Windows 8 Product Activation
This document pertains to HP and Compaq PCs with Windows 8.
To help prevent software piracy, Microsoft requires that Windows 8 is activated before it can be used. All HP and Compaq computers that come with Windows 8 installed will activate automatically once connected to the Internet, to make it easier for you to set up your computer. However, if you decide to install a different version of Windows 8 (such as an upgrade to the Enterprise version) or a store-bought copy of Windows 8, you will need to activate it as part of the installation process. There may also be situations when Windows prompts you for product activation even though the product has already been activated.
Types of Windows 8 activation
There are two methods for activating Windows 8: Windows Product Activation and OEM Activation 3.0 .
- Windows Product Activation (WPA) sends an installation ID number to Microsoft before Windows is verified and then activated. WPA involves two numbers. One is an Installation ID (generated by entering a Windows 8 product key) that the computer owner submits to Microsoft, either over the Internet or by phone. The second is a Confirmation ID, assigned by Microsoft, which is used to activate the operating system’s software. This method is used when upgrading or installing Windows 8 from disc (not HP System Recovery).
- OEM Activation 3.0 (OA3) takes place at the factory. A digital product key (DPK) is installed on the motherboard BIOS during the manufacturing process. Windows 8 will activate automatically the first time the computer is connected to the Internet. With OA3-activated systems, most of the computer's hardware can be replaced without needing to re-activate the software through Microsoft.
Reasons Windows 8 may need to be activated again
If your computer came with Windows 8 pre-installed, the following conditions may cause Windows to require activation through Microsoft:
- Upgrading Windows.
- Completing an HP System Recovery after recovering from HP Recovery Discs.
- Installing certain device drivers and software.
- Uninstalling certain operating system software or files.
- Updating the BIOS or installing a new BIOS flash from a company other than HP.
- Replacing the motherboard with one that does not contain the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) version of the BIOS.
Windows Activation terms
The following list explains the terms that are used during the activation process:
- Windows Product Activation (WPA) - Requires a person to unlock the computer before Windows can be used.
- OEM Activation 3.0 (OA3) - No personal intervention is normally required to activate Windows, but the computer must be connected to the Internet for Windows to activate automatically.
- End-User License Agreement (EULA) - The agreement that the user of Windows must accept in order to use the Windows product.
- Certificate of Authenticity (COA) - A proof of ownership identification method to help prove that a Windows product is not counterfeit or copied. The COA could be in the form of a label that contains a bar code and product key.
- Genuine Microsoft Label (GML) - A label included on computers that came with Windows 8 pre-installed. The GML indicates which version of Windows 8 was originally installed on the computer.
- Product Key - a 25-character alphanumeric code used to activate Windows.
- Installation Identification Number - Generated based on the product key entered during Windows setup.
- Confirmation Identification Number - Number that allows you to complete the activation process.
Activate Windows 8 over the Internet
The quickest, and easiest, way to activate your copy of Windows 8 is to activate it over the Internet. If you do not have an Internet connection, or if it is inconvenient to make a network connection, see Other ways to activate Windows 8 .
NOTE:You must be signed in as an administrator to activate Windows 8.
To activate Windows 8 over the Internet:
- Connect to the Internet.
- Press the Windows + W key to search Settings.Type system into the Search field.
- Click System from the list of results.
- In the System window, scroll down to Windows activation , and then click View details in Windows Activation .
- In the Windows Activation window, select Activate .If a User Account Control message appears, enter your password or provide confirmation.
- Type the product key into the Product key field.The product key could be printed on the Windows 8 disc packaging, or included in an email you received after purchasing and downloading Windows 8.If you have the Windows 8 disc packaging, apply the Windows 8 Certificate of Authenticity label to your computer for easy reference in the future.
- Windows automatically detects whether the product key is valid. If you see the message Your product key works! Continue when you're ready , click Activate .If a User Account Control message appears, enter your password or provide confirmation.
- If product activation was successful, a success screen is shown. Click Close .If activation was not successful, check the key and try entering it again, or continue to the next section, Other ways to activate Windows 8 .
- The Windows Activation screen shows that Windows 8 is now activated. You have the option to add features by clicking Add features to your edition , or click OK to exit Windows Activation without adding features.
Once you have successfully activated Windows 8, the System application in the Control Panel indicates that Windows is activated.
Other ways to activate Windows 8
Other ways that you can activate Windows 8 are explained below.
If Windows 8 activation over the Internet is not possible, activate the product by contacting Microsoft over the phone.
NOTE:When you contact Microsoft, do not request a “new” activation code. If you do, Microsoft may direct you to purchase a new operating system. If the operating system does not need to be replaced, simply activate or reactivate your existing installation.
To activate Windows 8 over the phone:
- Disconnect the computer from the Internet.
- Press the Windows + W key.Type system into the Search field.
- Click System from the list of results.
- In the System window, scroll down to Windows activation , then click View details in Windows Activation .
- In the Windows Activation window, select Activate by phone .
- On the Click the nearest location drop-down menu, select the most appropriate country/region, and then click Next .
- Call the number provided in the Activate Windows by phone window. Be prepared to enter the installation ID (the series of numbers listed under Step 2: Provide these numbers when you're asked ).
- Follow the instructions from the telephone system and write down the confirmation ID.
- Enter the confirmation ID numbers into fields A through H, in the same sequence as the telephone system provided them. When done, click Activate .
Once you have successfully activated Windows 8, the System application in the Control Panel indicates Windows is activated.
If your computer came with Windows 8 pre-installed and you have not replaced the motherboard, HP System Recovery can be used as an alternative to performing either an online or telephone activation. HP System Recovery restores Windows 8 to its original factory condition and reinstalls the original operating system. After an HP System Recovery, Windows 8 will activate automatically when the computer is connected to the Internet.
For more information about System Recovery, refer to the HP support document Performing an HP System Recovery (Windows 8) .
After performing an HP System Recovery, or re-installing Windows 8, it should not be necessary to repeat the activation process. There are several different recovery situations to consider.
- If the computer shipped with Windows 8 and the Recovery Manager is functional, use the Recovery Manager to restore the computer to its default factory conditions. Windows 8 activates automatically when connected to the Internet.
- If the computer shipped with Windows 8 but the Recovery Manager is not functional, use the recovery discs to restore the computer to its default factory conditions. Windows 8 activates automatically when connected to the Internet.
- If the computer shipped with an earlier version of Windows but included an upgrade disc for Windows 8 provided by HP, restore the computer to its default factory conditions and then upgrade again to Windows 8. Windows 8 activates automatically when connected to the Internet.
- If the computer shipped with an earlier version of Windows and you upgraded or custom-installed a full retail version of Windows 8, use the Microsoft DVD to re-install Windows 8. Windows 8 activates automatically when connected to the Internet.
- If the computer shipped with Windows 8 and the Recovery Manager is not functional, but you have not created the recovery discs, you can order a Windows 8 Recovery DVD. You may need to contact Microsoft to activate Windows 8.
Troubleshooting Windows 8 activation errors
If an error code appears while attempting to activate Windows, try the solutions below to solve the problem. If you continue to get an error message, contact HP (in English) to get support. When contacting HP, please have your model number, product number, and serial number ready.
|Error message||What the error message means||Possible solutions|
|Windows isn't activated. This PC isn't activated anymore. If you reinstalled Windows or made changes to your hardware recently, you can contact support for help.||Windows 8 is not activated on the computer for reasons such as changes in the hardware configuration or because Windows 8 was activated multiple times on the computer.||Contact HP support for assistance.|
|Activate Windows. You’re running Windows in safe mode. Restart Windows normally to get everything you need to activate.||Windows 8 activation is not possible in safe mode.||Restart in normal mode from Windows
: Press the Windows
+ R key, type msconfig
into the Open
field, and click OK
. On the General
tab of the System Configuration tool, select the Normal startup
radio button, and click OK
. On the System Configuration pop-up window, click Restart|
Contact HP support if you need further assistance.
|Activate Windows. There's a problem with activation. Please contact the manufacturer of your PC, or buy a new key.||There is a problem with the product key.||Contact HP support for assistance.|
|Activate Windows. The product key on this PC didn't work. You might need to contact the company that built this computer, or buy a new key.||There is a problem with the product key.||Contact HP support for assistance.|
|Windows isn't activated. The product key didn't work. Try a different key, or buy a new one.||Windows is unable to process the product key due to a problem in manufacturing, a problem with the computer, an incomplete reinstallation of Windows 8, an invalid product key, or because the key was not entered correctly.|
|Windows isn't activated. Your license to use this evaluation version of Windows has expired.||The free trial for Windows 8 Consumer Preview has ended, and the license is no longer valid.||Purchase the latest version of Windows 8, or restore the computer to a previous operating system using recovery or installation media. For more information, see:|
|Windows isn't activated. This product key is already being used on another PC. Try a different key, or buy a new one.||In most cases, Microsoft allows a product key to be installed on only one computer at a time.|
|Windows isn't activated. This preinstalled version of Windows can't be activated. Contact your PC manufacturer for assistance, or buy a new key.||Windows 8 is not activated on the computer for reasons such as changes in the hardware configuration or a problem in manufacturing.||Contact HP support for assistance.|
|Windows isn't activated. Enter a new product key to activate Windows.||Windows 8 is not preinstalled on the computer, and no product key is configured.||Contact HP support for assistance.|
|Windows isn't activated. The product key doesn't match the region you're in, so try a different key.||The product key is not for the region specified in your location settings.|
|Windows isn't activated. The product key can only be used to restore Windows on PCs that have Windows pre-installed. You can activate Windows on the phone.||The Windows 8 license installed on the computer does not match the type of key entered.|
|Windows isn't activated. There are files on your PC that are preventing activation. You need to buy and reinstall a new version of Windows.||There are files on the computer that are blocking Windows 8 from being activated.|
|Windows isn't activated. Windows couldn't be activated right now. We'll keep trying to activate it for you.||Windows is not able to connect with the online activation service.|
|Windows isn't activated. If you want to activate online, you need to connect to the Internet—or you can call us.||Your computer is not connected to the Internet.||Connect to the Internet, or follow the directions in Activate Windows 8 over the phone .|
|Windows isn't activated. The version of Windows is expired. Install the latest version to activate.||A trial or evaluation version of Windows 8 is installed, and the license is no longer valid.|
Microsoft Product Activation website (in English)
Microsoft's Get help with activation errors website
NOTE:One or more of the links above will take you outside the Hewlett-Packard Web site. HP does not control and is not responsible for information outside the HP Web site.