How to bypass product key while installing Windows 8

Microsoft has released Windows 8 to MSDN/TechNet subscribers and few other channels starting from August 15th. Few weeks ago; I got lucky to lay hands on it and I noticed that Windows 8 doesn’t allow keyless installation, like Windows 7, by default.

windows 8 setup product key

But after doing some R&D I have found a way to bypass the product key wizard while performing the installation. And in this article, you’ll learn how to suppress product key prompt while installing Windows 8.

Note: The following method is effective, legal, and does not requires a lot of technical expertise.

Prerequisites:

How To:

  1. First of all, Download and extract the ISO file of Windows 8 RTM version you own.
  2. Open Notepad to create a file with following code structure and save as ei.cfg in Sources folder.

    [EditionID]
    {Edition ID}
    [Channel]
    {Channel Type}
    [VL]
    {Volume License}

    The edition configuration file (EI.cfg) determines which edition of Windows to install and which license to use during Windows Setup. Where {Edition ID} must be a valid Windows Edition ID such as Core, Professional and Enterprise. {Channel Type} can be OEM or Retail. {Volume License} can be 1 (True) or 0 (False).

    For example:
    [EditionID]
    Professional
    [Channel]
    Retail
    [VL]
    1

  3. Now create the bootable ISO or USB stick and burn your product key prompt suppressed Windows 8 installation disc.
  • Martin Roberts

    IT WORKED!

  • Martin Roberts

    What is the assessment and development kit for?

  • Reriro

    you gotta be kidding… I essentially have to write my own code to install an updaste on two legal systems with an update that is supposed to be keyless and free? Here’s an amusing detail: Microsoft tech was very generous with tech support (wasting their time) running hours of tests on my machines to see why the 8.1 update was demanding a new key in order to make the upgrade. There was nothing wrong with either of my machines. Please tell Bill to come home for a minute to fix this, uh, minor detail. I still. am on 8. No more time for this stupidity.
    Thanks for your help anyway.

  • Goku SSJ5

    It……worked!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ravid.ramadhan Ravid Febrian Ramadhan

    what do you mean by 1(true) n 0(false)?

  • http://www.facebook.com/geo.gonzalez.9 Geo Gonzalez

    i did this and its not letting me move on it still says invalid product key what should i do?
    please get back at me and thanks

    • Marko Kraljevic

      Since this is to “bypass the product key wizard while performing the installation” then probably something wasn’t done right, btw.

  • dvddv

    what is the edition id for windows 8 pro with media center?? thanks

    • http://www.windowsvalley.com Ramesh Kumar

      For Windows 8 Pro with MediaCenter, use ProfessionalWMC

    • dvddv

      Thank you. YOU ARE THE BEST

  • Shikhar Gupta

    So must the Volume license be “0” or “1”? Which one allows me to bypass?

    • Marko Kraljevic

      Volume license (Windows edition, ISO) is something else and had nothing to do with this procedure.

  • pulak

    he meant the sources folder

  • Dhruv

    I tried everything above as mentioned, but it doesnt work.
    Pls help!

    • Marko Kraljevic

      Possibly you had an edition that doesn’t read/allow for the setup file.

  • jubin

    can i do this directly i mean to the source file using usb flash

  • Brad

    Thank you for your helpful guide. I am the chief “techie” of a group of friends and family’s computers, and to have installation media that I can use their own keys without having to input it in setup, or download the whole lot on 5 or more computers will be a boon.

  • saubhik haldar

    i installed win 8 but it is showing to activate windows in personalize menu..i hav done all your steps..but asking to buy a key..wat 2 do??

    • http://www.windowsvalley.com Ramesh Kumar

      The process helps you to skip entering the product key during installation. To activate or remove nagging “requiring product key” screen you need to buy a legitimate license of your Windows 8.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elliot.mason Elliot Mason

    Using this method results in the version & build number in the bottom right of the desktop…
    Is there any easy way to remove this branding?

    • http://www.windowsvalley.com Ramesh Kumar

      The watermark (branding) appears because Windows is not activated yet while the above methods helps you to skip the product key during installation.

      You can remove the watermark from the desktop by following these simple steps:
      1. Go to %appdata%MicrosoftWindowsThemes
      2. Now replace images in CachedFiles folder by copying and renaming TranscodedWallpaper.jpg.
      3. Just refresh your Desktop now and the watermark will be gone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elliot.mason Elliot Mason

    What about Windows 8 Pro-N version?
    Do I put something like Professional-N under the [EditionID] ?

    • http://www.windowsvalley.com Ramesh Kumar

      Yes! You can do the same for N version. Just postfix ‘N’ to Edition IDs like CoreN, ProfessionalN and EnterpriseN.

  • https://twitter.com/poptart911 Owen Johnson

    I have a feeling this will come in handy some day.

  • bautroibaola

    what difference between 1 and 0 value in {Volume License}?

    • http://www.windowsvalley.com Ramesh Kumar

      It will stop the OOBE from showing the key input screen on first login.
      thanks for tip… post updated :)

  • Wikilayn

    then… if i put
    ========
    [EditionID]

    [Channel]
    Retail
    [VL]
    0
    ========
    It allows me to install any version of Windows 8 in a AiO DVD, without a key?

    • http://www.windowsvalley.com Ramesh Kumar

      Yup… or you can just put this:
      [Channel]
      Retail

    • Wikilayn

      thanks for your response, and i congratulate you for the wonderful tutorials ^^

    • Terry Tremethick

      problem is unless activated you get a lame version of win8. But thanks at least we know.

    • rOb

      how can I save ei.cfg in source?What do u mean for “source”?Sorry for my bad english,thanks in advance

    • http://www.windowsvalley.com Ramesh Kumar

      Its “Sources”, not “Source” only and you can find the folder in extracted DVD content.