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Microsoft Nukes 30-Day Grace Period with Windows 8

By - Source: Computerworld | B 66 comments

No more grace period for the Windows platform.

Computerworld reports that Microsoft has eliminated the 30-day grace period used in Windows 7, forcing customers to use a legitimate product key immediately when installing the retail version of Windows 8. That's because the upcoming OS handles activation differently, pushing the Redmond company into tossing out the former "evaluation" period.

According to the report, customers installing Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro will be required to enter a unique product key -- a 25-character alpha-numeric string -- in order to progress to the actual setup menu. If the key isn't provided, then the installation will stop. Microsoft used this same method with the Consumer Preview and Release Preview builds of Windows 8, although Microsoft provided a generic key for these.

After installation, Windows 8 automatically connects to a Microsoft server -- given the machine is connected to the Internet -- to verify that the user's key is valid. If the key is valid, then Windows 8 is activated. If the key is deemed not valid, then the typical non-genuine ritual reportedly kicks in by fading the desktop to a permanent black and displaying a message saying the OS is illegitimate. The PC will then shut down every hour.

For consumers purchasing new PCs with Windows 8 pre-installed, the system will have already been activated, thus the product key steps will only apply to those who are upgrading from an older Windows platform, or are installing the OS on a freshly formatted hard drive. Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro are reportedly loaded on the same disk image, thus the unlocked version depends on the key that's supplied prior to setup.

For Windows 8 Enterprise, the OS ships with a Key Management Service (KMS) client key that's activated by a local machine. There's also the Multiple Activation Key (MAK) method which is used by codes downloaded from TechNet and MSDN and connects with Microsoft's activation servers. Software Assurance customers can actually take Windows 8 Enterprise for a 90-day free evaluation which does not require a product key.

"For customers who will be deploying Windows 8 Enterprise, be assured that the KMS and MAK volume activation methods that were available with Windows 7 Enterprise are still there and work as they did before," said Microsoft's Stephen L. Rose last week. "But there is also a new Active Directory-based Activation method, offering a way to leverage your existing Active Directory infrastructure to simplify the activation process."

In order to use KMS or MAK activation, users will still need to grab new keys from the Volume License Service Center, he said. Even more, those still using a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 computer as a KMS host will also need to install a hotfix to enable Windows 8 Enterprise activation.

Windows 8 and its variants are slated to go retail on October 26, 2012.

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Top Comments
  • 30 Hide
    vmem , August 21, 2012 3:38 PM
    sounds like they're giving the hackers something to do for a month or two...
  • 24 Hide
    Anonymous , August 21, 2012 3:59 PM
    Meh. Like always pirates will boot up, enter a string like 1234567890abcde1234567890, plug in an usb stick with a crack and remove the activation module before connecting to the internet. This is just another FU for the legit customer. Good job, Microsoft
  • 23 Hide
    scannall , August 21, 2012 3:47 PM
    Just not seeing any valid reason to upgrade from 7. Not sure why hackers would either.
Other Comments
    Display all 66 comments.
  • 7 Hide
    davemaster84 , August 21, 2012 3:38 PM
    Doens't seem to hard to hack, whatever why people should bother even trying? Windows 8 will be worst than vista for sure.
  • 30 Hide
    vmem , August 21, 2012 3:38 PM
    sounds like they're giving the hackers something to do for a month or two...
  • 23 Hide
    scannall , August 21, 2012 3:47 PM
    Just not seeing any valid reason to upgrade from 7. Not sure why hackers would either.
  • -8 Hide
    digiex , August 21, 2012 3:51 PM
    Quote:
    ZoomComputerworld reports that Microsoft has eliminated the 30-day grace period used in Windows 7, forcing customers to use a legitimate product key immediately when installing the retail version of Windows 8. That's because the upcoming OS handles activation differently, pushing the Redmond company into tossing out the former "evaluation" period.


    Typo!
  • 15 Hide
    azraa , August 21, 2012 3:51 PM
    Crap! there goes my 1-format-per-month plan! :( 
    I guess that for gaming most of us will just stay with W7

    Soo... they want everybody to go along with them, but do not allow them to try first then buy, even when it looks like a completely new, game-changing product?
    Silly Microsoft u-u
  • 19 Hide
    tinmann , August 21, 2012 3:55 PM
    I see no reason to leave Windows 7 Ultimate.
  • -6 Hide
    internetlad , August 21, 2012 3:57 PM
    KEVIN, STOP USING "NUKES" IN YOUR POSTS, IT MAKES YOU LOOK STUPID.

    -Signed, somebody with sensibility (and caplox)
  • 7 Hide
    nebun , August 21, 2012 3:57 PM
    lol.... they are afraid that people will want their money back...that's how much they don't trust their service pack....i will wait and see what happens
  • 19 Hide
    daglesj , August 21, 2012 3:58 PM
    I really don't think MS expects many current Windows 7 users to move over either.

    This is all about a big gamble to make a new Windows ecosystem for future tablets and touch devices.

    Depending how it works out or not, Windows 9 could be the most interesting OS yet.
  • 19 Hide
    Vorador2 , August 21, 2012 3:58 PM
    As always, this will only annoy legit consumers. Crackers will get around it in no time flat.
  • 24 Hide
    Anonymous , August 21, 2012 3:59 PM
    Meh. Like always pirates will boot up, enter a string like 1234567890abcde1234567890, plug in an usb stick with a crack and remove the activation module before connecting to the internet. This is just another FU for the legit customer. Good job, Microsoft
  • 8 Hide
    inerax , August 21, 2012 4:07 PM
    use a fake key then crack? only change is you have to enter a key.
  • 7 Hide
    price_th , August 21, 2012 4:23 PM
    Just another reason to run out a buy a copy. Then again... maybe not.
  • -2 Hide
    ejb222 , August 21, 2012 4:24 PM
    azraaCrap! there goes my 1-format-per-month plan! I guess that for gaming most of us will just stay with W7Soo... they want everybody to go along with them, but do not allow them to try first then buy, even when it looks like a completely new, game-changing product? Silly Microsoft u-u

    You have the chance to try it with the Release Preview and the Consumer Preview before that. Solid several months of "try it out" time.
  • -1 Hide
    shafe88 , August 21, 2012 4:25 PM
    Quote:
    After installation, Windows 8 automatically connects to a Microsoft server -- given the machine is connected to the Internet -- to verify that the user's key is valid. If the key is valid, then Windows 8 is activated. If the key is deemed not valid, then the typical non-genuine ritual kicks in by fading the desktop to a permanent black and displaying a message saying the OS is illegitimate. The PC will then shut down every hour.
    What about people that don't have their computer connected to the computer, windows wont activate. And what about people that do have a valid key, but but cant activate cause Microsoft says it not valid. I bet the sales for the retail version are gonna be so low, that Microsoft is going resort to making keys invalid just so people aft to fork out more money for a new key that's valid. What about people who buy an oem computer like dell or hp, what do they do if they haft to replace their hard drive and have no recovery disk, how do they install windows to activate windows online or over the phone if their or a friend's ome or retail disk's require a key before installation.
  • 8 Hide
    ejb222 , August 21, 2012 4:25 PM
    davemaster84Doens't seem to hard to hack, whatever why people should bother even trying? Windows 8 will be worst than vista for sure.

    Please explain why it will be worse than Vista. No one seems to be able to explain this yet.
  • -3 Hide
    ohim , August 21, 2012 4:31 PM
    ejb222Please explain why it will be worse than Vista. No one seems to be able to explain this yet.

    he doesn`t know either , he just goes with the herd :)  might be that there`s no legacy start button but he just ignores the other performance gains for a button ...guess this is why apple is so popular these days ... looks over anything else.
  • 2 Hide
    shafe88 , August 21, 2012 4:37 PM
    ejb222You have the chance to try it with the Release Preview and the Consumer Preview before that. Solid several months of "try it out" time.

    What if some one want's to wait till the retail version to try it, or their current computer is to old to run it and they want to wait till they get a new computer to try it. The only reason Microsoft wont let people install Winhate(8) as a trial is because Microsoft is afraid people will try win7 and winhate(8) to compare them and see that win7 is the better choice, and bam their goes the windows app store straight down the drain right along with winhate(8).
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