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

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.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Nicholas Moore

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

    1. Tim

      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.

  2. brad

    Perfect fix!. Thanks!

  3. Nick

    Much appreciated!

  4. Chris pay

    Fantastic. Worked a treat 🙂

  5. muladi

    Highly appreciate. It works!

  6. Kris Wenzel

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

  7. Dizzyguy


  8. Thomas

    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!!

  9. Xanthemann

    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.

    1. Tim

      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.

  10. Aly

    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?

    1. Tim

      Run the following from an elevated command prompt:

      slmgr.vbs -ipk “Enter Key Here”

      Make sure to not include the quotation marks.

  11. Murray

    thanks woked great

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