I have Windows 8 available through MSDN, as such, I have access to a lot of things such as volume licensing, though for now I'm just using the regular single-license Windows 8 Enterprise.

I've tried to get side-loading to work without having a developer license but I can't. Looking over some things on the internet seems to indicate that you need "a side-loading product key". Where can I get such a thing?

  • @avirk that doesn't help me at all. What am I suppose to be looking at? – Earlz Oct 25 '12 at 15:27
  • how to get volune lincense key, section from that link. – avirk Oct 25 '12 at 15:55
  • @avirk I'm looking for a side-loading product key, not a volume license key – Earlz Oct 25 '12 at 16:05
  • technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh852635.aspx it leads me there. – avirk Oct 25 '12 at 16:09
  • @avirk and there is says "To enable sideloading on Windows® 8 Pro device, you must use a sideloading product activation key." where do I get this sideloading activation key? – Earlz Oct 25 '12 at 16:12

Side-loading apps requires generating a Windows 8 side-loading key. This can be done using PowerShell.

  1. Open the start screen
  2. Type in powershell
  3. Right-click on Windows PowerShell
  4. Click Run as administrator

screenshot steps 1-4

Once PowerShell opens, type in the following and hit enter:


(Alternatively, you can type Show-Wi and then hit Tab to auto-complete.)

Powershell: Show-WindowsDeveloperLicenseRegistration

This will open a dialog asking if you agree to the Windows 8 Developer License:

Get developer license for Windows 8

Agree to the license (if you choose to do so), and then you will be prompted to log in to a Microsoft account:

Sign in with Microsoft Account

Once your account is verified, you will see the following message saying that you now have a developer license, and stating the expiration date. You will have to run this process again after the expiration date.

Developer License

You can now close PowerShell. If you want to check your developer license status later, you can use the following PowerShell command:


It will return an object stating whether the license is valid, and what the expiration date is. You can also remove/deactivate the developer license using the following PowerShell command:


For more documentation and details, see this TechNet article.

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  • Gr8 answer, I never play with power-shell before but now I want to. :) – avirk Nov 2 '12 at 5:42
  • Thanks @avirk. I need to learn some more PowerShell myself. So far I've only ever used it for little one-off commands not accessible elsewhere. It's far more powerful than the command prompt though, so I really ought to learn more. – nhinkle Nov 2 '12 at 5:49
  • Yeah! Its more powerful than command prompt as I have seen what KronoS done in your post "Is there an equivalent to Windows To Go for personal use". Its more powerful but it hard to look up under the hood ;) – avirk Nov 2 '12 at 5:53
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    This is how to generate a developer license. I want to know how to get an actual side-loading product key. The main difference is a side-loading product key doesn'texpire. It also doesn't necessarily enable you to create store applications, but it does let you install them – Earlz Nov 2 '12 at 13:40
  • It is not allowed to use a developer license in place of a side-loading key. From here: "according to Microsoft’s license agreement, [developer] licenses may only be used for developing and testing your own applications ... Microsoft can detect fraudulent use of a developer license" – Joe Jan 8 '13 at 22:52

There are three ways to enable sideloading apps on Windows 8:

  • Join the computer to a domain. Once joined to a domain, group policy settings can be used to allow sideloading.
  • Install a developer license. But these expire, and are only to be used for development and testing.
  • Install a sideloading product key.

Where do you get a sideloading product key?

Unfortunately, sideloading product keys are intended only for corporate/organizational customers to use for internal deployments, and are available through the volume licensing program.

From the Volume Licensing Guide for Windows 8:

Medium or enterprise sized customers with Software Assurance for Windows or Windows VDA subscriptions in the following Volume Licensing programs will be granted Enterprise Sideloading rights and provided with the MAK keys as an SA benefit at no additional cost. ...

Other customers who want to deploy custom line of business Windows 8 apps may purchase Enterprise Sideloading licenses and MAK keys through Volume Licensing.

The Microsoft Product List for volume licensing programs lists a 100-pack of keys available for purchase, and shows exactly which programs the keys are available through:

Program                     Licenses Available  Available as
Availability                   for Purchase     an SA Benefit
--------------------------  ------------------  -------------
Open License                        x   
Select/Select Plus                  x                 x
Enterprise Agreement / EAS                            x
EES                                                   x

So what do you do if you're not an organization?

One option is to purchase a 100-pack of keys through a Microsoft reseller for around $3000, like this guy did. Whether or not resellers are meant to be selling these to individuals is unclear, and you're going to have to really want it for that much cash, but at least you'll have enough to share with your friends.

In a nutshell, if it's for your company, get your Microsoft account manager to hook you up, and if you're doing it on your own, that's what the Store is for.

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  • /sadface Went to click on the 'this guy did' link and it was to posterous. I really liked that service, sad they were bought out. – chrisortman Aug 15 '13 at 14:55

An Enterprise SKU is not required. You can side-load on Windows RT or Windows 8 Pro if you've activated a Sideloading Product Key. Details on how to get such a key are not yet available.

Check the below links:

How to Add and Remove Apps
Managing Client Access to the Windows Store
Windows ADK Release Notes

Technet support

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