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If I’m performing a an upgrade to Windows 8, do I have to have the previous version installed, or is just having the key enough?

I had an XP system - formatted the HD then ran Windows 8 Upgrade install. Install was fine.

It cannot activate and gives me the 'this is an upgrade' error. Is there ANY way to fix this (MS Support call or something?) before I scrap the entire Windows 8 install, Reinstall XP, then upgrade to Windows 8 the proper way?

I hate to waste the day's worth of config-the-new-os time if not absolutely necessary.

Error was the 0XC004F061 from Windows 8.

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Why not just call MS Support like you suggested? They'll give you the scoop on what you need to do. :) –  techie007 Dec 15 '12 at 21:48
    
Unless you have a System Builder license you won't be able to upgrade. You should have just selected "Clean Install" from within Windows. –  Ramhound Dec 15 '12 at 22:39
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marked as duplicate by techie007, 8088, Nifle, Simon Sheehan, HackToHell Dec 17 '12 at 5:12

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1 Answer

Since you did a clean install of Windows 8, you should be able to work around the product activation issue as follows:

  1. Open Registry Editor (regedit).

  2. Navigate to the registry key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\OOBE
    
  3. Modify the value MediaBootInstall changing it from 1 to 0.

  4. Open a Command Prompt as Administrator.

  5. In the Administrator Command Prompt window, run:

    slmgr -rearm
    
  6. Restart the computer.

  7. Press Win+Q, type Activate Windows into the Search box and press Enter.

  8. Now enter your product key.

If you have Windows activated at this point, then stop and enjoy.

If at this point it still refuses to accept the product key, then continue on with:

  1. Open a Command Prompt as Administrator.

  2. In the Administrator Command Prompt window, run:

    slmgr -ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
    

    inserting your Product Key instead of XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX.

  3. In the Administrator Command Prompt window, run:

    slmgr -ato
    

Check that Windows is activated now.

If it's STILL not activated (very unlikely), then use the nuclear option:

  1. Install a previous version of Windows onto the blank hard drive.

  2. Install Windows 8 over this version of Windows. Choose to keep Nothing, and delete the windows.old folder after installation.

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Thanks - I actually ended up backing out and reinstalling Windows 7 for now. Going to use Windows 8 as a virtual machine until I am a little more familiar with the OS and interface. Appreciate the help! –  BrandonV Dec 16 '12 at 19:49
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