How do I activate Windows 8?
I'm trying to personalize my copy of Windows 8 and the system complains that I haven't activated Win8 yet. What the heck? I did that when I installed it on my PC, or so I thought. In any case, Windows 8 is so confusing, how do I activate my copy with my product code?
Jeez, every single question we get about Windows 8 has to mention that it's confusing or hard to find things. D'ya think Microsoft's listening? Maybe Win8SP1 might have a roadmap or 3d flythrough of all the features or "classic" skin you can choose? :)
More seriously, yeah, I encountered the same sort of thing with my own copy of Windows 8 too, as it happens. I installed it within my VMWare Fusion environment, giving the installer the product activation code, but when I got everything up and running, well, it claimed not to be activated. Odd.
As with much of the new operating system interface, however, it turns out to be pretty easy to accomplish if you can a) figure out where to enter the code and b) figure out where the code is in their beautiful new packaging for the operating system.
I'll help you with both!
First off, when you go to Settings -> PC settings and click on "Personalize", here's what I bet you are seeing:
If you look immediately to the left on this same screen, however, you'll see "Activate Windows" is pretty darn hard to miss!
Click on it and you'll be asked for your product code:
Now the puzzle. Where in the Windows 8 packaging is the product key? The system says it's "on the box" but is it?
Here's what the box looks like on the inside:
Turns out that the blue key on the white background that's on the right side of the box is a plastic card. Pull it out...
... and flip it over to find your Windows 8 (Pro, in this case) product code:
Yes, I've blurred some of it out. You don't want my code, do you?
At this point, enter the code exactly as shown into the Windows system. Once you've entered the last key you don't even have to click on anything, it'll check to ensure it's valid and activate your copy of Microsoft Windows 8 automatically. In fact, the "Activate Windows" entry simply vanishes from the PC settings area, which is a bit disconcerting.
Fortunately, there's a secret tool in Windows 8 that you can use to check the status of your activation. Go to the Start Screen and type in "slui". Exactly those letters, no punctuation, no spaces:
There's a matching app. Handy. Click on it to launch activation status utility. If you've entered the code properly - which you likely have if that area vanished from your copy of Win8 - then you should see something like this:
That's it. Easily solved. If you have any problems with your product code, btw, don't forget you can always call Microsoft Customer Support. I did that and it took less than ten minutes to walk through and solve the problem with one of their reps.
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