Technology content trusted in North America and globally since 1999
8,514 Reviews & Articles | 65,779 News Posts

Ask the Experts Question: How do I activate Windows 8 with my TechNet MSDN key, or change my key?

How do I activate Windows 8 with my TechNet MSDN key, or change my key?

Here's how to activate Windows 8 with just a few easy steps

Question by Julian from Canada | Answered by Cameron Wilmot in Software from Oct 30, 2012 @ 12:36 CDT

I managed to download my Windows 8 Pro ISO from my MSDN TechNet account, but now that I have the shiny new OS installed, how do I activate it with my MSDN key?

Hi Julian,

Another good question regarding Microsoft's latest operating system, and I can answer it for you.

Once you have got done generating your Windows 8 Pro key on the MSDN website, copy it and either keep it copied, or save it into a text file or something similar.


Now in front of your Windows 8 computer, go to the Start Screen / Metro screen and type "cmd", and it will bring up an app list with "Command Prompt" as most likely the only listed program. Right click on it, and click "Run as administrator" at the bottom of the screen. This will open up a black screen, the command prompt, as you can see below.

Now it's just a matter of copying or typing in the following, and then press enter:

slmgr.vbs -ipk 00000-00000-00000-00000-00000

"00000-00000-00000-00000-00000" should be replaced with your actual Windows 8 key. That process should complete fairly quickly, only a few seconds. Next up there is one final command we need to enter, and that is:

slmgr.vbs -ato


Again press enter to execute the command. Now Windows 8 is activated with your MSDN TechNet key. Some users have reported that you need to restart your system for the activation to come into effect, but during our testing, we didn't need to reboot.

Related Tags

Ask us a tech question!

Use the form below to submit a question for Ask the Experts.