Howto : Troubleshoot Windows 8 Activation


As MSDN Ultimate subscriber, we may have access to volume license installer. In order to activate volume license, one can use MAK (Multiple Activation Key) or KMS (Key Management Service). You can imagine MAK as out-premise activation Microsoft’s and KMS as in-premise activation; both requires Administrator authorization. When VL activation is unsuccessful you can identify the reason by looking at the Activation Error Codes and find the description in Microsoft website. Depending on your current infrastructure and authorization, whether you are:

  1. Main MSDN subscriber and Administrator
    Obtain product key from Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). After successful registration to VLSC, you can use the product key to activate using MAK.

  2. KMS Administrator
    If your infrastructure has KMS in place, then you can start to troubleshoot volume activation process within your organization infrastructure perimeter.

  3. MSDN subscriber
    If you don’t want to register to VLSC (either because you’re not main subscriber / administrator), you can change the license key to Retail. Once you change the license key to Retail version, you will be able activate it without MAK or KMS.

How to change Windows 8 VL to Windows 8 Retail

1. From home screen, press Windows + C

2. In the search box, type CMD

3. Click CMD in listed apps, then click “Run as Administrator”

4. Type following command to change license key to retail

slmgr.vbs /ipk product_key

5. Type following command to activate Windows 8

slmgr.vbs /ato

For more information about Slmgr.vbs please read Slmgr.vbs Options in Technet.

Riwut Libinuko
Sr. Cloud Solution Architect

My research interests include distributed robotics, mobile computing and programmable matter.

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