Although there are multiple hacks designed to bypass the activation mechanism in Windows 8, it appears that users don’t have to go to all that trouble in order to actually activate the latest leaked copy of the operating system.
Build 7959, which belongs to the Milestone 3 (M3) development phase of Windows 8 is the first Server Build that was leaked into the wild, and as such also the first 64-bit release of the platform to make it out of Redmond.
While Windows 8 M3 Build 7959 can be used as a trail until it expires, as with all pre-release software from Microsoft, this too is time-bombed, users that jumped the gun and are already running it might want to activate it.
According to testers that already did, Beta and Release Candidate (RC) product key from Windows Server 2008 R2 can be used for Windows 8 Server M3 without any problems.
Softpedia readers might remember that the same is the case with Windows 8 client M3 Build 7959, for which Windows 7 Beta, RC and RTM product keys can be used.
This should not be a real surprise, especially considering the fact that Windows 7 and Windows 8 share a lot of core components, especially at this point in the development process of Windows vNext, namely the M3 stage.
What the keys don’t do is enable all of the hidden features that have already been packed into Windows 8, such as Modern Reader, Ribbon UI, Immersive Browser, Touch Pattern Login, WebCam, etc.
In order to bring all the Windows 8 goodies to the surface testers can turn to a few hacks available in the wild, which also throw in activation as a side benefit.
I don’t expect Microsoft to enable the next generation features, components and functionality in Windows 8 until the first beta development milestone later this year.