Have you been like me and gone to install Windows 8 , 8.1 or even Server 2012R2 and seen the most annoying screen below? Like how annoying is this?
Well let me show you a neat way of getting around the key that will not violate the TOS.
Problem: Microsoft wont allow me to install windows without first putting in a valid license key. Or maybe your key is on another partition you want to get to after install : )
Solution: Build a new USB install of Windows 8 / 8.1 / Server 2012 with a OEM config file to bypass this prompt.
First you need to have a built Windows 8 / 8.1 install on a USB stick from ISO. This can be don’t with the Microsoft USB Download tool. This tool has recently been pulled from the Microsoft store but you can download it here.
Once you have built your USB stick (not covered in this article) then you need to go into the folder on the newly created drive. Look for a folder called Sources\ .
Create or modify if it already exists a file called ei.cfg in notepad. Paste in the following text:
Ensure you save the file as a .cfg not as a .txt file!
Now use that USB stick to install the desired version and edition of Windows. If you are unable to make the guide work then you can use some of the keys Microsoft provides to volume licensing folks. This will not activate windows but simply allow you to finish the install.
The keys can be found mid way down the page here.
Enjoy your new Windows install!