Windows 8 RTM Leaking Madness

win8rtm-01In less than a day after the Microsoft gave the Windows 8 final RTM version to OEMs, the Big Leakage started. First we got non-bootable images of Enterprise “N” editions with key embedded (N — means no Media Player), and now we got the real thing — good old Russian friend of all computer geeks WZOR released first Windows 8 Enterprise RTM x86/x64 and then Windows 8 Professional RTM x86/x64 which he claimed to be original MS images. To give you some facts let me list the IDs of those builds at the end of this article.

You may see quite a lot of people installed these releases already and have been testing heavily. Look at these forums:

If you hesitate which version to install, I suggest you install Professional. It can be activated through all channels by applying the right key, while Enterprise is VL only, as it is primarily made for corporate use.

As for pirates, there is no workaround yet to activate the leaked copies, although Microsoft activation servers are online and Windows 8 can be activated with legit keys such as MAK. In the trial mode Windows 8 goes into specific License Status — Notification State (i.e. there is no 30-day “grace” period), which is quite annoying:

  • you cannot personalize Metro
  • you cannot change Start Page or User Picture
  • you have Watermarks of build number and non-activated stamp

Besides, there is a difference between SKU keys: Retail gets the metro message screen to activate, and Volume License gets the desktop watermark. The latter seems less annoying.


The great DAZ (hero of Windows 7 Loader) already admitted he would not create a similar program for Windows 8 RTM. It is more likely to see updated KMS Server Activator for Windows 8 from ZWT or other genius enthusiast. [If you don’t know what KMS stands for, read this article on TechNet]

Why DAZ believes it is difficult to simulate OEM activation now? Because it is so different now. One source revealed new changes in Windows 8 activation taken from internal Microsoft presentation. In short, in version OA 3.0 of OEM Activation will ensure that each PC with pre-installed Windows 8 will have unique product key in the BIOS and will be activated (physically) at the factory. If you know how old activation OA 2.1 worked, you’d understand it is completely different story now. In the past one OEM (e.g. ASUS or HP) used to have the same product key for every PC they shipped.

But as one guy said in a forum: “I don’t see the point; Microsoft has already taken care of discouraging piracy in Windows 8 — Who really wants to pirate a crippled OS that’s missing the start menu? Well, at least this feature will be something exciting for those up for a challenge in breaking the product activation.” That’s exactly my point — who wants to run Windows 8 and get in trouble even more? Do not pirate, stick with Windows 7, because that is what most big corporations will do — they will ignore Windows 8 for corporate use.


Hung BIOS because of badly formatted hard drive

I had a real problem today. I was trying to install a Windows 7 64-bit on my computer from scratch, with wiping the first partition of the hard drive. Installation DVD was found in the internet and not verified after burning… So, during installation I suddenly noticed that BIOS splash screen is hung after first PC restart. I forced it to restart again — same story. BIOS was getting stuck after showing a message about the hard drive SMART status is OK. There was no way to load BIOS or the system. I have Barracuda 7200.12 SATA 3Gb/s 1TB Hard Drive (ST31000528AS), quite new, it would be too pessimistic to think it was damaged. I unplugged the Serial ATA cable from the motherboard, and BIOS was booting again. My assumption was that Windows 7 installation somehow misplaced the MBR or something. So I would need some tools to restore the booting hard drive ability. But the real problem was that because of that defect PC would not boot even at the BIOS stage. I was trapped: I need a PC to fix the hard drive, but PC cannot stand this faulty hard drive. If I boot without the Barracuda, I have no chance to plug the disc afterwards. What to do?

I started exploring other motherboard options (I have an old but very functional ASUS motherboard) and I found Silicon Image SATARaid Controller I’ve never used before. That controller could also work as a SATA port, if selected in the BIOS. I plugged my Barracuda in the socket and refreshed the BIOS. The BIOS was booting normally. Now I would need to find a way to fix the hard drive. Windows 7 installation DVD was not good for that purpose, its recovery tools could not see the drive connected thru raid controller. I used my Lenovo Y510 notebook to goggle a free bootable cd. And I’ve found a beautiful piece of software called Ultimate Boot CD. It has tons of good stuff to check and repair issues related to BIOS, CPU, Boot Management, Data Recovery, Disk Wiping and Cloning. So, I Downloaded 300 Mb ISO image and burt it.

Ultimate Boot CD v.5.0.3