How to activate Windows 8.1 for free: 7 steps (with pictures)

How to activate Windows 8.1 for free: 7 steps (with pictures)
How to activate Windows 8.1 for free: 7 steps (with pictures)
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When you purchase Windows 8.1 for the first time, you must activate it before a certain date in order to continue using it. Activating this program is simple. Instructions and activation key are already included in the installation package. If for some reason you lose the activation key, there are other ways to activate the operating system.

Steps

Part 1 of 2: recover a lost key

Activate Windows 8.1 for Free Step 1

Step 1. Download a key recovery program

Your Windows product key is buried in the registry, but it can easily be extracted using a key recovery program. Two of the most popular options are ProductKey and Key Finder.

Both of these programs are free and can be downloaded from the developers website. Both offer paid versions, but your Windows key can be retrieved with the free version

Activate Windows 8.1 for Free Step 2

Step 2. Start the recovery program

Usually, you won't need to install the program. Just run it and a list of available keys will be displayed. Find the "Windows" entry to find your key.

Activate Windows 8.1 for Free Step 3

Step 3. Write down the key or copy it

Your key will be listed as "Product Key" or "CD Key". The Windows product key has 25 characters divided into five groups of five characters each.

Part 2 of 2: Activate Windows 8.1

Activate Windows 8.1 for Free Step 4

Step 1. Open the activation window

Open the activation window by pressing ⊞ Win + R and typing slui 3. Press the Enter key to open the window.

Activate Windows 8.1 for Free Step 5

Step 2. Enter your product key

Enter the key you either got, the one you received when you bought Windows, or the one pasted on your computer with a sticker. You don't need to type the dashes, they will be added automatically. Windows will automatically try to activate as soon as the key is entered.

Activate Windows 8.1 for Free Step 6

Step 3. Try the command prompt

If the above steps don't work, you can try entering the key through a command prompt. Press ⊞ Win + X and select “Command Prompt (Admin)”.

  • Type slmgr.vbs / ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX and press Enter, replacing XXXXX with your product key. Be sure to include the dashes. A window should appear with "product key XXXXX installed successfully" written.
  • Type slmgr.vbs / ato and press Enter. A window should appear with written>. "Activating Windows (R) Your Edition". After a while, if the activation was successful, it will say: "Product activated successfully".
Activate Windows 8.1 for Free Step 7

Step 4. Call Microsoft if you still cannot activate your version

If you still have activation issues, you can call Microsoft's automatic activation service. To find the number for your region, press ⊞ Win + R and type slui 4. This will open the window with contact information as well as your installation ID.

Make sure to copy the installation ID, as you will need to state it over the phone. It is long, but essential to identify your computer

Advice

  • Product keys are already included in the Windows 8.1 package. If you already have yours, you won't need to install one through the command prompt.
  • Product keys can only be used on a limited number of computers. If you have reached the maximum number of computers, the key will be declared invalid.
  • This article is written for educational purposes. Always purchase your Windows 8.1 operating system and activate it legally to avoid software issues.
  • For new operating systems, Microsoft has made it easier for users to access the activation key. For Windows 8, the key is contained in the BIOS of the machine and not on a sticker placed on the bottom of the laptop. This has made some users happy, others not.
  • Do not do this with an Xbox, you risk blocking it.

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