Pirated Windows 8 can be activated legally for free -- for now

It was a huge disappointment for pirates around the world that the new activation procedure that Windows 8 bought with it right out of the box. Even though the RTM builds were leaked very early, not a single pirate was able to wholly activate Windows 8 and give its essence to the tech population for free. Even today, there is no proper 'crack' that could be used to activate Windows 8, no, there ain't. I'm not a pure buyer and just like the many, I too, depend on some stuff for free, legal or not, though, I always try to be extra careful.

So, cracking Windows 8 was a tiring job for the pirates out there. Since I'm a keen reader among the pirates, I too, am up to date with what's going on in there. Though several people came out proclaiming Eureka, nothing whatsoever has happened so far. Some are just the same commands that you can use to activate Windows 8 for a particular time period with a KMS server which is embedded in tiny programs. Some others make the Windows 8 say it's activated but doesn't unlock the features and you need some other tools to do this, pretty lame one. Then, a third one that can 'crack' Windows 8 and unlock all features, remove Watermark but the copy never gets activated truly. Even though new stuff appears daily, none seems to be the one we are looking for, so far.

However, midst all the talks, Windows 8 has a serious hidden hole which allows you to activate any pirated version of Windows 8, for free (except Enterprise) if you have the free Windows Media Pack key. There is also a second way by which, you can call the Microsoft call center and give the confirmation ID and then they give you back a genuine key for free. Awesome and legal stuff, isn't it?  I got to know this from a coding hangout not so many months ago, who first found this stuff, and it does work.

The 'Call to activate' method works, but works only if you call to certain MS call centers, or certain countries. For example, it works well for UK but when I tried it first time in India, it failed to. However, if you are using Skype, you can make a call to this toll-free number and enter the confirmation ID. You'll receive your code and you can enter it to activate Windows 8, in the genuine way. That was a simply method and so far, this is the most legal method and it works well as reported by many pirates. Since you are not going to install any cracks here, or you're not even getting a illegal key, it should be genuine stuff. I mean, the serial you used should be like NG4HW-*****-*****-*****-***** and many users around the world would have installed like that. But yours wouldn't be activated unless you do it via online. So, there's no offense you're doing anyhow. Moreover, the key generated is unique and if it was to be invalid, you'd get the same message after you call the MS center. But you wouldn't and they're giving you the genuine license absolutely for free. So, it's so legal in my opinion unless some day, MS patches this hole.

Windows 8 Pro Pack
Installing the Pro Pack earlier ruined the KMS activation. However, who knew the road never ended?

The 'PRO-WMC' method is in some way genuine and in some way, it ain't. The ingenuity in the process is that your copy should be activated by KMS in order to activate it. KMS or Key Management Service is a system or service by Microsoft for many Microsoft products including Windows. It is actually intended for volume license users who wants to use the same product key for installation in multiple system. Thus, users can create their own KMS servers and activate copies for a 180 day period until they're activated via online which can be later done without interrupting the work. So, the trick is that you can activate Windows 8 like this with a few commands which you can Google for. But if you're planning to wait out till the 180 days and then do the same to activate again, that won't do much help. Microsoft may check the keys and servers and will shut it down once it finds out that the key is invalid. So, depending only on KMS wouldn't help all the time. But recently, this silly trick has populated over the internet which activates genuinely the KMS activated copies of Windows 8.

Posted Image
A typical KMS activation procedure with the command prompt. However, the serials and servers vary.

Since I'm an apt learner, I wouldn't sit and watch someone else do it. So, I recently checked it out to see if it still works. So, once you activate via KMS, you can go to the Microsoft Feature site to get the free product key of the Media Center pack. Once you get it, search in the Start screen to add features to Windows and open it. Now, enter the product key you got and it'll do a quick restart. Once that's done, your Windows will start to show the watermark again and the personalization would be locked. Simply, go to the activation panel and click on activate online. Voila! Your Windows 8 is activated genuinely by Microsoft, no offense. The hole is that Microsoft isn't actually checking the product key that is used to validate the copy. Rather, it is checking if the new key, the WMC key you got is valid. Thus, the previous step is skipped and it only checks if the WMC key is valid and if it finds so, your Windows gets activated. What a hilarious hole in one of the unbreakable challenges put forward by Microsoft!

This method works till January 2013 when Microsoft stops to give the free product keys for Media Center pack. But you can now itself claim the free key by going to the Microsoft site mentioned above. On first thoughts, this will keep you running with the legal key for a long while and you most certainly can download the normal updates. However, Microsoft will soon be wary of this and if in future, a Service Pack or a major update comes out, it may fix the hole and may check the first key again. So, if it finds so, then the copy would be declared illegal  For now, you can rest with joy and have fun with the freely and genuinely activated Windows copy.

Note: This material is intended for study purpose as always. I'm not responsible if you're caught some day for messing up the rules. So, you're on your own. If you love Windows 8, it's ultra cheap and show respect for the guys who did hard work to make this beautiful stuff.

#Update 4th January : Doing a bit of research here and there, I found out that there was a potential way of getting deactivated once you do this. If you run the slmgr.vbs -ato command, the activation will get removed and the watermark appears again. This tries to activate by online and surely finds the key being invalid. Thus, the activation will be removed. This can also remove activation if you activated using phone method too. So, never try to connect again and check for activation using this command. Always use slmgr.vbs -xpr or slmgr.vbs dlv if you want to check the activation details.

#Update - 4th January : The PROWMC hack wont work again in the direct way as Microsoft fixed it back on January 1. The phone activation still works for the better part with the same WMC key you got from the Microsoft Feature page. However, a user found a way to activate the copy using a custom data.dat along with your original WMC key. I've found this soon after the fix came at 7pmtech.com and since the same didn't work for some users, a friend of mine pointed me to a post by another user who used the data.dat along with a custom .bat file and together, it worked like charm. Right now, I don't have time to update the post but I will as soon as I finish exploring the web.