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Had a funny one the other day, after a client brought in a laptop to be installed from scratch, with Windows 8 Pro DVD media bought from a local shop

No where on the packaging did the DVD claim to be “upgrade media” –  to me it looked like a standard Retail copy of the OS, although it was on sale for only $99.   Equally, no where did it claim to be a system builder or OEM copy.  Microsoft really need to be clearer with their packaging here.  The only readable info on the outside, viewable without breaking the cellophane, was “Windows 8 Pro”.  Inside, once you opened the packet, there was “quick setup instruction” , that suggested that you ran the install from within Windows with non mention of booting from the media, so maybe Microsoft are now assuming that unless using an OEM / System builder’s copy, all people will be “upgrading”?

So, I installed it, using the supplied key card.  No problem.  Then I updated it and added apps etc.  Then on one reboot, it started coming up with a prompt to Activate Windows again.  So I tried, and failed, and tried and failed, with it now not accepting the key supplied in the package.  Nowhere was there a message on how to resolve this, or what the actual problem was, just a link to the general Customer service lines, and a “the key didn’t work” message.

Some googling, and I found out how to get more info.  I attempted to register via a elevated command shell, and managed to get an error message by the following commands:

slmgr.vbs -ipk  >enter-product-key-here-complete-with-dashes<

slmgr /ato

this would then fail, so then then to find out why the above failed, to display the error text type:

slui.exe 0x2a 0xC004F069

(as an aside,     slui.exe 3    will launch the GUI version)

Apparently the Product Key was claiming to be for an Upgrade Media, not Retail Media.  The DVD media said nothing of the sort – only labelled as Windows 8 pro, as per the above.

I then had to spend 40 minutes on the phone to Microsoft, firstly via the Activation line.   They then passed me to customer support, who opened a case for me after confirming that my Key should be for a retail version, and from there I was passed onto tech support, who resolved the issue with the following steps:

1. Open Regedit

2. Navigate to the following key:


3. Edit the REG_DWORD value and change from 1 to 0

4. open up an administrative Command Prompt, and type:

slmgr /rearm

5. Reboot, and you should have an activated copy of Windows…

Seemed to work OK! Now what this makes me wonder is whether my media is really the retail or upgrade media, and if whether doing the above will allow you to do a fresh install, using the upgrade media, without needing the full retail/OEM/system builder DVD media…    If someone is bored and wants to give it a go  😉