Trying Out Windows 8 RTM

After our salute dedicated to Microsoft Windows 7 milestone, it is only natural to repeat our welcome to Windows 8 RTM and answer the burning question “where can I get the ISO?” Peace SignShame on youHee hee.

I am writing this article on a Toshiba Tablet Hybrid running some Consumer Preview version of Windows 8. The system is low in specs for a gamer, with an SSD drive, 4 GB of RAM and a 2-core Intel CPU clocked at 1.83 GHz, but perfect for virtually all business use. The Windows Experience Index does not even reach 4 perhaps because Windows 8 is missing some important drivers:

Windows-8-Toshiba-drivers

My experience with it was mixed. The Windows Marketplace has very little in terms of applications and the new Visual Studio Express locks the programmer into building apps only for Microsoft properties. I use my laptop mostly docked so I didn’t get to use the “Metro” interface much. For my usage, Windows 8 offers no compelling reason to upgrade and most importantly, lacks many important drivers (such as my Canon LiDE 500F scanner), so I’ll be going back to Windows 7. Going back should be easy, as I backup my data regularly and used only portable applications.

Anyway, it seems that I'm not the only one underwhelmed by the changes in the new OS from Microsoft.

Windows 8 was sent as RTM on August 1 and will be available for retail purchase in September or as late as October (Amazon) while Microsoft Volume License Resellers will be able to purchase it on September 1st.

Windows 8 Core will cost $199, just like Windows 7 Home Premium. Unlike 7 Pro @ $299.99, 8 Pro will cost $350, while the Ultimate is $319.99 – compared to the Media Center Add-on @ $400. The Enterprise 8 version will be $500, while China pricing is still $103.

Judging by several photos, the RTM build 9200 has been cracked and is in use by adventurous hackers. Still, if you only want to try it out, you may do so legally for 90 days with the Evaluations version for Developers (link below, ms-eval).

This is a 90-day trial of both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 8 Enterprise Edition. It WILL expire and cannot be upgraded.

The filenames are:

  • 9200.16384.WIN8_RTM.120725-1247_X64FRE_ENTERPRISE_EVAL_EN-US-HRM_CENA_X64FREE_EN-US_DV5.ISO (3.3GB)
  • 9200.16384.WIN8_RTM.120725-1247_X86FRE_ENTERPRISE_EVAL_EN-US-HRM_CENA_X86FREE_EN-US_DV5.ISO (2.4GB)

Here are the “strings attached”:

  • Consider running the evaluation edition in a virtual environment or installing on a separate hard drive or partition. The will allow you to upgrade your original Windows installation to Windows 8.
  • During registration (required) you must login with a Microsoft account and provide your name, e-mail address and country.
  • You are required to activate the product online within 10 days after installing.
  • You must complete activation before August 15, 2013, to use this evaluation.

Windows 8 works on the same hardware that powers Windows 7:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Hard disk space: 20 GB
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

Additional requirements to use certain features:

  • To use touch, you need a tablet or a monitor that supports multitouch.
  • To access the Windows Store and to download and run apps, you need an active Internet connection and a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768.
  • To snap apps, you need a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768.
  • Internet access (ISP fees might apply)

Some users downloaded the ISO off the torrents and then tried to purchase a key:

I installed the Windows 8 Pro RTM iso on my Samsung Slate.. then I went to activation and purchased a Windows 8 Product Key.
It cost me $69 (Australian) and an extra $10 for the disc.
Anyways, when I go to enter the key to activate.. it won't allow me to place numbers and letters in certain spots like what is in the email.

Obviously, this feature does not work yet. Some Chinese website features numerous other keys and recommends phone activation, which supposedly works every time. (encrypted)

Before downloading an ISO or All-In-One (AIO) from the torrents, a word of caution: there now exists malware (trojans) that will install to your BIOS and are virtually undetectable and unremovable. Some of these “hacked” Windows ISOs will most likely contain such trojans (inb-bios).

That being said, for the adventurous / frantic the torrents offer various downloading options (Magnet links, may be downloaded with Tribler):

  • DevScene AIO – allows the installation of Windows 8 Professional RTM x86 and x64, Enterprise x86 and x64 and 2012 DataCenter - 4.54 GiB (4870498381 Bytes), uploaded 2012-08-05
  • DevScene AIO noDC – same as above, but the removal of DataCenter made the ISO small enough to fit on a regular DVD - 3.83 GiB (4115030087 Bytes), uploaded 2012-08-11
  • Singles: Enterprise-N X64, 8 Pro X64, 8 ProX86, ENT X86, ENT X64, DATACENTER
  • Windows 8 x64 RTM n lite – Enterprise edition without the Windows Media Player, speech support, welcome center, other languages, screensavers, event sounds, manual install, natural language, security center, windows defender, windows easy transfer, windows SAT, zip folder - 1.32 GiB (1416822784 Bytes), uploaded 2012-08-04;
  • xdeltas – binary file differences (wiki, howto)
The xdeltas download came with the following explanation (biro encrypted).

Windows 8 cannot be “rearmed” the way Windows 8 could (mdl). It also requires a Live ID for best experience. Note that I have not tried any of the following, I am recommending against installing those pirated ISOs and am only listing here what others have reported on forums as well as in torrent comments.

As of now At first, the OS could only be activated using a KMS server.

If you are using Pro:

  • slmgr -ipk NG4HW-VH26C-733KW-K6F98-J8CK4
  • slmgr /skms kms-c.no-ip.org:1688
  • slmgr.vbs –ato
  • slmgr /dli

If you are using Enterprise:

  • slmgr.vbs -ipk NG4HW-VH26C-733KW-K6F98-J8CK4
  • slmgr /skms kms-c.no-ip.org:1688
  • slmgr /ato
  • slmgr /dli

For the Enterprise version, entering the first line (key) may be unnecessary. There apparently is an IPv6 server as well: benderrodriguez-1-pt.tunnel.tserv28.waw1.ipv6.he.net.

If activation worked, you should see something like "Your license to use Windows expires on 2/2/2013" when checking. You should also remove the defunct server host: 'slmgr /ckms'.

To install Media Center (after Win 8 Pro):

RR3BN-3YY9P-9D7FC-7J4YF-QGJXW (but if you install it before activation you won’t be able to activate)

  • slmgr /ipk GNBB8-YVD74-QJHX6-27H4K-8QHDG
  • slmgr /skms 91.149.135.121
  • slmgr /ato
  • slmgr /dli

Most people attempting the above will run into an error, as the free KMS servers in use are quite overwhelmed. The first KMS server was probably provided by WZOR, a Russian site that is now an invite-only forum. Somebody posted the following batch file which supposedly tries to register with each server:

It does all commands silently so you don't have all of those annoying popups from every attempt
and it will loop infinitely
My goal is to make it stop Automatically when An activation server has been reached,
And Echo Windows Successfully!
Just paste the below code into a notepad and save as Activate.bat to C: root directory
Then make a shortcut to that file on your desktop.
Then right click the shortcut and go to "Properties"
Then go to the Shortcut Tab
Then click advanced
Then check the "Run as Administrator" box
Hit OK and OK again
Now run it
Maybe this could be a base idea for a Windows based KMS Activation Program
Then you could add the option of adding your own KMS server.
P.S. If the servers are down then my above script will not work.
It will just keep trying until it does work.
Here's what I got so far

[CODE]
@Echo Off
Echo Attempting Windows Activation
Echo Please Wait...
cscript //B "%windir%system32slmgr.vbs" /skms kms-c.no-ip.org:1688
cscript //B "%windir%system32slmgr.vbs" /ato
cscript //B "%windir%system32slmgr.vbs" /skms kms-c.no-ip.org
cscript //B "%windir%system32slmgr.vbs" -ato
cscript //B "%windir%system32slmgr.vbs" /skms 91.149.135.121:1688
cscript //B "%windir%system32slmgr.vbs" -ato
cscript //B "%windir%system32slmgr.vbs" /skms 91.149.135.121
cscript //B "%windir%system32slmgr.vbs" -ato
cscript //B "%windir%system32slmgr.vbs" /skms 91.149.135.83:1688
cscript //B "%windir%system32slmgr.vbs" -ato
cscript //B "%windir%system32slmgr.vbs" /skms 91.149.135.83
cscript //B "%windir%system32slmgr.vbs" -ato
Echo Activation Status...
cscript slmgr.vbs /dlv
Echo Activation will Retry in 10 Seconds
ping 1.1.1.1 -n 10 -w 1000 > nul
cls
start /b /i C:Activate.bat
[/CODE]

A user with handle FulcrumX reported activation via the “ff method” Skull:

I successfully activated my W8 Enterprise by using the ff method:
Volume MAK Key for Enterprise VL
PF9TR-KNB98-T7JPF-TWF8W-F3G7C
How to activate your Windows 8 Pro/Enterprise:
1. Run cmd as admin. Enter slmgr /ipk PF9TR-KNB98-T7JPF-TWF8W-F3G7C (Only for Enterprise and Pro)
2. Turn off your internet connection
3. Open activation window and click "Activate". It'll show your an error.
4. After that you'll see "Activate by phone" button.
5. i used united kingdom for the country, Call microsoft and enter code from message, which you will see.
6. you should choose for business, If they ask about number of computer, where you will use this key, say 1
this should work and your w8 should be activated for good. goodluck!

To get .NET 3.5 runtimes, grab the “All in One Runtimes” pack (sereby) and don’t select .NET Sprachpakete. Some chap made a video of the installation and customization.

To backup and restore activation you need to play with the “store” folder (mdl-bckp).

This guide will describe how to backup and restore your activation in a few easy steps in case of a worst case scenario and you have to reinstall Windows.
1. Go to C:\Windows\System32\spp\ and backup the store folder as this turned out to be the only folder you need to make backup of (verified by myself)
Attention:
The store folder might be hidden, open up Folder options from Control panel and choose View tab, select Show hidden files and folders + uncheck Hide protected system files
Attention 2:
Make sure to verify that the store folder contains these files and folders!
1 file named data.dat which is hidden
1 file named tokens.dat which is visible
1 folder named cache containing a file named cache.dat
2. Re-install Windows
3. After Windows is re-installed I suggest running a new Command Prompt as Administrator where you need to type in slmgr -upk to uninstall the key so the status changes to Unlicensed
4. After step 3 you need to reboot in Safe mode and easiest way is by using msconfig via Run. Choose the Boot tab and then Safe boot-Minimal, apply and restart when prompted
5. After the PC has rebooted in Safe mode open a new Command Prompt as Administrator and type net stop sppsvc to stop the Software Protection Platform service (sometimes you can get a message that it's already stopped and not running)
6. Go to C:\Windows\System32\spp\ and replace the current store folder with the backed up one (I just copied the folder and pasted over the old one replacing the files altogether)
7. Go to Run and use msconfig and choose Normal boot under General tab this time, apply and click restart when prompted
8. When restarted you can see that the watermarks are gone and by checking the usual slmgr -dli/dlv/xpr commands in Command Prompt you'll see that it worked and you're activated + by checking the Volume Activation Management Tool 2.0 you'll see License Status: License renewed and Genuine Status: Genuine

This article is a compendium of information published on other sources, which can be found below. The author discourages people from downloading pirated versions of any OS, as that might result in infection of the computer.

Sources / More info: wiki-8, features-8, ms-eval, ms-preview, torrent-buy, pb-keys, inb-bios, sereby, tpb: (seed | chrono), vistart, cw-win8now, wlw (web | full), mdl-faq, mdl-bckp, win8-v-lion

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