Windows 8.1 Product Activation with Windows 8 Upgrade Key

A while back I had purchased a copy of Windows 8 Pro (more specifically an "Upgrade" copy) for a custom PC build that had Windows 7 installed. Progressing through the usual installation and successfully upgrading to Windows 8 Pro, I was informed that Windows 8 was not officially supported by Microsoft anymore and that I needed to upgrade to Windows 8.1 to continue receiving security updates and such.

After updating Windows 8 to allow me to upgrade through the Windows Store, I got a notification about downloading and installing Windows 8.1 Pro, and without any noticeable problems at first, the upgrade went smoothly. Though, after upgrading, my Intel HD Graphics drivers stopped working and even after reinstalling drivers, fresh from Intel's website, they refused to work. After checking for any system file corruptions (which detected none) in Command Prompt, the driver problem persisted.

So after much troubleshooting, I decided to go the clean installation route. 

I had heard extensively among other users that Windows 8.1 could be activated with a Windows 8 product key, after going through the installation using the Windows 8.1 Professional KMS product key freely provided by Microsoft. 

Knowing that my Windows 8 product key was definitely genuine, I typed the key into the Product Activation, and Windows immediately gave me an error that the product key inputted was not correct or valid. 

Does "Upgrade" product keys activate differently if activated through retail copies of Windows (say from an ISO downloaded through Microsoft)?

Has anyone ever activated Windows 8.1 Pro using a Windows 8 Pro "Upgrade" product key and done successfully?

Useful information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

 

 

Question Info


Last updated May 20, 2020 Views 3,281 Applies to:

Is this where you got the Key?

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/kmsclientkeys

And which is to do with Volume Licensing.

To use the keys listed here (which are GVLKs), you must first have a KMS host running in your deployment.

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Or did you use this information and generic Key:

https://www.eightforums.com/threads/clean-install-windows-8.2299/

If you have a retail Windows 8 product key and want to clean install Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Update, then you would need to enter a generic key below to install unactivated with, and change the product key later on in step 22 below to activate with your Windows 8 key.

Generic keys to install with:

  • Windows 8 (core): FB4WR-32NVD-4RW79-XQFWH-CYQG3
  • Windows 8 Pro: XKY4K-2NRWR-8F6P2-448RF-CRYQH
  • Windows 8 Pro with Media Center: RR3BN-3YY9P-9D7FC-7J4YF-QGJXW
  • Windows 8.1 (core): 334NH-RXG76-64THK-C7CKG-D3VPT
  • Windows 8.1 (core single language): Y9NXP-XT8MV-PT9TG-97CT3-9D6TC
  • Windows 8.1 Pro: XHQ8N-C3MCJ-RQXB6-WCHYG-C9WKB
  • Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center: GBFNG-2X3TC-8R27F-RMKYB-JK7QT
  • Windows 8.1 Enterprise: MNDGV-M6PKV-DV4DR-CYY8X-2YRXH OR FHQNR-XYXYC-8PMHT-TV4PH-DRQ3H

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You also complicated things by using an Upgrade License from 7 to clean install.

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I suggest that you contact Microsoft: contact MS support 

Regards.

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Bill Smithers - Microsoft MVP July 2013 - June 2020

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So if I'm understanding this correctly, using one of the KMS keys provided in the first link converts my Windows 8.1 clean installation into a VL edition of Windows and will only accept VL product keys when trying to activate Windows?

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It is not for your Windows 8/8.1 unless you use Volume Licensing and which is not for private use anyway.

It clearly states at the link what it is used for.

And it doesn't get converted into anything.

Volume Licensing is completely different licensing to Retail and OEM licensing and is only used by large businesses/corporation where they buy and deploy multiple installations.

I gave you the information of how you are supposed to clean install 8.1 with an 8 key.

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Bill Smithers - Microsoft MVP July 2013 - June 2020

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