Microsoft Blocks Free Windows 8 Activation Using Windows 8 Media Center License Flaw
When Microsoft started giving away free license keys of Windows 8 Pro Media Center, software pirates found a way to activate an illegitimate Windows 8 copy. Using the Windows 8 activation workaround, software pirates converted their illegitimate copy to a legitimate licensed copy of Windows 8 at no cost. All by simply using the Windows Media Center upgrade key provided by Microsoft for free as part of a limited time offer.
It was expected that sooner or later the Redmond-based software giant will patch the activation exploit. Neowin.net now reports that Microsoft has quietly patched the Windows 8 activation bug. Now, if any user tries to use the activation exploit, they are provided with a traditional “Activation error” message.
Here’s what the “Activation error” message displayed to the users reads:
Unable to activate Windows 8 Pro with Media Center. (Error code: 0xC004C4AA)
What it means and how to fix it
You might see this error after you used the Add Features to Windows 8 app to upgrade your current edition of Windows. The Windows 8 Pro with Media Center edition can only be activated on PCs that had Windows preinstalled, or Windows was purchased on the Windows website or at a retail store. To fix the problem, you need to install Windows with the product key provided to you in an email or with the DVD. If you think you have received this message in error, contact a Microsoft Customer Support representative.
Neowin.net further reports that all Windows 8 copies which were earlier activated using this Windows 8 activation loophole are still active. Those Windows 8 copies are not yet blacklisted by Microsoft and are working as legal copies. It is also not clear yet if Microsoft will track down those users and block their Windows 8 licenses or the company will simply give up on the issue.
Watching at how popular this trick became after it was made public, it will be interesting to know, how many users actually got free Windows 8 copies for themselves and if Microsoft will ever do anything to track those users. As usual, Microsoft has not issued any official comments on the matter.
And, if you were one of those users who were planning to get a free copy of Windows 8 using the activation exploit, you are already out of luck!