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Bypassing Microsoft Windows Activation Error Code 0xC004F061

While the Microsoft Windows 8 Upgrade Key is intended only for upgrades from earlier Windows versions to Windows 8, there could be valid genuine reasons when a user would like to do a clean installation of Windows 8. If a user tries to do a clean install activation using the upgrade key they are shown the error below and no activation occurs. Luckily, if a user owns valid license key for previous Windows version they can use a simple registry hack (I assume legally) which enables them to bypass this activation error message.

Invalid Product Key

"The following failure occurred while trying to use the product key:

The Software Licensing Service determined that this specified product key can only be used for upgrading, not for clean installs."

The registry hack was shared by milky in our previous story and works as expected, follow the steps below to activate windows 8 bypassing this error :

  1. Right-click at the bottom left corner of the desktop screen, where we had the start menu earlier and Click "Command Prompt (Admin)".
  2. In command prompt window type "regedit" and press enter to launch registry editor.
  3. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Setup/OOBE/ key and change value of MediaBootInstall to 0.
  4. Close registry editor and return to command prompt window, now type-in slmgr /rearm and press enter. DO NOTE THE CAUTION BELOW (AT END OF THIS POST) WITH REGARDS TO THIS COMMAND.
  5. Reboot your computer and you should be able to activate Windows 8 normally.

CAUTION : On my test setup I used the slmgr /rearm twice and my Windows 8 activation got blocked with Error Code : 0xC004C008 - The activation server reported that the key has exceeded its activation limit. The only solution to this is to call Microsoft Windows Activation Support Desk and ask for an agent to fix this.

Error Code 0xC004C008


I tried this with my purched win 8 upgrade on my lap top but no result. As I shall be changing my PC mother board how can I install my win 8 on to the new computer.
Your help would be much appreciated

If you are changing the motherboard of the Laptop with same model motherboard, then no need to worry. Buy the same model motherboard outside(if you need cheaper) and then ask your PC manufacturer to replace it. This will make the OEM validation unaffected.

If you are planning to use the upgrade key to a new PC/laptop. This cannot be done. Because, the key is linked to the OEM of your laptop.

But there are possibilities:
If you have used Windows OS activated with Daz loader and bought the Upgrade key, then using it in a new PC/laptop is possible. If you have bought the new PC/laptop with Windows OS(i.e. with OEM license), then you'll be in trouble. That means you cannot buy another upgrade key for the new PC/laptop with OEM license. Even if you buy, the two keys will clash the activation in future.


Upgrading from any OEM license to a Windows 8 Pro Upgrade from a store or from Microsoft directly WILL make your Windows 8 Pro Upgrade into a full Retail license. The Upgrade EULA supersedes your prior OEM EULA, and your prior OEM restrictions (including the restriction of transferring the OS to another computer you own) is null and void.

Microsoft Software License Agreement for Windows 8 Pro Upgrade


EULA (Page 1 and part of Page 2):


(Excerpt from Page 1 & 2; Emphasis by way of *ALL-CAPS* is mine)


The software covered by this agreement is an upgrade to your existing operating system software, so the upgrade replaces the original software that you are upgrading. You do not retain any rights to the original software after you have upgraded and you may not continue to use it or transfer it in any way. *THIS AGREEMENT GOVERNS YOUR RIGHTS TO USE THE UPGRADE SOFTWARE AND REPLACES THE AGREEMENT FOR THE SOFTWARE FROM WHICH YOU UPGRADED.* After you complete your upgrade, additional software will be required to playback or record certain types of media, including DVDs.


*YOU MAY TRANSFER THE SOFTWARE TO ANOTHER COMPUTER THAT BELONGS TO YOU.* You may also transfer the software (together with the license) to a computer owned by someone else if a) you are the first licensed user of the software and b) the new user agrees to the terms of this agreement. To make that transfer, you must transfer the original media, the certificate of authenticity, the product key and the proof of purchase directly to that other person, without retaining any copies of the software. You may use the backup copy we allow you to make or the media that the software came on to transfer the software. *ANYTIME YOU TRANSFER THE SOFTWARE TO A NEW COMPUTER, YOU MUST REMOVE THE SOFTWARE FROM THE PRIOR COMPUTER.* You may not transfer the software to share licenses between computers. You may transfer Get Genuine Windows software, Pro Pack or Media Center Pack software only together with the licensed computer.

Personal note:

Many people on forums have assumed that the Registry Mod and the Install-Over-Install workarounds for Clean-Bare-Metal install activations are illegit hacks that violates the Windows 8 Pro Upgrade EULA. However, in reading the EULA, two things are obvious: (1) this Retail EULA supersedes the OEM EULA, and (2) the Windows 8 Pro Upgrade is transferable to a new computer/motherboard. Hence, I believe that Microsoft intentionally created a method in which clean-bare-metal installation activation can be achieved using the Windows 8 Pro Upgrade ISO.

How this method was meant to be accessed is another question: (A) End-user self-service or (B) Remote-assist by Microsoft Customer Service Agent.

So for the original question, YES, get the Upgrade, and your old OEM becomes Retail.

I read your tutorial, Which help me to make my website cool and what i
exactly Need to my site.

You saved me SO much time. I was afraid I was going to have to reinstall Windows 7 and then upgrade that installation to 8, but this worked PERfectly.

I did not believe to install full version of Windows, But after some times ago, When I use a product 7 Ultimate product key to activate my OS, I was surprise to see its performance.

Thank you very much for your article on how to solve this problem.

I fitted a new larger hard drive and upgraded from XP to Windows 8 in the same time. Obviously I did a clean installation. When I tried to activate, I got the error. When I called Microsoft Activation, and the guy told me to go and install my old XP again and then upgrade with the same disc to Windows 8. This would have caused many ours lost.

I followed your advice, restart, and checked again.
It immediately told me that my Windows is activated, even with the correct key as I tried before.
You saved me many hours.
Once again, many thanks.

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