This post explains how you can manually activate Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Enterprise and what it means if run into the error message Windows couldn’t be activated – Error code 0x800732B – DNS name does not exist.
Latest posts by Michael Pietroforte (see all)

When I tried to update Windows 8 Enterprise to Windows 8.1 on a test machine, the setup program asked me for the product key. I then noticed that I had installed Windows 8 without a product key, which is possible with the Enterprise edition and volume licensing editions of Windows. The reason is that Microsoft assumes that, with volume licensing editions, product keys are not entered manually and Windows is activated during an unattended installation, through KMS or Active Directory.

Windows 8 activation fails ^

When I then tried to activate Windows 8, I got this error message:

Windows couldn’t be activated – Error code 0x800732B – DNS name does not exist.

Windows couldn’t be activated – Error code 0x800732B – DNS name does not exist

On a second Windows 8 Enterprise installation, the error message was different:

Windows couldn’t be activated – Error code 0x8007007B – The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.

Windows couldn’t be activated – Error code 0x8007007B – The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.

I don’t know why both installations, which should be identical, throw different error messages. Anyway, both error messages are misleading and had the same cause: my Windows installations had no valid product key.

Windows 8 Enterprise lacks change product key link ^

When I then tried to enter a TechNet product key, I noticed that the Windows 8 Enterprise Activation Control Panel applet lacks the Change product key link. This appears to be a new “feature” of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 because, in Windows 7, the volume licensing editions allowed you to enter a new product key in the control panel (Control Panel\System and Security\System). Perhaps this is Microsoft’s way of informing admins that there is a better way to activate Windows in a corporate network.

Windows 8 Enterprise lacks Change product key linkWindows 8 Pro - Change product key

Enter product key in Windows 8.1 Enterprise ^

Nevertheless, it is still possible to activate Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Enterprise (volume licensing editions) manually. I know two ways:

  1. If you prefer the command prompt, you can activate Windows with this command:
    slmgr.vbs /ipk <Product-Key>
  2. If you prefer a GUI, you can launch the Windows Activation applet with this somewhat cryptic command:
    Slui.exe 0x3

Slui.exe 0x3Enter product key in Windows 8 Enterprise

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1 Comment
  1. Yoseph Cherinet Megerssa 2 months ago

    my windows need activation. I don't know why? my PC is new and there is error code 0x8002732B
    any solution, please

    0

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