Tip-of-the-Day – Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise Activation #ITPro #Windows8

Did you download Windows 8 Enterprise using your MSDN or TechNet subscription for testing in your lab?  As the full-featured "business edition" of Windows 8, the Enterprise SKU defaults to using corporate Volume License activation on a business network.  On a business network, this process provides a simplified end-user activation experience, because Windows 8 Enterprise automatically determines which servers to activate against using DNS without you needing to manage individual activation keys for each PC.  To learn more about the Windows 8 Volume License activation process on a business network and the new Active Directory-based activation process, click here.

But, what if I'm testing Windows 8 Enterprise in an isolated lab environment?

This VL activation process works well in a business environment to simplify and automate the overall activation experience, but if you're testing Windows 8 Enterprise in an isolated environment, then you'll encounter an error during the activation process and activation will not successfully complete.  This is because your Windows 8 Enterprise PC cannot find the appropriate DNS records to determine how to automatically activate.  But, there's an alternative! In your TechNet and/or MSDN subscription portal, you have the ability to claim a "Multiple Activation Key" (MAK) for activating Windows 8 Enterprise by clicking the "Product Keys" button.  The MAK is an alternative Product Key that doesn't require the same corporate VL activation process on a business network.

Great! I've got my MAK - What do I do now?

To enter your MAK on Windows 8 Enterprise and successfully activate, you can complete one of the following steps:

  • Command Line option:

    Hit the Windows+R hotkeys to open the Run box and run the following command:

    slmgr -ipk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx

  • GUI option:

    Hit the Windows+R hotkeys to open the Run box and run the following command:

    slui.exe 3

    This command will open the following Dialog Box in which you can manually enter your MAK:

Enter your MAK in the "Product Key" field shown above, click the "Activate" button and you should be good to go!



Comments (34)
  1. KeithMayer says:

    Hi YMish,

    You may have a network-related problem contacting DNS or the product key entered may be a KMS key instead of a MAK key.  Please verify that your Internet connectivity is working and you are entering a Multiple Activation (MAK) key.

    If you're still experiencing issues, please post the exact error code you're receiving – that may give a better indication of the problem being experienced and we may be able to help you more.

    In the meantime, you may also find the following KB article helpful in troubleshooting:  support.microsoft.com/…/938450



  2. KeithMayer says:

    Hi Net Master

    slmgr /rearm doesn't activate a Windows OS.  It simply resets the "Grace period" – separate activation is still required to permanently license the product.

    Hope this helps!


  3. KeithMayer says:

    HI JT,

    You can license Windows 8 Enterprise via a business volume licensing agreement or via a Windows Intune subscription.  You can check out Windows Intune at http://www.windowsintune.com.

    Alternatively, for evaluation and testing, you can subscribe to TechNet and receive a Windows 8 Enterprise MAK key license for evaluation purposes.  You can find more details on TechNet subscriptions at technet.microsoft.com/subscriptions

    Hope this helps!


  4. KeithMayer says:

    One additional update to the post above … If your Windows 8 Enterprise PC is completely isolated from Internet connectivity, you may also use the "slui.exe" command with a "4" parameter to manually perform telephone activation, such as:

    slui.exe 4

    Hope this helps,


  5. KeithMayer says:

    Hi David,

    The Windows 8 Enterprise MAK keys distributed to TechNet and MSDN subscribers permit up to 20 activations.  Note that since the licenses for TechNet and MSDN are per-subscriber for development and testing, you can always submit a request for additional activations if you run out by contacting the subscription customer service center at msdn.microsoft.com/…/aa948875.aspx.  

    For Volume Licensing customers, the Windows 8 MAK key activation limit is dependent upon the licensing agreement.  You can login at the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) at http://www.microsoft.com/…/manage-my-agreements.aspx for details on your specific Volume Licensing agreement.

    In addition, you can use the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) as a free downloadable tool to confirm the # of remaining activations on any MAK key.  When using Windows 8 MAK keys, you'll want to download the latest version of the VAMT that is included as a component of the Windows 8 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK).  You may download the Windows 8 ADK at: http://www.microsoft.com/…/details.aspx.

    Hope this helps!


  6. KeithMayer says:

    Hi Nico,

    It sounds like you may be either entering a KMS key instead of a MAK key, or you don't have Internet connectivity from the machine that you're trying to activate (or a firewall is blocking activation attempts).

    Please verify that you are using a MAK key and that you also have working internet connectivity from the PC you are attempting to activate.

    Hope this helps!


  7. Anonymous says:

    (Ugh, hope this isn't a repost – the site seems to have gobbled up my first attempt.)

    I am using an MSDN issued MAK key for Windows 8 Enterprise, as a Windows To Go installation – actually, a couple of different installations. Windows keeps wanting to reactivate when I use the WtG drive on different machines. So I seem to have used up the 20 activations without actually having 20 machines to show for it.. This seems like a really big problem with Windows To Go for MSDN members. I got around it because by dumb luck I just happened to renew MSDN last week, so I have a new MAK to use. I am pretty sure I would feel all hosed up if I hadn't just renewed. But now I am afraid to actually use my WtG drive in a true WtG fashion on different machines.

  8. KeithMayer says:

    Hi Thogwiloc,

    Windows-to-Go requires volume activation with either a KMS or the new Active Directory-based activation.  You’ll find more details here:


    Best regards,


  9. Tom Youngbar says:

    Perfect!  Worked like a charm.

  10. YMish says:

    I am having a peculiar problem. After entering the product key an error dialogue pops up, it mention dns server, folder cannot be found. Please help.

  11. David F. says:

    Keith, do you know what the activation limit is for the MAK key?  We have one ready to go but I'd like to have an idea how many we get before we start using it.  Thanks.


  12. Ian L says:

    Great info. Only missing the error one gets when to activate Windows 8 Enterprise on a network without a KMS on the network: "No DNS Servers Configured: Code 0x8007267C". (Posting this comment so that one can find this blog entry in search engines.)

  13. Austin says:

    This helped me big time. Thanks a million. 🙂

  14. Mohamed Sami says:

    Thank you, to the point 🙂

  15. fgonzalez says:


  16. MPenman says:

    Nice and short straight to the point thanks

  17. Don says:

    Keith, thank you for this. Very fast and worked perfectly

  18. Habeeb says:

    Thanks! Saved a lot of time! 🙂

  19. youssef84 says:


  20. John says:

    Thank you Keith.  Most excellent.

  21. Nico2000 says:

    all iget is "RPC server unavailable". What does that mean?

  22. brad says:

    THANK YOU!!!! Couldn't activate using the standard activate windows message. Went through your steps and activated in 2 minutes. You're awesome!

  23. T says:

    totally awesome!  thank you!

  24. paras says:

    Thanks Keith, as always your post are always helpful .

  25. Debasish Jena says:


  26. Debasish Jena says:

    this is very good

  27. debasish jena says:


  28. JT Bill says:

    hey, how do I get the MAK key? because I'm not a business man

  29. Sankara Narayanan says:

    Nice Info…

  30. Krishna Tripathi says:

    Thanks a lot, worked liked a charm .

  31. Net master says:

    dr…..!! can you give a command prompt code like "slmgr -rearm"  to active wibdows 8

  32. Roy Nay says:

    Very good. Thank you very much. It worked like a charm. Especially useful just to hit the desktop from the Windows Explorer interface, hit Windows Explorer and just put the slmgr command right into the address bar. This method worked better for me because I was doing Hyper-V remote desktopped and didn't feel like dealing with the Metro UI (nor could I find it when looking via Search on the Metro UI). Thanks again!

  33. Aniket says:

    Thanks mate. Been trhu hell while installing and activating the same. Your trick finally worked

  34. mubeenmusthafa says:

    error 8007267c for windows 8 pro

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