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Will a Windows 8.1 OEM product key activate a Windows 8.1 retail ISO easily?

Last response: in Windows 8
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May 5, 2014 9:07:15 PM

Hi!
Like so many people, I bought a Windows 8.1 x64 laptop and want to swap in a solid state drive. I've been doing my research on the process of activating a new copy of Windows with my OEM key, but it's difficult to find information that doesn't involve complicated workarounds that are necessary for people who are using Windows 8 keys to activate Windows 8.1, or who want to get a Windows 8.1 ISO using a Windows 8 key, and so on. Given that I'm using an original OEM 8.1 key to activate a Windows 8.1 ISO, is this process going to be as simple as I hope? Any guidance here would be great!

I've already used RWEverything to get the OEM key from the BIOS settings, and even called Microsoft to confirm that it was a valid product key. However, I found that the process of acquiring a Windows 8.1 ISO through Microsoft or Lenovo was essentially impossible, and so I turned to unofficial channels to acquire a pair of (I hope) working ISOs. Specifically, these are en_windows_8_1_x64_dvd_2707217.iso and en_windows_8_x64_dvd_915440.iso. After burning the images and booting one of them up for a fresh install of Windows on the solid state drive, I believe I'm supposed to use a generic key to install, and then change to my OEM key to activate. I have Windows 8.1 core, by the way, and both ISOs contain both Core and Pro versions of Windows 8.1. I'm not trying to use this process to acquire a Pro copy; I'm fine sticking with my Core version.

Does anyone know if I'm likely to encounter serious difficulties, or should this go smoothly based on what the community knows? It's sad, of course, that we have to jump through so many hoops to install an SSD. If Microsoft would allow OEM keys to make recovery media, there would be about 99% fewer threads on this topic!

Thanks for any help :) 

More about : windows oem product key activate windows retail iso easily

a c 417 * Windows 8
May 5, 2014 9:56:42 PM

Suspect a lot depends on the quality of the ISOs you obtained, not having been tempted to use 'unofficial' channels I can't comment.. I'm in the process of looking for a cheap netbook with W8 pre-installed to experiment with various other options than buying a set of Recovery disks from the manufacturers.
There are alternatives to what you're attempting.
Best bet is to create a Recovery Drive using a large capacity USB Pendrive (Check the size of your Recovery Partition in Disk Manager).
Type 'Create' at your Start Screen and choose 'Create a Recovery Drive' You will be given the option of copying your Recovery Partition.
Once created, swap drives, boot from USB and use the Repair/Troubleshoot/Advanced Options/ Reset your PC to create a Factory Install of your OS to your SSD. (Should automatically be activated)
Another alternative would be to use EaseUs Partition Manager to migrate the contents of your drive to your SSD.
http://www.partition-tool.com/personal.htm
May 5, 2014 10:03:20 PM

dodger46 said:
There are alternatives to what you're attempting.
Best bet is to create a Recovery Drive using a large capacity USB Pendrive (Check the size of your Recovery Partition in Disk Manager).
Type 'Create' at your Start Screen and choose 'Create a Recovery Drive' You will be given the option of copying your Recovery Partition.
Once created, swap drives, boot from USB and use the Repair/Troubleshoot/Advanced Options/ Reset your PC to create a Factory Install of your OS to your SSD. (Should automatically be activated)
Another alternative would be to use EaseUs Partition Manager to migrate the contents of your drive to your SSD.
http://www.partition-tool.com/personal.htm


These options sound really amazing! I'm surprised I haven't found any writeups by people who've tried them. I think I might give the first of those a shot, and if I do, I'll let you know how it works out! Thanks!
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May 8, 2014 6:39:42 AM

Just an FYI: it worked flawlessly. I burned an image of en_windows_8_1_dvd_2707217.iso after verifying the SHA1 hash to ensure it was an unaltered, original Windows install disk, swapped in the SSD and booted from the optical drive, installed Windows, no problem at all. When it asked for a key, I gave it my Windows 8.1 OEM key that I had extracted from the BIOS with RW-Everything, and windows installation accepted it with no problems. Activation went forward without a hitch, Windows downloaded all updates without complaint, and I'm good to go!

tl;dr - If you've got a Windows 8.1 OEM laptop and want to install a fresh copy of Windows 8.1, the process is relatively easy.
a c 417 * Windows 8
May 8, 2014 7:19:04 AM

JonHLee said:
Just an FYI: it worked flawlessly. I burned an image of en_windows_8_1_dvd_2707217.iso after verifying the SHA1 hash to ensure it was an unaltered, original Windows install disk, swapped in the SSD and booted from the optical drive, installed Windows, no problem at all. When it asked for a key, I gave it my Windows 8.1 OEM key that I had extracted from the BIOS with RW-Everything, and windows installation accepted it with no problems. Activation went forward without a hitch, Windows downloaded all updates without complaint, and I'm good to go!

tl;dr - If you've got a Windows 8.1 OEM laptop and want to install a fresh copy of Windows 8.1, the process is relatively easy.

Good that it worked out fine for you. Problem is we have to find a way to d'load the ISO from a legal source for Tom's and I suspect that is not going to be easy. Also those with OEM installs whose Hard drives fail will have difficulty in retrieving their Product Key, that's where the Generic Key comes in useful.
July 11, 2014 3:02:10 AM

JonHLee said:
Just an FYI: it worked flawlessly. I burned an image of en_windows_8_1_dvd_2707217.iso after verifying the SHA1 hash to ensure it was an unaltered, original Windows install disk, swapped in the SSD and booted from the optical drive, installed Windows, no problem at all. When it asked for a key, I gave it my Windows 8.1 OEM key that I had extracted from the BIOS with RW-Everything, and windows installation accepted it with no problems. Activation went forward without a hitch, Windows downloaded all updates without complaint, and I'm good to go!

tl;dr - If you've got a Windows 8.1 OEM laptop and want to install a fresh copy of Windows 8.1, the process is relatively easy.

hi i am facing your exact same problem and i need a windows 8.1 x64 OEM iso so it would be activated through my UEFI key because every retail 8.1 version can't accept my key . so please provide me a link for your version so i'd download it
a c 417 * Windows 8
July 11, 2014 3:19:41 AM

Mizo Zizo said:
JonHLee said:
Just an FYI: it worked flawlessly. I burned an image of en_windows_8_1_dvd_2707217.iso after verifying the SHA1 hash to ensure it was an unaltered, original Windows install disk, swapped in the SSD and booted from the optical drive, installed Windows, no problem at all. When it asked for a key, I gave it my Windows 8.1 OEM key that I had extracted from the BIOS with RW-Everything, and windows installation accepted it with no problems. Activation went forward without a hitch, Windows downloaded all updates without complaint, and I'm good to go!

tl;dr - If you've got a Windows 8.1 OEM laptop and want to install a fresh copy of Windows 8.1, the process is relatively easy.

hi i am facing your exact same problem and i need a windows 8.1 x64 OEM iso so it would be activated through my UEFI key because every retail 8.1 version can't accept my key . so please provide me a link for your version so i'd download it

Do you have access to a Retail disk?

July 11, 2014 5:09:14 AM

dodger46 said:
Mizo Zizo said:
JonHLee said:
Just an FYI: it worked flawlessly. I burned an image of en_windows_8_1_dvd_2707217.iso after verifying the SHA1 hash to ensure it was an unaltered, original Windows install disk, swapped in the SSD and booted from the optical drive, installed Windows, no problem at all. When it asked for a key, I gave it my Windows 8.1 OEM key that I had extracted from the BIOS with RW-Everything, and windows installation accepted it with no problems. Activation went forward without a hitch, Windows downloaded all updates without complaint, and I'm good to go!

tl;dr - If you've got a Windows 8.1 OEM laptop and want to install a fresh copy of Windows 8.1, the process is relatively easy.

hi i am facing your exact same problem and i need a windows 8.1 x64 OEM iso so it would be activated through my UEFI key because every retail 8.1 version can't accept my key . so please provide me a link for your version so i'd download it

Do you have access to a Retail disk?



yes but when i enter my OEM key that i extracted from the bios it says that the key isn't for this retail version
i need an untouched windows 8.1 x64 oem iso
a c 417 * Windows 8
July 11, 2014 5:19:33 AM

Busy for next 2 hours, I'll get back to you...
a c 417 * Windows 8
July 11, 2014 9:35:11 AM

Presume you can't install with disk as you can't get past key stage. Way round this is to d'load Infra Recorder and use it to create an ISO .
http://download.cnet.com/Infra-Recorder/3000-2646_4-106...
Use Action/Copy Disk/to a Disk Image.
Once you have the ISO you'll need a min 4Gb USB Flash, use YUMI to create a bootable USB
http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-multiboot-usb-creator/

Scroll down to



Scroll down to Windows Distro, check 'Format' Box if 1st time



Now open Notepad and copy below

[EditionID]

Professional

[Channel]

Retail

[VL]

0



(Assuming you have 8.1 Pro disk)
Use 'Save As' to save the txt as ei.cfg in the 'Sources' folder on your USB

Boot from USB and you'll be able to install 8.1 without a Key.
Once loaded, windows key plus 'R' and type slui 3 then Enter.
Type your OEM Key and activate


!