Windows 8 Pro/Ent Won’t activate (MAK key)

August 17, 2012

Recently, I have been playing around with Windows 8.  And, since it went RTM on Aug 1st, I figured I would install it fresh.  I downloaded Windows 8 Pro from my subscription, and made sure to copy down my license key.

The install went quick and painless, and I decided to sign in with a windows live account to test the functionality of that vs a local account.  When I went to change my account picture,  I received a message that I can’t customize my account until windows is activated.

OK – so lets goto the control panel and activation.  However, I could not find anywhere to input a key.  Windows did not ask for one during install, and apparently won’t let me enter one.  The “change product key” option that we saw in Windows 7 is non-existent.

He’s the skinny – since the Pro and Enterprise version are geared for  business, it’s assumed that you are going to use a deployment server, a KMS server.

So, how do you enter a key?  The command prompt…..

Open an Elevated command prompt, and type the following:

slmgr.vbs -ipk “Enter Key Here”

Edit: It appears there is yet another solution:

From the command prompt, or run dialog box, type:

slui 3

This will bring up the Activation wizard, and allow a product key to be entered.

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14 Responses to “Windows 8 Pro/Ent Won’t activate (MAK key)”

  • What are your feelings on Windows RT? Also what theme are you using for your pages layout? Nice write up.

    • Tim says:

      Thanks, the theme I am using is called “Light Clean Blue”.

      Windows RT is a good idea, and will be great for Surface, with a version of Office also able to run on ARM. I am looking forward to the x86 version of surface early next year – but sales should be good with RT. I see a lot of vendors using it on TV related devices as well as tablets.

  • brad says:

    Perfect fix!. Thanks!

  • Nick says:

    Much appreciated!

  • Chris pay says:

    Fantastic. Worked a treat 🙂

  • muladi says:

    Highly appreciate. It works!

  • Kris Wenzel says:

    Genius! I was having this exact issue and the SLUI 3 program worked like a charm. Thanks for all of your help.

  • Dizzyguy says:


  • Thomas says:

    Worked for me perfectly. You are a better tech than the Microsoft Tech’s I was on the phone with them 1.5 hrs and still no activation. Thanks!!

  • Xanthemann says:

    I have been through tech support and we did what you have listed here and every thing was fine for a few hours, but now I am having the same problem and it won’t go away.
    I bought a valid copy! I try to refrain from cursing but this is getting real stupid, so wtf microsoft?
    I am sorry but I had to vent. I have activated and reactivated numerous times as well as refreshed the system and still no activation.
    Any thoughts on the matter, because I don’t think tech support can figure it out either.

    • Tim says:

      Try installing fresh, and not a refresh of the system. (or in a virtual machine). If it still does not activate, or attempts to re-activate, contact Microsoft and request a replacement license key.

  • Aly says:

    I tried both and the slui 3 solution almost worked except when I put in the activation key that I received it tells me “Windows couldn’t be activated Error Code: 0x8007007B Error description: the filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.” I have no idea what to do now, any ideas?

    • Tim says:

      Run the following from an elevated command prompt:

      slmgr.vbs -ipk “Enter Key Here”

      Make sure to not include the quotation marks.

  • Murray says:

    thanks woked great

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