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I first installed Windows 8 Pro 64 bits OEM a few months ago. I did a clean install with the same disc and key yesterday, after installing new hardware. I remember having this very same issue with my first installation, but I am absolutely unable to remember or find what I had managed to do. I remember it wasn't one of the obvious solutions, though.

I am unable to activate Windows. In PC settings, I get "Windows cannot be activated right now. Please try again later. If the issue persists, contact your system administrator or technical support to get help." (Rough translation)

When I try to activate it through alternate methods, I get error code 0x8007007B, "The syntax of the file, directory or volume's name is incorrect." (Rough translation)

I have tried the following:

  • Normal method through PC settings
  • Normal method through control panel
  • slui 3 method (which tells me my key is correct when I type it, then an error when I try to do the activation)
  • Running cmd as administrator and using slmgr commands
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Try all steps from here:

and if this doesn't help, contact the support:

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

After calling Microsoft, I discovered the disc and product key my stepfather had brought me was a volume license that can only be activated in a specific work environment, and only used there, so whatever trick I had found the first time was basically illegal. In the end, I bought a license on the last day of the upgrade discount with the upgrade assistant. Which, by the way, can be used with any kind of disc, and can be used in Windows 8 to activate it with a new license by running it in Windows 7 compatibility mode.

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