How to Install Windows 8 without key and automatic activation


  • I have downloaded my Windows 8 Pro from MAPS, I installed it in a Hyper-V virtual machine to start testing.

    I was not able to install without entering my Windows key. After installation my windows copy was automatically activated.

    I had no intention of activating this test-installation - it's just my MAPS-key, okay, i will survive...but...still, I lost a licencse!

    With windows 7 you could skip entering the Windows key resulting in a 30 day test-installation.

    How to achieve with windows 8?

    Friday, August 31, 2012 9:07 PM


All replies

  • Hi,

    You cannot install Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro without a key but it is possible with Windows 8 Enterprise.

    Windows will automatically try to active itself after the installation.


    Revue du Geek | Déployer Windows 7 avec MDT 2010

    Friday, August 31, 2012 10:58 PM
  • Well, I've seen this quite often, especially in repair-situations: you get a pc in the shop, you fix it an have to reinstall. SOHO-Enterprise don't have a centralised license-management, so you'll lose lot of time and effort to get the key. A preinstallation won't do, since installation, patching and configuration is also part of the job. With WINdows 7 I just made 30days-installation which gave the customer ample time to find the key.

    Another case: for small batches windows images are created, with all applications installed etc. The final images get's sysprepped and is then distributed. In doing so I would loose a license everytime I prepare a batch like that....

    Please consider that I'm talking about SOHO, so I don't have centralised softwaredistribution, I don't have grouppolicies, I don't have an IT-department organising the licences, well, it's called real-life I guess.

    A first guess would be to just unplug the PC from the network and sysprep it before plugging in again - I just couldn't patch and install anything - so not quite what I want....

    Any recommendations for installing windows 8 without loosing licences there?

    Saturday, September 01, 2012 7:43 AM
  • Why not uninstall your key after the installation is completed, but before you plug in your network cable.  The machine will go into notification mode, but it will not use/lose a key.

    slmgr /upk

    It can even be run from your setupcomplete.cmd or runsynchronous commands to make it an automated part of your install.

    Otherwise, rumors are in that you can add an ei.cfg file that will cause your installation DVD to no longer require a key.

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    Saturday, September 01, 2012 7:51 AM
  • Hi KD,

    thanks for the hint with slmgr. I can live with that.



    Saturday, September 01, 2012 8:07 AM
  • Found this setting inside the unattend.chm.  Auto-activation can be disabled via unattend.xml

            <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Security-SPP-UX" processorArchitecture="amd64" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="" xmlns:xsi="">

    <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Security-SPP-UX" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="" xmlns:xsi="">

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    Sunday, September 02, 2012 9:29 AM