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Windows 8.1 OEM Activation and better system reloads.

Posted on 2014-08-15
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With Windows 8.1 update 1 being out I would like a cleaner install during my reload process by going straight to 8.1 without having to use my original 8.0 OEM media. The only problem is I cannot locate a Windows 8.1 u1 OEM media that will self activate on Windows 8.0 OEM licensed machines.

I tried lifted the Windows 8.0 key from one of the Dell systems I was reloading from its BIOS and I wasn't able to use that same key during the 8.1 install.

I am not sure if there is a better way to approach this activation situation with Windows 8/8.1 but I would appreciate any insight. Remember I am not cloning/re-imaging machines or using volume activation.
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Question by:ubixtech
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40264980
Windows 8.1 is a different operating system than Windows 8. If you only have a key for Windows 8 OEM, then you must install it, set it up, go to the Store and upgrade to Windows 8.1. It is free upgrade.

If you wish to install Windows 8.1 without installing Windows 8, you must purchase a key for it.
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McKnife earned 2000 total points
ID: 40266757
Not quite. Have solved it myself like this: use these dummy keys from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj612867.aspx to install 8.1, then change the key to your own 8.0 key and activate.
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by:ubixtech
ID: 40266868
I'm going to give those dummy keys a shot tomorrow. If I use a KMS key during install - won't the installer install the volume licensed edition instead of the retail/oem edition?
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40266875
won't the installer install the volume licensed edition instead of the retail/oem edition?

I think that might be the case but I am not entirely certain.
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40267346
No. There is no such thing as a VL edition. They can be used with any setup including OEM.
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Author Comment

by:ubixtech
ID: 40268546
McKnife,

Can you expand upon this? Is this a new thing with Windows 8?

I recall with Windows 7 and earlier editions there were retail/OEM versions and volume license editions.

Retail took boxed and msdn keys along with  OEM dummy keys for use with SLIC activation

Volume license versions always used MAK/KMS.

They keys and editions were not interchangeable. VLSC key do not work with retail and vice versa.
Did I miss the memo with Windows 8? Has this all changed?
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by:ubixtech
ID: 40268812
I was able to figure this out.


1. Lift the OEM key from the old Windows 8 OEM installation. Use RecoverKey or other similar software.

2. Download and burn a retail copy of Windows 8.1 u1 ISO  [filename: en_windows_8.1_with_update_x86_dvd_4065105]

3. After booting the DVD, entered the following dummy license keys depending on the edition you need to install.

334NH-RXG76-64THK-C7CKG-D3VPT  -Retail 8.1 Core
XHQ8N-C3MCJ-RQXB6-WCHYG-C9WKB  -Retail 8.1 Pro

4. After installation open command w/elevated privlege and run the following command


slmgr.vbs -ipk XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX  (Use OEM KEY FROM STEP 1)

5. After rebooting the system, Windows 8.1 will successfully activate by checking the license key against the bios.
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Author Closing Comment

by:ubixtech
ID: 40268821
I was able to figure this out with McKnife recommendation.
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Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 40270634
About vl/editions: same with 8. Enterprise is always vl. The others can be vl or retail or OEM. But that is only licensing, not being another edition. Absolutely the same windows.
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