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Windows 8 Activation Fail
Jun 7, 2013 windows

Unlike Apple’s outstanding OS X onboarding experience, Microsoft really have to step up the Windows onboarding. When you charge a lot of money for people to use your OS and require them to activate it, the activation must work. Sadly, it doesn’t.

I use an MSDN Windows 8 distribution. When I try to activate it in the (limited) Metro app, I get this:

"Windows can't activate at the moment" screen.

Clicking the Activate button doesn’t help, though. If you do, you just get a dead progress spinner:

An activation spinner doing nothing much

Obviously, this Metro app will not help you out, so let’s activate Windows from the Control Panel instead. Open it, search for “activat” and select “Action Center/Windows Activation”.

Control panel activation screen

Sadly, this view is as useless as the Metro app. Click Activate and you’re taken to a progress bar dialog, that ends up in…

0xC004F074 - Windows couldn't be activated

This is just ridiculous. How can Microsoft fail so completely with such a critical part of the onboarding? How can you create a software that you have to activate, that can’t be activated? It may be by design, but I have a feeling that things are rotten in the Microsoft UX basket.

Don’t worry - activation is just a blog post away. When searching the world wide web, I stumbled upon this article regarding activation.

What the article basically suggests, are two options for activating Windows 8:

  • Search for, and run Slui.exe 0x3
  • Run Cscript.exe %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /ipk <Your product key>

This should work. I just can’t even begin to understand how this can be. How the hell can this ever get released? Who in the MS organization decided to ignore this key-feature? Who? Why!? Gaaaah!