Windows 8 Pro Download, Installation, and Activation

I’ve done some experimentation with Windows 8 Pro download, installation, and activation. and thought to share some of the experiences.

  • To buy Windows 8 Pro Upgrade, we download the installation program from this page, which performs some checks to tell us what’s compatible with Window 8, and what is not, then it proceeds to payment, then to download.
  • The installation program downloads the 32-bit or the 64-bit version depending on whether we are running the installation from 32-bit or 64-bit Windows (XP, Vista, 7). So if we have 32-bit Windows 7 for example, but we need 64-bit Windows 8, then we need to run the installation program from another 64-bit Windows installation. Microsoft may solve this limitation later on, but until then, we can easily create virtual machine with 64-bit Windows 7 (Windows 7 iso download URLs here), and then run the Windows 8 installation program from it.
  • When we buy Windows 8, we receive confirmation email which has the product key, as well as a link to another installation program that can be used to download and install Windows 8 any time.
  • At the end of download, or any time we run the installation program after download, it asks whether we want to create iso image, prepare installation USB, or run the setup directly on the current machine.
  • The product key is for an upgrade. So if we do installation on a clean formatted hard disk, Windows 8 will not be activated by default. We can install our old version of Windows first, or make use of the workaround in this page.
  • The product key can be used to activate Windows 8 on one machine only at the same time. So if we want to deactivate from one machine, and activate on another, we can follow the steps in this page which is for Window 7, but still applicable to Windows 8