Windows 8 clean install with upgrade license key error code 0xC004F061

Even though I’m a Mac person, I decided to give Windows 8 a try. I was able get a promo code (using an old but genuine Windows 7 serial and this loophole) and the price dropped to $14.99. I wanted to get rid of all the junk from my Windows 7 installation so I decided to wipe the drive and did a clean install. I entered my new Windows 8 license key at the beginning of the installation process and the rest of the installation went on smoothly. However, after playing around with Windows 8 I found out that it had not been activated. Trying to activate it always resulted in  error code 0xC004F061. The reason was that I was using an upgrade license key, not a full license key. Microsoft wanted me to either fully install an old Windows version first or to buy a full license key. How ridiculous is this!?

Fortunately, there’s no need to install an old Windows version in order to activate Windows 8 using an upgrade license key. Here’s what worked for me:

  1. In Windows 8, open the Registry Editor
  2. Search for MediaBootInstall and set the value to 0.
  3. Open an elevated command prompt (run as administrator) and enter:
    slmgr /rearm
  4. If you get an access denied error message, you’re not running the command prompt with administrator privileges
  5. Restart the computer
  6. Open a command prompt and enter:
    slui 3
  7. Enter your Windows 8 upgrade license key and activate it
  8. Done!

62 thoughts on “Windows 8 clean install with upgrade license key error code 0xC004F061

  1. Thank you! Staples personnel did not know what they were selling me, and trusting them, I bought what I soon found out is an ‘upgrade’ version to put on a PC we just built ourselves. This work-around saved the day!

  2. Thank You. Without theses steps i would have struggled all day long. I was having issues with the media server and the only way my TV would be compatible is if i had done new install. Windows has given one more reason to piss me off and switch to Mac.

  3. You are a genius and it is such nice from you to share this with us! Have a great holiday season! THANKS!!!

  4. Worked like a charm!

    You DO need to restart after the slmgr.vbs /rearm though :)

    Tested and Works..

  5. I just wanted to thank you for this fix. After spending hours on the phone with the(useless)tech support of microsoft. I just googeld the error code and found this amazing fix. So thank you, from a very greatful(now)fan.

  6. Great stuff, it worked for me.

    Just a quick note for those confused with elevated admin privileges…

    To do this you need to right click the command prompt shortcut (search for cmd at the win8 start) and select ‘run as administrator’ from the bottom of the screen. I’m sure there are other ways to access it but this is what worked for me.

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