Fix Windows 8 Developer Preview product key problem

Windows 8 Developer Preview

Windows 8 Developer Preview does not need a product key, but users are experiencing some problems where they are presented with the screen to enter a product key and they cannot skip. Finding out that you are having this problem can be a little bit frustrating, taking away some of the excitement of testing the new operating system, but don’t give up just yet, try this and see if it helps you out.  

You are re-installing Windows 8 Developer Preview and you need to enter a product key. What key do you have to use?

This is a common problem in the developer preview, in the case you need to re-install Windows 8 or use the Reset functionality, there is a chance that you might be asked to enter a product key in which case you can use the following.

Windows 8 Developer Preview product key only

  • 6RH4V-HNTWC-JQKG8-RFR3R-36498
Quick Tip: You can find this product key in the ISO image file inside of the sources folder in the pid.txt file.

Windows 8 Server Developer Preview product key only


In the case that entering the product key doesn’t solve the problem you can also try re-download and re-burn — by using the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool — the ISO file image.

Also make sure that you ISO image file SHA-1 hash supplied by Microsoft number matches exactly with the one in the file. You can use Hash & CRC to do this, just download and install it — this  is a file cryptographic hash value calculator that supports most of the popular hash function formats used to verify data integrity and authenticity –, then right-click the ISO image file, go to the  Hash/CRC tab, select SHA-1 and click Compute.

Here is the list with all the Sha-1 hash supplied by Microsoft for each Windows 8 Developer Preview ISO image file:

  • Windows 8 Developer Preview English, 64-bit (x64)

Sha 1 hash – 79DBF235FD49F5C1C8F8C04E24BDE6E1D04DA1E9

  • Windows 8 Developer Preview English, 32-bit (x86)

Sha 1 hash – 4E0698BBABE01ED27582C9FC16AD21C4422913CC

  • Windows 8 Developer Preview with developer tools English, 64-bit (x64)

Sha 1 hash – 6FE9352FB59F6D0789AF35D1001BD4E4E81E42AF

Now if you are trying to install Windows 8 on VMware Workstation and you get the error: Windows cannot read the setting from the unattend answer file. This is a different error of the one is described above, in here the problem is when setting up your virtual machine, to solve this follow the step-by-step How to install Windows 8 Developer Preview in a virtual machine [VMware]

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].