Windows 8 Pro UK OEM clean install problem



I’m trying to use my Windows 8 Pro UK oem License to activate Windows 8. I’ve downloaded two Windows 8.1 Pro ISOs and both tell me either, “the key didn’t work”, or “can’t use OEM key for retail setup”. I’m at a loss since this is a new computer build and I’ve downloaded probably 12GB+ of data which I think is a lot. Downloaded ISOs using media creation tool, and windows8-setup.exe from Microsoft. I’ve also read countless forums about adding PID.txt and EI.CFG to sources folder but this didn’t help.

Tried using generic keys provided on some websites to install Windows 8, and then use “slmgr /upk” and “slui 3” commands to change to my own product key after install finishes, but this didn’t work either. I still get, “The key didn’t work, please check it and try again, or try a different key.”. The only ISO I haven’t tried is the Enterprise trial version, but I don’t think that’ll work.

Is it possible it doesn’t work since I currently live is Israel and the ISOs aren’t international or UK compatible? The IS’s are only labelled “Windows.iso”.

If anyone could please help it would be much appreciated! :slight_smile:

Thank you and kind regards


I managed to install it and so far seems activated with the key I purchased after doing the following. I guess I’ll post steps I took in case anyone else has trouble.

Get the Windows 8.0 Pro ISO Build 9200 (MD5 hash 1CE53AD5F60419CF04A715CF3233F247E48BEEC4).
Extract the ISO to a temporary directory.
Create a new text file “ei.cfg” without quotes.
Put the following into the new text file you made


Save the text file.
Put the text file into the “sources” folder inside the extracted ISO folder.
That’s it! Now you can turn the extracted ISO folder back into an ISO with a third party utility, and burn it as your “Windows 8 OEM” install disc.

You can also run setup from the extracted ISO folder and install Windows 8 this way.

Nice thing is it won’t bother you about entering a product key until it’s installed and booted, and you just need to select the correct version (“Windows 8” or “Windows 8 Pro”) for your OEM license for the installer.

When Windows 8 boots it will ask for a product key. You can select skip (it’s kind of hiding on the screen) to use the command line instead. I skipped and entered my product key with the command line.

I did the following to activate:
Run command prompt as administrator (hover mouse to bottom-right corner of desktop, click “Search”, type cmd, right-click cmd result and click towards bottom "run as administrator).
Type the following into the command prompt you just opened (where xxxxx is your product key license)

slmgr.vbs -ipk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
slmgr.vbs -ato

And Windows should have successfully accepted your OEM product key license. So far my UK OEM Windows 8 Pro license key seems to be activated this way.


Thanks for posting your solution. I’ve only installed from an upgrade version of Windows 8, so I had no help for you.


Certainly hope this helps people. My biggest problem was getting my UK OEM license accepted.

Many people mention “Windows 8.1 Pro” can install with a generic key, and afterwards will accept your real OEM 8.0 key. But I found this to be false on my end as it just wouldn’t work. I tried I think four different ISOs of 8.1 from Microsoft. Perhaps I couldn’t because my key is OEM, UK, or both? Maybe I didn’t change the ei.cfg properly with 8.1 ISOs?

I think the only bad thing is the 155 updates available at around 1.3+ gigabytes as of this writing. That is a lot of updating! And I haven’t been asked to upgrade to 8.1 yet, or Windows 10. Maybe I can’t?

I’m curious why Windows 10 is a free upgrade, and why Windows 8 is sometimes very low price. This is unlike Microsoft and I’m kind of skeptical about Windows 8 and 10. How come Microsoft doesn’t offer Windows embedded OEM licenses, like they do Windows 8?


To further add information, it turns out that my license key is in fact, a volume license key. This seems to cause the free 8.1 update to fail and says my computer doesn’t meet the minimum system requirements. This may be the reason I couldn’t clean install 8.1.

If anybody has a volume license key, I think it’s impossible to update from Windows 8.0 since volume licenses aren’t supported for this, according to Microsoft. :doh: