Monday, August 12, 2013

Change a Windows 8 Product Key

I purchased a large number of Windows 8 Update Keys, but I needed clean installs of Windows 8 on each machine.

Instead of something like "Enter your previous Windows Key" to install it, Microsoft decided to not let the install proceed without the previous version already existing.  I needed a way to change the product key after a clean install with an image copy without installing a previous version of Windows again for every computer.

I found a lot of solutions that sometimes worked, sometimes not.  The one that seemed to work every time for me I found at the Microsoft Community Forums.

The steps are:

  1. Run the registry editor (regedit.exe) 
  2. Find the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\OOBE 
  3. Change the value for the key MediaBootInstall from 1 to 0 
  4. Open an elevated command prompt by Running as Administrator
  5. Run slmgr -rearm 
  6. Reboot your computer
  7. Run slui 3
  8. Change your product key and activate Windows