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Windows 8 PCs finally move to on-chip product keys


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Old 12-24-2012, 06:01 PM
algernonbarton algernonbarton is offline
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Default Windows 8 PCs finally move to on-chip product keys

There are loads of changes in Windows 8 that youíve already seen ó like the Start Screen, Charms Bar, ridiculously fast boot times, and a touch UX thatís streets ahead of any previous Windows version. Windows 8 is also changing the PC hardware landscape, with UEFI finding its way onto mainboards and touchscreens shipping on more PCs than ever before. Some of those PCs have a hidden feature that you might not know about: a Windows 8 product key thatís stored inside the firmware. Yes, Microsoft has finally given PC OEMs an alternative to slapping a license sticker on the outside of their creations.

Consumers should benefit from the change in a couple of ways. For one, having the product key stored within a computerís firmware should mean no more typing in lengthy alphanumeric sequences during a Windows reinstall. One would assume that if Microsoft is no longer providing a key, an end user can look and see that the installer has been updated to search for that key internally and proceed if the key is found.

Hopefully that holds true for upgrades, too. If youíve bought a Windows 8 PC and want to move up to Windows 8 Pro, you should be able to perform the install without hassle if your system has an integrated key.

The biggest benefit, however, could be reducing the cost of future versions of Windows. An integrated product key should make it more difficult for shady PC vendors to pilfer keys. PCs running older versions of Windows, for example, ship with a Windows product key on their cases ó but are generally activated using a volume license key instead. That means the key on the side can be used to activate an entirely different system. Cutting down on the number of illegal Windows installs in the wild should allow Microsoft to reduce the amount of resources it pours into fighting piracy, and that should trickle down to consumers.
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