Activation issues occur after you make some insignificant hardware changes in Windows 8

Applies to: Windows 8Windows 8 EnterpriseWindows 8 Pro


Consider the following scenario:
  • You have a computer that is running Windows 8.
  • You connect the computer to the Internet, and then you start the computer for the first time. 
  • You use a valid key to activate the computer and then complete the out-of-box experience (OOBE).  
  • You activate and log on to the computer successfully.  
  • You make some insignificant hardware changes on the computer.
  • Activation verification is performed by Automatic Version Synchronization (AVS). Or, you try to restore the computer to the pre-OOBE state, and activation occurs automatically by using data from the initial activation.
In this scenario, the computer enters an inactivated state. Or, the computer cannot be verified after activation occurs automatically.

Note There is a tolerance for hardware modification before deactivation. Insignificant hardware changes are typically supported.


This issue occurs because the Media Access Control (MAC) address of the network adapter is missed when hardware identification information is collected during the initial activation. The MAC address of the network adapter is collected during the later checks. However, part of the allocated hardware change tolerance is consumed. Therefore, the hardware change tolerance is reduced.


Hotfix information

To prevent this issue, service the Windows 8-based Windows Imaging file (.wim file) offline to apply this hotfix. More specifically, you have to replace the Install.wim file in both the operating system image and the push-button reset image.

Note You cannot use this hotfix to resolve the issue on Windows 8-based computers on which this issue has already occurred.

For more information about how to service an offline image, go to the following Microsoft website:
A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem.

If the hotfix is available for download, there is a "Hotfix Download Available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, submit a request to Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.

Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft website: Note The "Hotfix Download Available" form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a hotfix is not available for that language.

Registry information

To use the hotfix in this package, you do not have to make any changes to the registry.

Hotfix replacement information

This hotfix does not replace a previously released hotfix.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.

More Information

For more information about software update terminology, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
824684 Description of the standard terminology that is used to describe Microsoft software updates