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Why has the Windows 8.1 Update worked?

Back in September I installed Windows 8.0 on my test machine at work. I had finally managed to get hold of a Volume Licence installation image from Mordac, our company’s Preventer of Information Services. Amusingly, a Volume Licence installation cannot use Windows Update to apply Windows 8.1 and requests for a VL version of the update fell on deaf ears.

Why can't I find the update in the Store?

You might be running an edition of Windows 8 that doesn’t support updating from the Store

Some editions of Windows 8 don’t support updating to Windows 8.1 from the Store. These include the following:

  • Windows 8 Pro, if installed by an organization or a program that uses Volume Licensing. Talk to your system admin, or the administrator of the program that was used to install Windows 8.

Windows would offer me the option to install the retail 8.1 Update and then complain that the update wasn’t compatible with my installation so after a couple of goes I ignored the messages.

Today, being bored, I accepted the message just so I could watch the Update fail, reminding me of my miserable existence in the technological ghetto.

And the Update started working. Aagh! That’s not supposed to happen…

I now appear to have Windows 8.1.


The last part of the update prompted for a product key but allowed me to skip entering one.

Concerned, I checked what I now had installed:

Product keys and activation (Industry 8.1)

Determine the License Details for Your Image

You can use the Windows Software Licensing Management Tool (SLMgr.vbs) to obtain details of the license in your for your image. Type the following command at an elevated command prompt on the device to obtain the device’s current license information:

Slmgr -dli

The information returned will include the last five characters of the product key used for the device’s image, the license status, and the length of time remaining until the license expires, if applicable. The contents of the License Status field will indicate whether your image is licensed or in a notification state.


Checking the Notification Reason:

How to troubleshoot Volume Activation error codes in Windows 7, in Windows Server 2008, and in Windows Vista

Error code - 0xC004F009
Error message The Software Protection Service reported that the grace period expired.
Activation type - MAK
Possible cause - The grace period expired before the system was activated. Now, the system is in the Notifications state.
Troubleshooting steps - See the section “User Experience.”

Using Softpedia’s Product Key Viewer


So now I have what looks like a retail installation of Windows 8.1 Professional with a product key I don’t recognise and a broken activation.

My suspicion is that the product key is from the motherboard (as shown by the Microsoft Data Management (MSDM) OEM ID of HPQOEM). The machine was originally downgraded from Windows 8 OEM to Windows 7 when I first had it and I later upgraded it to Windows 8 VL. The installation seems to have lost the VL product key and found the OEM one instead.

And now Windows is on my back:


So a new error code:

How to troubleshoot Volume Activation error codes in Windows 7, in Windows Server 2008, and in Windows Vista

Error code - 0xC004F003
Error message -
The activation server determined the specified product key is blocked
Activation type - MAK
Possible cause - The MAK is blocked on the activation server.
Troubleshooting steps - Contact the Microsoft Activation Call Center to obtain a new MAK and install/activate the system. 


Print | posted on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 2:30 PM |



# re: Why has the Windows 8.1 Update worked?

Thanks for the detailed description.
I have exactly the same problem here. And `Slmgr -dli` returns the same partial product key as yours: -C9WKB

Very strange indeed. It seems to be a very recent bug:

11/18/2014 1:30 PM | fdschneider
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