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.


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.

    {Edition ID}
    {Channel Type}
    {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:

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

33 responses to “How to bypass product key while installing Windows 8”

  1. pulak Avatar

    he meant the sources folder

  2. Dhruv Avatar

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

    1. Marko Kraljevic Avatar
      Marko Kraljevic

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

  3. jubin Avatar

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

  4. Brad Avatar

    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.

  5. saubhik haldar Avatar
    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??

    1. Ramesh Kumar Avatar
      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.

  6. Elliot Mason Avatar
    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?

    1. Ramesh Kumar Avatar
      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.

  7. Elliot Mason Avatar
    Elliot Mason

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

    1. Ramesh Kumar Avatar
      Ramesh Kumar

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

  8. Owen Johnson Avatar
    Owen Johnson

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

  9. bautroibaola Avatar

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

    1. Ramesh Kumar Avatar
      Ramesh Kumar

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

  10. Wikilayn Avatar

    then… if i put

    It allows me to install any version of Windows 8 in a AiO DVD, without a key?

    1. Ramesh Kumar Avatar
      Ramesh Kumar

      Yup… or you can just put this:

    2. Wikilayn Avatar

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

    3. Terry Tremethick Avatar
      Terry Tremethick

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

    4. rOb Avatar

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

    5. Ramesh Kumar Avatar
      Ramesh Kumar

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

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