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Browsing Posts tagged Activation


I had the same issue and found this fix on a blog:

I came across the following error message when activating Windows 8 Enterprise x64 RTM en-gb, downloaded from MSDN:

“Error 0x8007007B  The File name, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.”

The Solution

Using the key provided to you (MSDN etc.) you will need to run the following in an elevated command prompt –
if you are new to Windows 8, click Start –> type “cmd” –> right-click on a command prompt and select “Run as administrator” in the bottom of the page:

Next type the following commands:


slmgr.vbs /ato

The first command will update the key.

The second command will activate Windows.

Replace the “XXXX” bits with your Windows 8 Key (you do need to enter the dashes and you don’t need to surround it with double quotes).


Graham Sivill – Martley, Worcester. UK


cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /ato

Most of the content I use for webcasts and live events have virtual machines that have been created either by someone on my team or by someone at Microsoft corporate. The virtual machines are not created with trial versions of the operating system but with fully licensed product. For obvious reasons they are not activated, so when I first boot up I usually get a message saying the machine has to be activated within a few days. Sometimes though, the machines have past the activation grace period and will not log on unless they are activated NOW!! This can be somewhat annoying because most of the time I only need the machines for a demonstration the following week, maybe for the next month or so, and I don’t want to use one of my product keys for such a short term machine life. So what can I do?

The first thing I do with machines that are requiring immediate activation is simply turn them off. I then change my host machine date back to a date closer to when the virtual machines were originally created and boot them up one more time. Now the virtual machine thinks my date is kosher and is within the activation grace period, and lets me logon. That’s great but the date is wrong and I need to access the internet with the host as well as do my demos, and having a wrong date causes issues. Never fear, one of the things we can do with Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 (actually this works with Windows Vista and Windows 7 as well), is re-arm the machine and extend the activation grace period another 60 days.

So How’s This Done?

Simple… all we need to do is run a script in the windows\system32 folder called slmgr.vbs. Check the steps below:

Bring up a Command Prompt.
Type slmgr.vbs –rearm, and press ENTER.
Restart the computer.

You computer has now extended the evaluation period 60 days!!! You can re-arm up to 3 times giving you an activation-free trial period of a total of 240 days!!
How Much Time Is Remaining in the Evaluation Period

You can find out by running the same script this time with different switch:

Type slmgr.vbs -dli, and the current status of the evaluation period is displayed. (the dli switch means – display license information)

If you want to find out what else you can do with the script type slmgr.vbs –? and you’ll get a full list and explanation of all the switches.

I did install it without entering a product key. I actually found the solution to my problem. When you run a default install of Windows 2008, it defaults to a KMS-based installation and what it will attempt to auto activate off of is a Key Management Server, not the Microsoft key management servers. I actually didn’t install using a MAK key like I thought as it didn’t actually ever ask me for a serial key. Anyway, to disable the auto activation key after Windows is installed, you just need to change the following registry key:

Disable automatic activation
Automatic Activation can be disabled using this registry setting.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SL\Activation
Create or modify a DWORD value named Manual and set the value data to 1