Activate Your Windows 8 Settings

Activate Your Windows 8 Settings

By Dave Taylor

The Question: Hey Dave. This is crazy frustrating: I’m trying to change the background color on my Windows 8 Pro system and am getting an error that I need to “Activate my Windows 8 Settings”. How do I fix this?

Dave’s Answer:

I think you’re reading that error message slightly wrong, actually. I imagine that it say something more akin to “You must activate your Windows 8 before you can change your settings”. Which leads to the question of what exactly does Microsoft mean by activation?

(I’m tempted to say that it depends on your definition of “it” but I won’t!)

Since it’s so ridiculously easy nowadays for people to copy and download files of even 1GB or larger, the challenge companies like Microsoft have is to ensure that you bought that OS you’re running, you didn’t just grab it off the ‘net and install it. To address that, what you’re really buying when you purchase a copy of Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro is a license key. Everything else can be downloaded for free — even off the Microsoft site — but that license key? That’s pure gold and not something you can find for free. Nor should you share it, by the way: they’re generally good for one installation, not dozens or more.

Our copy of Windows 8 Pro was in a box with the master DVD of the system. Also in the box was a small plastic card, almost a credit card, that had the license activation key printed thereon. And that’s the proverbial key to the kingdom. If you have a computer that had Windows 8 preinstalled, that’s known as an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) copy and it should come with your Win8 activation key in the paperwork included. If not, call ‘em up and complain: they’ve bought the license for your computer from Microsoft, they’re supposed to share the key with you in case you ever have to reinstall.

Let’s step through how to activate your copy of Windows 8 so you can see how it all works.

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This post is excerpted with permission from Dave Taylor.

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