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MAK Volume License Upgrade from Windows 8 to 8.1

    Question

  • My organization purchased a multiple-activation key (MAK) for Windows 8 Pro. Well, as I found out, the free update to Windows 8.1 Pro doesn't make itself available in the Store if Windows is activated through a MAK or another volume license key. I'd like to get our Windows 8 Pro users up to 8.1 Pro to enjoy the new OS but it seems this isn't possible. 

    I've tried the Windows 8.1 Pro VL iso from MSDN, hoping that an in-place upgrade (or a clean install) would make it happen, but it won't take my organization's MAK key from 8 Pro (It spends a few seconds checking it, then reports back "That key doesn't work - try another one".

    What's going on here? Does my organization have to re-purchase a MAK key for 8.1? That seems awfully ridiculous considering the update is free for retail and OEM users. 
    Monday, October 28, 2013 9:56 AM

Answers

All replies

  • Hi.

    You must download Windows 8.1 installation media from Volume Licensing Service Center http://bit.ly/HrwQV5 and if you need a Windows 8.1 then you probably can find that from there as well.

    Cheers,

    Heiki

    Monday, October 28, 2013 5:32 PM
  • Will that 8.1 media activate with our Windows 8 Pro MAK key?
    Thursday, October 31, 2013 1:33 PM
  • If you are a volume license customer using a KMS or MAK, you are not entitled to the automatic upgrade.  If your organization, has Software Assurance, you should be able to download the Windows 8.1 ISO from there along with the appropriate key.

    There are different MAK keys for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1; they are not interchangeable.

    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/why-can-t-find-update-store

    Sunday, November 03, 2013 6:35 PM
  • Of course if you are using the Volume Activation Management Tool 3.0 then the key for 8.1 is not supported. Go figure. Microsoft can't make anything simple or easy...Boy I wish someone would break their monopoly....
    Thursday, November 07, 2013 7:20 PM
  • First; thanks for the solid answer.

    Second; this is beyond unacceptable. Why are retail and OEM users eligible for a free update, but volume licence customers aren't without Software Assurance? Volume license customers are shelling out thousands of dollars for several licenses ALONE than any average single consumer buying a single $300 POS laptop from Staples, and they're the ones that get the free update? Why is half the customer base getting free stuff and the other half not, with all things being equal?

    I can understand Software Assurance being necessary for a MAJOR UPGRADE, like from Windows 8 to whatever Windows 9 turns out to be. But retail/OEM consumers aren't paying into Software Assurance to get 8.1 - why do VL purchasers have to? Especially since 8.1 HAD to be pushed out to make this new version of Windows usable for many people, with all the negative publicity it got and all.

    Besides, Apple provides incremental updates to all of their users for free - hell, they made Mavericks a free upgrade. Why call it 8.1, then? If it was called Windows 9, then okay. Do what you will. But 8.1 makes it an UPDATE as opposed to an UPGRADE. UPDATES should always be free.

    I want to make 8.1 available for those in my organization running PCs because it filled in a few gaps that 8 had. I saw so much potential in business and education applications (Yes, in Windows 8) But, now I have to go to my boss and let them know we have a bunch of Windows 8 licences that are next to useless. We'll be sticking with Windows 7 for the foreseeable future, I guess.

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013 4:18 PM
  • I agree (both for a clear answer and for the limitations put on this update).   To publicize Windows 8.1 as a free upgrade and then exclude it as an option for business customers that pay for volume licenses seems a little fishy to me.  I also think that Microsoft's approach at making people upgrade through the store (if you don't have a volume license) is a mistake.  It should be an optional update in Windows Update.  It seems like this is a great way to make Windows 8 even more distasteful for businesses.  Now I have to decide if I want to train teachers on Ubuntu, or move them back to Windows 7 (and I did find some of the Windows 8 apps so useful for teachers too).

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013 12:10 AM
  • From the Microsoft Volume Licensing site:

    "Organizations that acquired Windows 8 Pro through a volume license agreement are licensed for Windows 8.1 Pro even if Software Assurance for the Windows desktop operating system expired prior to the release of Windows 8.1 Pro.  This does not apply to Windows 8 Enterprise; you must have active Software Assurance for the Windows desktop operating system to have rights to Windows 8.1 Enterprise."

    See this site under: "Existing Customer" -> "Installation, Upgrades, Activation" -> "Upgrades" -> "... devices not covered under Software Assurance..."

    http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/windows8-1.aspx

    • Proposed as answer by FredVi Friday, February 14, 2014 10:34 AM
    • Unproposed as answer by FredVi Friday, February 14, 2014 10:34 AM
    • Proposed as answer by Alexander 'al1k' Starostin Wednesday, July 12, 2017 8:07 AM
    Wednesday, November 27, 2013 5:00 PM
  • Couldn't agree more with both the quality answer and ramifications of the message. I thought the aim was to get as many people as possible onto Windows 8.1. Why penalise those that have paid hansomely? I had vs2012 Ultimate with msdn and couldn't afford the renewal at the ultimate level and discovered downgrading to premium would invalid my ultimate perpetual licenses. 

    My main dev box has Win 8 ent, so I have to 

    1) wipe it clean,

    2) install win 8 pro (using my current retail key)

    3) download in excess of 3gb to update to win 8.1 pro

    4) reinstall sql developer sku as well as countless databases

    5) reinstall vs2012

    6) reapply numerous extensions

    7) rejig vs2012 environment UI

    8) re-install countless utilities 

    Yes thank you Microsoft its not like you have had much money from me over the years.

    Seems really doable don't you think?

    Free upgrade as in read the small print (if you have the time and boy do you need to make the time)
    • Edited by DiggerMeUp Wednesday, November 27, 2013 7:21 PM
    Wednesday, November 27, 2013 7:12 PM
  • It is so many levels of bad that I really hope this entire corporation is in the tank as soon as possible. I am giving up at last, it is just to painful to hang on at this point. They should do a version of Groundhog day just for Microsoft. It is obvious they can't grasp simple concepts, no matter how many times the mistake is made.
    Friday, December 20, 2013 7:47 PM
  • Microsoft's new slogan for Enterprise Customers should read "Dollars In, Garbage Out".

    Friday, December 20, 2013 7:49 PM
  • Even though this only disrupts my workcenter it makes me want to dump my personal surface, wp8, win 8 pro laptop, xbox, and all the rest. The UI is gorgeous but the rest is still the same old Microsoft nonsense. I don't know how they could do such a good job with the UI but leave everything else looking like they are still a bunch a frantic nervy headless chickens.

    Friday, December 20, 2013 7:56 PM
  • oh, and after having Zune pass since 2008 I will be saying goodbye. Xbox music is just as confusing and absurd as the decision to not let 8.1 update be available.
    Friday, December 20, 2013 7:58 PM
  • I agree. This is absolutely ridiculous. Windows 8.1 is a service pack to Windows 8. They are not separate operating systems. If you had done this with Windows XP SP1, you customer base would have switched to Apple faster than you can say Safari. This update needs to be available AS AN UPDATE.

    Please, stop creating crippleware. You've got the best developers. You've got the best platforms. Take care of your customers, we're paying more than we would elsewhere for a reason.

    Sunday, January 26, 2014 8:58 PM
  • Why are retail and OEM users eligible for a free update, but volume licence customers aren't without Software Assurance? Volume license customers are shelling out thousands of dollars for several licenses ALONE than any average single consumer buying a single $300 POS laptop from Staples, and they're the ones that get the free update?

    it's worse than you think. even if you went to the store to get one of those cheap POS computers for the Win8 OEM license, the license is embedded in the hardware (no more Product Key sticker)! You either run it on the system it was made for, or you don't run it at all.

    and good luck finding a media to reinstall if the hard drive dies. you either have to get it sraight from the manufacturer, or not at all. regular Win8 media won't work with embedded Product Keys...

    I can understand Software Assurance being necessary for a MAJOR UPGRADE, like from Windows 8 to whatever Windows 9 turns out to be. But retail/OEM consumers aren't paying into Software Assurance to get 8.1 - why do VL purchasers have to?

    yeah, honestly, i don't know why they didn't just tool a few things around and rename it Windows 9, like they did with Vista and Win7 (check version numbers. Win7 is actually Windows v.6.1!). especially if they were going to charge you for the update like that...

    Wednesday, May 28, 2014 9:43 PM
  • Why penalise those that have paid hansomely?

    Yes thank you Microsoft its not like you have had much money from me over the years.

    i think that the idea was, if you had the money to afford the "high-end" Windows 8 Enterprise, you should be able to afford a new Windows every chance they get to charge you :D

    i've always said that Microsoft doesn't know how people use computers. as proof, if they did, i wouldn't have to change so many settings on all my clients' computers (at their behest) in order for things to function efficiently...

    • Edited by darkflux Wednesday, May 28, 2014 9:54 PM addendum
    Wednesday, May 28, 2014 9:51 PM
  • Hello,

    on the volume licensing document, we have the following info:

    Rights to Windows 8.1 Pro for Windows 8 Pro Customers: Organizations that acquired Windows 8 Pro through a Volume Licensing agreement are licensed for Windows 8.1 Pro even if their Software Assurance for the Windows desktop operating system expired prior to the release of Windows 8.1 Pro.

    thanks

    diramoh

    • Proposed as answer by joesain Friday, April 07, 2017 3:04 PM
    Friday, May 30, 2014 1:12 PM
  • Boy it took me a loooong time to find out why we couldn't update through the Windows Store. This page explains everything clearly.

    Good news is we have a new key for Windows 8.1,  I am downloading the ISO file now. I just want to add this PITA: why doesn't MS include only the Update in the downloads? I have to download 3GB+ of Win 8.1!!

    If I am missing something please let me know, I have another hour to wait for it to complete.

    (font suddenly got smaller, can't change the size, is this due to Chrome?)



    Thursday, July 03, 2014 9:15 PM
  • For the small businesses and non-profits I work with, this will be the last version of Windows.  Period.  Linux or Mac OSX, here I come.  I was perfectly happy supporting windows in smaller environments but the hoops I'm having to jump through to update the OEM version of Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 are beyond ridiculous at this point.  I wish I would have told them to stick with Windows 7.  If MS thinks this is going to endear them to people they need to think again.  I hope whoever came up with this brilliant strategy followed Sinofsky out the door.
    Sunday, July 20, 2014 6:21 PM
  • "I wish I would have told them to stick with Windows 7"

    I've insisted that ALL of my consumer and business clients avoid Windows 8 like the plague from day one. Most I tell that they're find with sticking with XP until their hardware fries, because I've virus-proofed their systems by having all client work done from limited accounts only.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014 12:24 AM