Solve Windows 8 Clean Installation Product Key Do Not Match Problem

In my previous post, I wrote about how to make a Windows 8 installation pendrive bootable in UEFI mode. Now, if you were on an old laptop with UEFI boot which did not came pre-installed with Windows 8 OEM then you are good to go. But if your system came pre-installed with Windows 8 OEM then you will be facing loads of trouble. Well, its not that of a mountain of troubles. Its just that people like me, who bought new laptops are not familiar with the new things that have been introduced. They may be called as new features or even logical restrictions from my point of view.

OK, as a very basic home/office user I may be happy to use my laptop without making any sort of changes to it. Changes are with respect to hard disk partition, clean installation, dual booting with Linux etc. So whats the rescue when we fall in trouble? What if I need my custom partitions on hard disk and hate to see the recovery drive taking up almost 10 GB of my valuable hard disk space. The only answer that I could figure out was to play with all possible settings in BIOS and UEFI mode and keep trying.

[alert-warning] Please DO NOT remove pre-installed Windows 8 OEM if you don’t have a genuine Windows 8 Serial Key separately. [/alert-warning]

My ultimate aim was to dual boot Ubuntu 12.10. For the same purpose I had to perform a clean installation as Ubuntu was not appearing anywhere with Windows boot option. So, I needed a clean installation of Windows 8 with Secure boot disabled.

The experiences I gained after wondering on several forums and trying various methods myself will be presented in form of different tutorials as given below. There may be other optimized solutions but these steps are tested by me and they work.

  1. Create Windows 8 USB Bootable Pendrive for UEFI Boot.
  2. Solve Windows 8 Clean Installation Product Key Do Not Match Problem.
  3. Error 0xC004C008: Cannot Activate Windows 8 Using Already Owned Serial Key on new PC.
  4. Dual Boot Windows 8 With Ubuntu 12.10 in UEFI Boot Mode.

Tutorial 1 is good enough for people installing Windows 8 in UEFI separately (no pre-installed Windows 8). People with Windows 8 OEM will face a irritating error if they just make a Windows 8 UEFI bootable using Tutorial 1 and boot computer directly with it. The error is:

The product key entered does not match any of the Windows images available for installation. Enter a different product key

This error will just appear before you can even type your actual genuine Windows 8 serial key. there is no other option left other than cancelling the Installation. This error will occur in all new systems coming with pre-installed Windows 8. It does not matter at all whether you are booting from Legacy BIOS or UEFI.

Reason behind Windows 8 product key entered does not match error?

The reason is pretty simple. The serial key to the Pre-installed Windows 8 OEM is integrated within the BIOS. So whenever you are trying to clean install Windows 8, it will automatically seek the serial key in BIOS. Now, you have a retail Windows 8 copy and the serial key stored is for Windows 8 OEM. Hence the serial key Mismatch error.

Solve Windows 8 Clean Installation Product Key Do Not Match Problem

Solution to this problem is very simple. If you are booting in Legacy boot then you can use Win7 USB/DVD Tool else for UEFI boot use the steps in Tutorial 1. In either was you are getting a bootable Windows 8 pendrive. the only difference between them is that, one is in NTFS other one is in FAT 32.

What we need to do

We need to integrate our serial key within the Windows 8 Installation Itself. So that there is no need for checking the BIOS for serial key. Lets see how to do it.

The product key entered does not match any of the Windows images available for installation. Enter a different product key

  • Create a text file named PID.
  • Open it and enter the values as shown in figure below.

Windows 8 clean installation Product key mis match

  • Here you need to replace the xxxx with your own serial key.
  • save the file and copy it to F:\sources. Where F is my bootable Windows 8 Pendrive.

The next time when you boot using the Pendrive, you will be able to perform clean installation of Windows 8. In the next tutorial I will be covering Error 0xC004C008 faced while activating Windows 8.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 19 comments
pritam patil - December 28, 2012

do you have any idea about ‘windows blue’ ? I have heard that it is a successor for win 8 ?

pritam patil - December 29, 2012

thanks !:)

Aniket - May 17, 2013

my laptop also show this error key does not match while installing Windows 8 Pro But than i install windows 7 than how can i find serial key of Windows 8

ns - June 11, 2013

excellent work, thanks!

martin r - June 14, 2013

hey!! thanks for the help. one question the serial i put in the sources folder is the one from the computer bios? or the one from the cd im installing from?

Maksuel - June 15, 2013

I’m your fan brazilian ! Thanks for me help the format my pc !

Fulvio Farina - June 25, 2013


Rob - October 10, 2013

Attempted the PID.txt file on an Acer V5 122P notebook using a bootable W8 Pro USB stick. The stick and Pro key are legal, and I know they work having installed it briefly to a test machine a few months back. Unfortunately, even with the PID.txt file in the sources folder, the Acer laptop still generations the ‘Enter a different product key’ error. This occurs regardless of the Secure Boot setting or UEFI or Legacy state.

Installing Ubuntu on the Macbook Air is proving to be easier than installing Windows 8 onto a Windows 8 notebook.

Dirk - October 18, 2013

Thank you so much for this information. I seached and search and search …. GREATE JOB! Now my ugly update installation runs…

Sergio - October 24, 2013

Thank you so much for this post. You don’t know how much it has helped me. You solved an urgent problem I had. You are a genius! Gob bless you

junjun - December 23, 2013

what if you loose the serial number

Sheri - February 10, 2014

Sourojit, you are a genius, thank you so much!

Skhulile - February 12, 2014

Thank you man, it actually worked. I’ve trying to install Win8 for 4 days now, but kept on failing. GOD BLESS YOU

    Rohit Langde - February 13, 2014

    Good to know that it worked for your Skhulie.
    Always happy to resolve problems 🙂

Souheil - May 27, 2014

I’ve attempted the PID.txt routine with only the plain product key, which didn’t work
TIL there are tages to add, Thanks!

Heather - August 23, 2016

Thank you so much! Those crooks at Lenovo wanted to charge me $200 to get around the embedded serial number, thanks for saving me that money!

Brian - September 8, 2016

Awesome, thanks for the help. The PID.txt file on a bootable USB allowed me to install Win 10 Pro OEM onto a PC that was Win Home OEM.


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