I got the following via mail:

Steps to permanently activate Windows 8 :

  1. Go to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/feature-packs and enter email for media center key. You will recieve the key in email.
  2. Follow the steps in the mail to upgrade to PROWMC (RESTART NEEDED)

Is it some vulnerability? Would this be called illegal?


I emailed the source and they sent me this picture :

enter image description here

  • 1
    Was your copy already activated? This product code should just add features.
    – kobaltz
    Nov 4 '12 at 23:43
  • @kobaltz I haven't tried yet, wanted a feedback if anyone else did it because it looks like a vulnerability.
    – Kang
    Nov 4 '12 at 23:48
  • If the result is supposed to be that picture, then they're just telling you how to install Media Center on your legally-activated Windows 8 Pro installation...
    – Tortoise
    Nov 5 '12 at 0:00
  • Sounds like a Phishing email to me.
    – Moab
    Nov 5 '12 at 0:13
  • Are activated copies of Windows supposed to have an expiration date? What happens at the expiration date? Nov 5 '12 at 0:14

Its violation of the EULA, which doesn't need to be illegal. For example, it maybe financially advantageous to break a EULA and pay the fine and it won't be more illegal than your plumber messing up.

This is to say that MS can peruse you, but the government won't peruse you because you didn't violate the law of the land.

I really liked the breakdown offered by David Madden, who is more of an expert than I.

There's a whole lotta issues in your question, so it's impossible to give a definitive answer. Some EULA terms are simply unenforceable (for one reason or another), so nothing will happen to someone who violates those terms. Some EULA terms are enforceable, but only on a contract basis, so if you violate them, you'll probably only have to pay money damages, and/or lose your right to use the software. And some EULA terms may connect to copyright, so violation of those terms would constitute copyright infringement. Of these, only copyright infringement is actually illegal. It's even possible, but not common, to go to jail for certain types of copyright infringement.

  • 1
    I feel like posting any sentence containing "it isn't common to go to jail for..." on the internet isn't the best of ideas. ;)
    – Tortoise
    Nov 5 '12 at 0:02

More than likely. Any method you use to attain permanent licensed status without purchasing a license is surely illegal.

Posting the exact steps to superuser isn't exactly bright, either.


Before you can apply the additional features of Windows 8 Pro, it first must be activated. Your steps are a hoax more than anything else. I just tried adding the features to an unactivated copy of Windows 8 Pro. It told me that I must first activate prior to adding the feature. Hence, your steps don't do anything because most likely you're already activated.

  • Yes, it seems a way to do it 'permanently' as in no date of expiring license as in the screenshot updated.
    – Kang
    Nov 5 '12 at 0:01

I doubt this would exploit any vulnerability, given that you're not downloading any non-Microsoft files. As for the legal aspect, it depends on your definition of "illegal."

Assuming this actually works (which it probably doesn't), it would violate Microsoft's EULA. Though this is theoretically a breach of contract, the binding status of software license agreements has proven different between courts.

I would just play it safe and spend the $45 or whatever on a legal copy of Windows. (Note that I'm biased here, as I have an MSDN subscription, so I don't have to pay for my operating systems.)


according to your link, the free key is for windows 8 pro pack to be installed on top of windows 8 pro OR windows 8 media center.

the key is not valid to use with the windows 8 operation system.

there is a limit for 5 licenses only.

so the short answer is "it is legal because they are offering it" but you need to read the fine prints to be compliant.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.