Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


How do I unregister my windows 8 product key?

  1. #1


    Posts : 6
    Windows 7

    How do I unregister my windows 8 product key?


    I might be wrong, but my idea of how things work with regards to the windows 8 product key is that if you use it once on one computer, you cannot use it again when installing win 8 on another computer before you somehow unregister the first copy of win 8 that you used the key on, otherwise you would be able to just install win 8 on as many PCs as you want but only pay once for it.

    My first question is whether that idea is correct or not.

    Now assuming that I've got the correct picture, here is the actual question I wanted to ask. I've got a copy of win 8 from dreamspark and I have installed it in a VM (running win 7) and used the product key that I was given. Now I want to wipe my HDD and install win 8 (I do have a reason to do the wipe and not just upgrade). So how do I now "unregister" the product key that I used on that win 8 in a VM, so that I can use it when installing win 8 on my PC.

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  2. #2


    Forever West
    Posts : 591
    WinVista, Win7, Win8.1, Win10, Mac OS X 10.10, Linux Mint 17.1


    It seems the Product Key for OEM installations of Win8/8.1 and 10TP are connected to the BIOS and there is no actual Product Key as seen on COA/Certificate Of Authenticity stickers seen on Win7 and earlier computers. That pretty much firmly ties the OEM installation to the computer, can't be moved.

    In your situation your copy of Win8, or is it actually 8.1, may not be an OEM version and you may be able to do a clean install or upgrade over Win7 but you most likely have to talk with Microsoft about the Activation. Registering is not required, Activation is required. If it sounds like there's a few IFs, that would be correct as your situation and desire are a bit different from others.
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  3. #3


    Posts : 879
    Windows 10


    If you don't have an OEM computer that came with Windows 8/8.1 preinstalled.

    Take a look at this post.

    How to transfer Windows 8/8.1 license to new computer. -> link
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  4. #4


    Posts : 6
    Windows 7


    Quote Originally Posted by Berton View Post
    It seems the Product Key for OEM installations of Win8/8.1 and 10TP are connected to the BIOS and there is no actual Product Key as seen on COA/Certificate Of Authenticity stickers seen on Win7 and earlier computers. That pretty much firmly ties the OEM installation to the computer, can't be moved.
    As a matter of fact I initially had windows 8 installed on this laptop. Due to a bunch of reasons I decided to wipe my HDD and install windows 7 here. So if I were to try and install windows 8 on this laptop, should it detect the product key in the firmware and be fine?

    Also there definitely exist product keys for windows 8.1. When I got my copy I was explicitly given a product key and I did have to enter it when I was installing it into my virtual machine.
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  5. #5


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    If you have an embedded product key the setup media will read the embedded key - or you can manually add the key you received..
    the embedded product key will activate - the key you where given may not, depending.. If it was an OEM product Key, you can not transfer the activation.. If it was a Retail product key, you can transfer the activation by using the phone activation option..

    Create installation media for Windows 8.1 - Windows Help
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  6. #6


    Posts : 6
    Windows 7


    Quote Originally Posted by KYHI View Post
    If you have an embedded product key the setup media will read the embedded key - or you can manually add the key you received..
    the embedded product key will activate - the key you where given may not, depending.. If it was an OEM product Key, you can not transfer the activation.. If it was a Retail product key, you can transfer the activation by using the phone activation option..
    I checked it and the copy I got from dreamspark is indeed a retail version, not OEM.

    Now the thing is that the key that I had in here was for windows 8, not 8.1. So if I try to use a windows 8.1 installer, will it yell at me? In that case I would have to install windows 8 first and then go through the trouble of updating it to 8.1, which is not something I want to do since I already have a key for the 8.1 version.

    Also I should mention that when I wiped my drive previously I didn't do anything to "deactivate" or "unregister" the copy of windows I had on my laptop. So now if I try to install win 8 on it again and activate it, will it yell at me thinking that this key has already been used for activation?
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  7. #7


    Forever West
    Posts : 591
    WinVista, Win7, Win8.1, Win10, Mac OS X 10.10, Linux Mint 17.1


    Also there definitely exist product keys for windows 8.1. When I got my copy I was explicitly given a product key and I did have to enter it when I was installing it into my virtual machine.
    I agree but I was speaking about/mentioned OEM computers which the original poster seemed to be working with. I have a couple of Win8.1 OEM computers [Desktop and Notebook] and a Custom Win8.1 computer and both situations for the Win8.1 key do exist with them.
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  8. #8


    Posts : 879
    Windows 10


    - How to download and clean install Windows 8.1 if you have an OEM computer with UEFI firmware (BIOS) embedded Windows 8/8.1 product key. -> link
    - How to download and clean install Windows 8.1 if you don't have an OEM computer that came with Windows 8/8.1 preinstalled. -> link
    - How to transfer Windows 8/8.1 license to new computer. -> link

    edit:

    You cannot remove the activation from the Microsoft activation server.

    But before you install Windows 8.1 to a new computer, you will need to uninstall current installed product key from your old computer.

    > OPTION ONE <

    Delete the old Windows installation, for example:

    - Boot the computer using the Windows 7/8/8.1 installation media.
    - On the first screen, press SHIFT+F10 to bring up command prompt.
    - Run the following commands at the command prompt.

    diskpart
    list disk (this will give you a listing of the disks on your system)
    select disk # (select the disk you want to clean, for example select disk 0)
    clean (running the clean command will delete all partitions on the disk)
    exit

    > OPTION TWO <

    Uninstall product key (see screenshot below).

    Open the command prompt as administrator and type (or copy and paste) the following command.

    slmgr /upk

    Attachment 53770
    Last edited by genet; 16 May 2015 at 10:16.
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  9. #9


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    Now the thing is that the key that I had in here was for windows 8, not 8.1. So if I try to use a windows 8.1 installer, will it yell at me?
    No, it will read the 8 key and install 8.1

    Also I should mention that when I wiped my drive previously I didn't do anything to "deactivate" or "unregister" the copy of windows I had on my laptop.
    The embedded Key is activated to your laptop.. So no need to deactivate that Key.. Just reinstall windows 8.1

    And I have never "deactivated" or "unregistered" a retail product - before transfer via phone activation..
    Microsoft states the key can only be installed in one PC - thus the reason for this.. Although removing the Retail Version for the PC does also remove the retail product key..
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  10. #10


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    If you download your 8.1 install media from here, Create installation media for Windows 8.1 - Windows Help it will accept Windows 8.0 and 8.1 keys. Retail and OEM and OEM embedded. You can move a Retail version from one PC to another as long as it is only installed/activated on one PC at any one time. The second time you try to activate on different hardware it will fail activation. Do the phone activation and when asked how many PC's is it installed on, say one. You'll get a code to type in and it will activate. You can't deactivate a key. Well you can but it won't change anything, the original activation is recorded on the Microsoft activation server anyway. As far as I can tell is all it will do is let you change keys on the original PC. If your going to wipe that install anyway why bother trying to deactivate the key. Just a waist of time IMHO.
    Last edited by alphanumeric; 19 May 2015 at 17:57.
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How do I unregister my windows 8 product key?
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