Windows activation is a process used by Microsoft Corp. to validate the software used in a user computer with the manufacturer. So, if your copy of operating system can pass the validation, this can confirm that it’s genuine and licensed copy. Otherwise, you maybe are using the illegal version of operating system.

There are several methods designed to help you activating the operating system and hence protect the user privacy. Each method has slightly different approach during the activation process as describe here.

Also, in the market there are many third-party activators and loaders available to help you bypass the activation process and make the Windows genuine. These tools are not endorsed by Microsoft and hence you use it at your own risk.

windows activation

Windows Activation Methods

Following are the five most commonly used Windows activation methods:
1. Using a Genuine key.

Activation using a Product Key can be done with Volume / Retail / OEM / Evaluation / Upgrade / Beta. Basically for the Volume Licensing and Retail you need to purchase a copy of License and you will be given the serial number or key to activate it. The OEM activation is that the operating system are installed on a computer which is bought from a retailer such as Dell, Acer, Asus, Toshiba, etc. The evaluation and beta is the beta release of the operating system that you act like beta tester/evaluator and later you need to upgrade in order to use the full functionality of the system.

If you use this method, you are purchasing a copy of product key and you can choose to activate it using the Internet, or over phone. Else, if you are using the following methods, it involved using the 3rd party activator/loader to activate Windows.


2. Using a Loader

A loader is a tool that code is inserted into the operating system to take the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Activation from one machine and put it on another. In order to do this the Loader installs a silent boot manager that injects a SLIC (Software License Internal Code) into your systems memory before Windows boots into the Boot Sector. When paired with an OEM key and certificate the system will pass as genuine.

Example of Win loader that you can download: Windows Loader v2.2.2 by Daz.


3. Trial

Usually when people in my area think of trial they go for the term trial reset. This is exactly what happens with a Trial activation method. In order to make this happen usually the registry and tokens are backed up and restored repeatedly to make the activation never expire. Well what I mean by that is that the grace period or rearm period is reset so activation is easy to do. The downside is that it requires tasks and constant rearming or going back to previous activation states.

Example of tools that you can download: Rearm Wizard and Trilogy 4.2.


4. Using KMS (Key Management Service)

The KMS involves using a host on a school campus or company in order to activate each of the machines on a regular period. This is a very efficient method to activate however it also has its drawbacks. The first of which is that your activated for a certain period of time which is usually 180 days. The second drawback is that usually KMS takes some time to get working as the host keys are not released immediately. Anyway, this is so far the only method that you can use to activate Windows 8.

Example of tools that you can download: KMS Pico and Microsoft Toolkit.


5. Using a SLIC BIOS

A SLIC BIOS mod is much like Windows Loader, but the SLIC is loaded from the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) instead. But it requires competency in use of the BIOS on a computer. So depending on how much you know the BIOS and what motherboard you have there can be some difficulties. Also if the proper BIOS mod is not loaded correctly there could cause your computer unable to start/boot up. That’s why it’s not recommended unless you are an experience user.