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Activating the Windows 8.1 update via SCCM 2012

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I would like to deploy the Windows 8.1 Enterprise update to our Windows 8 Enterprise clients using SCCM. In testing it has been straight forward to deploy the update as an application by calling setup.exe /auto:upgrade and then leaving it to do the install. After a reboot Windows 8.1 is ready to go.


My issue is that this leaves Windows needing activation, and to activate it I need to change the product key to our Windows 8.1 MAK key. I don't know how to achieve this using SCCM, so I was wondering whether people had any suggestions.


I have considered the following approaches:

  • Installing it via a task sequence. Issue here is that the 8.1 installation process restarts the machine and the task sequence doesn't resume after the restart. I can prevent the installation from doing the restart, but at that point I am still technically running Windows 8 so it doesn't accept the new product key.
  • Using a script to install the update and then activate it. Again the script doesn't run for me after the restart to change the product key.
  • Deploying a script via SCCM to a collection of machines that are running an unactivated copy of Windows 8.1 to get them to activate - however I am unable to create this collection as I am not very experienced with WQL.
  • Some solution which uses Group Policy and WMI queries to run a log in script. This is a possibility but am reluctant to create a whole policy just for this when it feels like I should be able to achieve it in SCCM.

I have searched the internet high and low to see how others have done this, but haven't been able to find anything so far.


Any suggestions or guidance would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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You want a KMS server to allow you to automatically activate 8.1 with a KMS key.


This in a batch file will replace the KEY to either a KMS (recommended) or MAK:


@echo off
echo Activating Windows ... Please wait as this might take several minutes...
cscript //B "%windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs" /ipk <put ya dummy KMS key in here with dashes>
cscript //B "%windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs" /ato
echo Activation complete!

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Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post. My company took the decision to move away from KMS activations towards MAK a few years ago because we didn't have a very good remote access system and so large number of laptops were not getting plugged in to the network and the software was expiring.


Now that you mention it though, we now use Direct Access for Windows 8 and 8.1 clients and so we have a regular connection to the laptop and you are completely right, we should be looking to go back to KMS activation!


Thanks for your help - its almost blindingly obvious now you have pointed it out! If for any reason we cant go with KMS then I will implement your script suggestions.


Thanks again!



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