I've spent the last hour or so looking over several pages of these activation threads and haven't found one that addresses the problem I've recently had with my Win8 x64 activation. My copy of "8.0" Win8x64 has been activated since I bought it direct from Microsoft in January for $39.99 and burned the iso to DVD and installed it (This post does not concern "8.1" as I installed that on another partition entirely just to play with until it is ready for prime time.) I also got the free copy of Windows Media Center with its separate key. For the past six months I've had no problems at all relative to activation. I've actually never had any problems with activation (that I couldn't fix pretty quickly) ever since Microsoft initially started doing its activation bit with its OSes several years ago.
Yesterday, (I've listed my system specs) I'd been experimenting with using my UEFI bios to push the clock rates for my cpu with an attendant .15V rise in power to the cpu core--standard clock is 3.5GHz with Turbo to 4.1GHz--and I incrementally moved the cpu clock to 4.515GHz and turned off Turbo mode (of course), and found that my idle temps while running AMD's Cool 'n Quiet mode (through a UEFI setting) averaged 38C-45C; and ~55C under load (@4.515GHz), which is not much different at all from the standard stock-clocked temps. OK, that's as it should be for a well-binned, good-yielding chip, etc. It overclocks well with very little resistance either in temps generated or power required. Bear in mind that such experimentation is something I've been doing here and there for a couple of months as opposed to something I started yesterday for the first time...
OK, suddenly yesterday I look up and on my system properties page (I don't have or want a touch-screen, and I still very much prefer the Explorer GUI to the RT GUI in Win8--I don't even see the RT UI to the extent that I often forget it is there!), and it says "Windows is not activated." I did a double take, actually, and looked again, so unaccustomed was I to seeing that phrase. I followed through the prompts and tried an Internet activation, which returned an error with the key I orignally got from Microsoft for Win8 Pro, with an error that said "This version of Windows is being used on another machine." SO I tried again, this time using the key that Microsoft supplied me when I got Media Center and successfully installed it, but activation declined that as well and returned a different error! I looked up this error and it stated something like "This copy of Windows has exceeded its number of activations"--or something like that, anyway. The prompts then lead me to the phone-number program which I dialed and successfully navigated the robot phone talker to reactivate my copy of Windows without incident.
But I'm a bit concerned as "tinkering" with my system at home is something I enjoy doing--it's cathartic and relaxing! I know a little bit about former Windows-versions of activation--as in you could replace, subtract or add, a couple of peripherals, or three, like ram, DVD drives, adding in another hard drive, etc., within, say, a three-month window, or all at once, and Windows would not as a rule call for reactivation of the software because it looked also at more fundamental things like certain motherboard aspects, cpu aspects, and of course the hard drive that served as the boot drive when Windows was initially installed and activated. So long as the "sacred stuff" wasn't replaced or removed then you had an excellent chance of Windows taking you through years of peripheral updates without requiring an additional activation ("sacred stuff" like motherboards and OS-installed, booting hard drives and cpus, especially--as just changing out a motherboard can look like a brand new computer to the OS even if all your other components are the same, etc.)
What I think happened to me was that all of the times I'd been monkeying around with clock rates and voltages and changing *nothing else*, Win8 had been recording many of those "events" as "hardware changes" and that I ran afoul of normal activation in that Win8 activation saw too many changes in too short a time period and so erroneously concluded that I was trying to put this version of Windows on another machine and Win8 rescinded my activation (which had stood for six months or so.) But I don't *know* that this is what happened...Almost forgot, one other change that I did yesterday was to replace my AHCI drivers with their AHCI RAID counterpart drivers in preparation for doing a pure RAID setup sometime later this year. The driver swap happened when I went to safe mode and switched in the UEFI from AHCI drivers to AHCI-compatible RAID drivers and then booted normally. (I didn't actually know about "AHCI-compatible RAID drivers" until recently.) In the UEFI, after switching from IDE to RAID, you can go another level deeper and choose between the "Legacy RAID" function in the UEFI (which emulates a normal RAID bios) or you can choose "UEFI RAID" which is the latest and presumably the most advanced RAID configuration tool between the two modes. I chose "Legacy RAID" until I become more familiar with the UEFI in general, and in this legacy mode your drives will function as normal AHCI drives until such time as you use the UEFI legacy RAID tool to set up your RAID drives physically--with a stripe and so on.
Likewise, I'm guessing that my original problem with my Win8Pro key was the fact that it was for Win8Pro sans Media Center, and since I now had Media Center installed it looked to activation that this could not be the machine the key covered, since the key did not cover the Media Center addition. And to repeat, the Media Center key supplied by Microsoft also didn't work, either, citing that it was "out of activations" for the Key number--which I understand as interpreted in the above paragraph.
At long last my query: can I expect this to happen again if I continue to "monkey" with my hardware settings? I'm thinking "Yes, I can," but I thought I would defer to some of the experts here who have had more experience with Windows activations and might hazard a guess as to whether this was a failure of activation due to erroneous assumptions of hardware changes that never actually occurred, or whether this was the result of *some other bug* peculiar to Win8Pro's activation code?
All ideas welcome! Thanks in advance!