the Windows install.

      If you wish to proceed with the downgrade (not recommended) you should at least provide some basic information such as the model and post on the Dell Community Microsoft OS Forums opposed to the comments here:
      If the system is a non-Dell use Microsoft Answers:

  34. sir my windows does not show activated after i use data recovery function by pd …………………..
    and i created this recovry from my new lappi so why this not showing activated sir plsss give me any solution as soon as possible

    1. Explain what you did in detail, provide model number, version of Windows and its better to post on the Dell Community Microsoft OS Forum opposed to the comments here.

  35. I INSTALL windows 8.1 core edition but the key you provided is not working and when i try to activate its not working either
    what to do please . i have laptop acer

    1. Do not use generic keys for an OEM license. If you are prompted for a product key with that .iso you have likely selected the wrong Edition. See here:
      Try Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Single Language. The correct Edition will not ask for a product key and take you straight to the license agreement screen. The incorrect edition will ask for a product key.

  36. Does updating windows from 8 to 8.1 changes the OEM product key in BIOS? I am asking this question because I've got 2 directories in windows registry, viz., "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CutrrentVersion\DefaultProductKey", and "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CutrrentVersion\DefaultProductKey2". But I don't know if they were already there before updating windows.

    1. The product key in the UEFI BIOS cannot be changed via software as it would be a disaster if it could.

      Updating from the store sometimes gives you another key which is useless and hence throws out many programs which look to the Windows registry for the product key. Its a reason why I recommend RWEverything which looks at the hardware and not programs like Berlarc Advisor which look at the registry for the product key.

  37. Hello, i have just bought HP new laptop After 2 weeks i get warning tht yur window is going to expire insert yur prouduct key. Currently i have window 8.1 single language and i cant find it product key. Plz send product key

    1. Install RWEverything and had a look at ACPI Tables and see if there is a MSDM tab and Windows 8.1 product key.

  38. Help me
    I have an acer laptop the sound drivers and usb drivers does not want to read anything
    what should I do

  39. I have a Dell latitude 3540 which I bought secondhand, It came with Windows 8. 0 Enterprise, which I couldn"t be updated to 8.1. When called Microsoft and gave the key from the Bios, they said that it was an legit key, but that it was for Windows 8. pro. They even sent me a reinstall disk for 8.1 (I paid $15 for it.) But when I tried to use it, it wouldn't accept the key. And when I called Microsoft back, they said that that's because it's a dell machine–I told them it was dell machine before I bought the disk–and that I needed to call dell to activate it. So when I called dell, they refused to sell me a 'usb key' which they implied would solve the problem, because I couldn't give then the proper information about the previous owner. (The machine was still under warranty.) They asked me to fill out a form and then made me wait a week. Anybody have any ideas? I really don't want unupdatable 8.0 enterprise, which Microsoft say doesn't exist, on this machine. Is there any way I can get back to 8 or 8.1 pro without buying a full license.

  40. Thanks Phillpyip, I'll have a look. There's a new wrinkle. Dell won't send me a reinstall disk, but they say that this computer was downgraded to Windows 7, and so that the key that I have should work for Windows 8 or 7. Is that possible? I was told that if I can get a hold of Dell reinstall disk or usb for 7 or 8, that it would work–and not even ask for the key. Is that right? And won't I have to get Microsoft (by phone) to activate it after the install? Who to trust.

  41. i am not able to activate my window with the key given
    window 8.1 single language

  42. I have purchased a dell laptop with Ubuntu out of the box and I installed windows 8.1 but that's pirated and I didn't get dell branding.Please provide me 8.1 dell oem ISO with all dell branding

  43. The question is. My computer was supplied with OEM (Dell) Win 8.1. I was so P`d off I reformatted and loaded Retail copy of Win7. However I have upgraded the win 7 on to my wife's Vista computer.

    In theory I STILL have a valid Win 8.1 entitlement to and upgrade to 10. How do I access it?


    1. You download Windows 8.1 and reinstall it. The main difficulty is determining the correct Edition:
      After Windows 8.1 is reinstalled you can upgrade to Windows 10 TH1:
      The upgrade to TH1 requires an upgrade install unfortunately. You could of course upgrade to Windows 10 TH1 using your current Windows 7 license but its a waste of a license; better to consume your Windows 8.1 OEM license for the Windows 10 Upgrading freeing your retail Windows 7 Upgrade license for your older machine.

      If you don't have a Single Language or Bing Edition of Windows 8.1 you can upgrade to Windows 10 TH2 beta:

      TH2 is much better than TH1 and will allow for a direct Clean Installation. My advise is to wait until TH2 is out on the main track before upgrading to Windows 10.

  44. Hi I tried finding my key of win10, MSDN tab is not shown.. any way out? thank in advance

  45. HI,
    Forgive me if this question was already answered.

    I have a dell Inspiron 7720 laptop purchased second hand with a failed hard drive.
    I dont have the original windows 8 key that it came with. I also was unsuccessful retrieving it from bios using software like rwEverything, etc.

    I cant get OEM installation media from Dell because this computer is not registered to my name and I cant get in touch with the original owner anymore. Frankly, dont really want to pay for the installation media anyway.

    Is there a way for me to find out the original windows 8 key? that I could then use to perform a clean install of windows 8.1 and windows 10?
    thank you

      1. No MSDM tab means there is no Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 OEM UEFI BIOS Embedded SLP key. Even if you got Reinstallation Media from Dell it wouldn't work…

        The official answers are either 1. Because the key is classified as part of the hardware you need to either replace your motherboard (if in warranty get Dell to do so) or 2. Buy Windows 10 as a Retail License.

        Some of the 7720s would have been old with Windows 7 and not Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 and hence will not have a MSDM tab however so look for a COA under the battery just in case.

        If you have no MSDM tab and no COA unofficially you may try this workaround:

  46. Thank you for your quick replies.

    There is still an official windows 8 sticker on the back.
    As well as a plane white sticker with partially faded "Product Key" that looks like a windows key to me. I cannot decipher some of the characters in it though.
    I also read in other forums online that Dell laptops (at least a few of them from the sound of it) don't seem to have MSDM tab and tools like RWeverything fail to work.

    Anyway, thanks again.

  47. Hi philip, pls listen to my case..
    I have HP 1000 laptop with windows 8 single language edition. I have sets of recovery dvd, unfortunately one of the dvd scratched and the disc became unreadable. And I could not boot fresh installation of windows 8 using these dvd. I want to make my laptop as default installation as during the time of purchased. So my questions, If i download the iso file of windows 8.1 and boot it via usb bootable, will it equalise with OEM of Windows 8? Pls enlightened me the different between ISO file and OEM.

    1. This is an old guide. See the updated guide regarding Windows 8.1 here:

      Note that Windows 8.1 has reached end of mainstream support and Windows 10 is available for a free upgrade (Windows 10 installation media will accept your OEM product key and can be installed directly). Windows 10 only really runs well on systems that have a SSD. There is often 100 % Disk Usage issues with systems that have an older HDD.

      Windows 11 is also available as a free upgrade but a 2012/2013 model that came with Windows 8.x is going to below Microsoft's recommended system requirements for Windows 11.

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