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Windows 8.1 install won't accept OEM product key

    Question

  • I downloaded the Windows 8.1 RTM ISO from TechNet today and wanted to test it on a Thinkpad W530 I have here that has a Windows 8 Pro OEM licence.

    When I mounted the ISO and ran the setup it's prompting for a product key. I'm confused because my understanding is the product key is stored in the UEFI bios and I was expecting the 8.1 setup to detect it. During the original Windows 8 installation it never prompted for the product key and activated without issue.

    I've checked my product keys on TechNet and I have 3 unclaimed keys for 8.1 that I assume would work but It'd be preferable for me to retain my OEM licence.

    I used Magic Jellybean to obtain the OEM key but the 8.1 setup won't accept it and returns "That key can't be used to activate this edition of Windows. Please try a different key." 

    Any ideas?

    Tuesday, September 10, 2013 9:51 AM

Answers

  • Windows 8.1 uses different product keys than Windows 8. The only upgrade you can do on Windows 8 is to install it through the Store when it reaches GA. Instead, you should install the Windows 8.1 you got from TechNet on another computer.
    • Proposed as answer by Carey FrischMVP Tuesday, September 10, 2013 3:49 PM
    • Marked as answer by Daniel Corkill Thursday, September 12, 2013 10:26 PM
    Tuesday, September 10, 2013 3:34 PM
  • Apparently, It appears that the Windows 8.1 ISOs on MSDN only allow for clean installs.  For an upgrade workaround, please read the comments posted by "KL" and "tassos" in this blog.

    Also, please read the comment posted by "Guggs" [timestamp "10 Sep 2013 8:10 AM"] wherein he states: "For actual upgrade, you will have to wait until GA.  This release is for testing 8 and 8.1 apps and drivers.  The ability to upgrade 8 will be available via retail channels at GA."

    Note: GA = General Availability             


    Carey Frisch

    • Proposed as answer by Tripredacus Thursday, September 12, 2013 2:53 PM
    • Marked as answer by Daniel Corkill Thursday, September 12, 2013 10:26 PM
    Thursday, September 12, 2013 1:28 AM

All replies

  • Have you to chance use the Windows 8.1 Preview version?

    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/preview-iso

    Then you can use the next product key:

    NTTX3-RV7VB-T7X7F-WQYYY-9Y92F

    Tuesday, September 10, 2013 10:07 AM
  • This is not the 8.1 Preview. It's RTM that was officially released to TechNet and MSDN subscribers today.
    Tuesday, September 10, 2013 10:50 AM
  • Okay, it's better to contact Microsoft for additional help.

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/ms772425.aspx


    • Edited by T. Kujala Tuesday, September 10, 2013 11:18 AM
    Tuesday, September 10, 2013 11:17 AM
  • Windows 8.1 uses different product keys than Windows 8. The only upgrade you can do on Windows 8 is to install it through the Store when it reaches GA. Instead, you should install the Windows 8.1 you got from TechNet on another computer.
    • Proposed as answer by Carey FrischMVP Tuesday, September 10, 2013 3:49 PM
    • Marked as answer by Daniel Corkill Thursday, September 12, 2013 10:26 PM
    Tuesday, September 10, 2013 3:34 PM
  • Hi,

    OEM activation is performed by associating the operating system to the firmware of the computer. This process occurs before the computer is sent to the customer so that the software is already activated and no additional actions are required by the user. OEM activation remains valid as long as the customer uses the OEM-provided image on the computer.

    So, if you want to clean install Windows 8.1, you need to input the Windows 8.1 install key to accomplish the Windows installation, after that you can try to activate your system by network or Phone. Meanwhile, I want to know did you got any Windows 8.1 product key when you download Windows 8.1 from TechNet? If so, you can try to use them when you install Windows 8.1.

     


    Roger Lu
    TechNet Community Support

    Wednesday, September 11, 2013 3:43 PM
    Moderator
  • Windows 8 product keys only work with Windows 8 (Build 9200). They are not valid with Windows 8.1 (Build 9600).  You must have a genuine Windows 8.1 product key if you wish to perform a "clean install" using Windows 8.1 installation media.

    Carey Frisch

    Wednesday, September 11, 2013 4:03 PM
  • So the 8.1 iso on TechNet is for clean installs only, I can't use it to upgrade 8? I do have legitimate product keys provided for 8.1 as part of my TechNet subscription. I intended to upgrade my installation of 8 to 8.1 for testing purposes which is in the bounds of the TechNet subscription licencing.
    Thursday, September 12, 2013 1:14 AM
  • Apparently, It appears that the Windows 8.1 ISOs on MSDN only allow for clean installs.  For an upgrade workaround, please read the comments posted by "KL" and "tassos" in this blog.

    Also, please read the comment posted by "Guggs" [timestamp "10 Sep 2013 8:10 AM"] wherein he states: "For actual upgrade, you will have to wait until GA.  This release is for testing 8 and 8.1 apps and drivers.  The ability to upgrade 8 will be available via retail channels at GA."

    Note: GA = General Availability             


    Carey Frisch

    • Proposed as answer by Tripredacus Thursday, September 12, 2013 2:53 PM
    • Marked as answer by Daniel Corkill Thursday, September 12, 2013 10:26 PM
    Thursday, September 12, 2013 1:28 AM
  • I don't believe this information is correct, as I was able to upgrade a Windows 8 Pro PC (originally built using TechNet retail media) to Windows 8.1 Pro, using the same Windows 8 retail key...I did *not* have to burn off an 8.1 key.

    However, I have had the same experience as the OP when attempting to upgrade a Windows 8 Pro OEM PC to Windows 8.1 Pro, using the Windows 8 Pro OEM key.


    Jim

    Thursday, October 10, 2013 4:52 AM
  • The original downloads of the 8.1 ISO had the Upgrade portion "blocked" when trying to use it. You could still pick it from the menu but it would do a clean install and save the previous OS to Windows.old. Some users had found that removing a file from the ISO and reburning it allowed a proper Upgrade to take place. It is possible that more recent releases of the ISO on TechNet have been amended to allow a proper Upgrade. This is just a guess on my part.
    Thursday, October 10, 2013 2:27 PM
  • One thing I've found about Magic Jellybean is  that depending on which version of it you run against a UEFI machine, you'll get a completely different key. I haven't tried an install using either of the 2 different keys reported, but you can verify yourself and try both.

    The 2 versions on jellybean I tried this with were 2.0.9.5 and 2.0.9.8

    If anybody does try this I would appreciate an update here.

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014 12:08 AM
  • First mistake relying on the Windows upgrade process, it's never worked right since the days of DOS to Windows.  Do a clean install problem solved.
    Wednesday, April 09, 2014 11:01 PM
  • I am using Jelly beans 2.0.10.9 for the wind 8.1 key.  The key matches my email records.  The windows setupbox needed to fix a win 8.1 problem possibly caused by an automated update, that in turn causes my win 8.1 to be in a automatic repair loop fails to accept the key..    Seems no easy solution, so may have to go back to Windows 7.   For some really really dumb reason, MSFT gives you nothing that works and the email trails I have read for 5 hours today confirm they have a HUGE problem.  My next computer will be an APPLE. Can not take this anymore.  Hope you never get into the death spiral when win 8.1 decides it is in automatic repair.....

    Saturday, April 19, 2014 12:43 AM