Back in November, software pirates found a way to activate a Windows 8 copy at no cost by simply using the Windows Media Center upgrade key provided by Microsoft for free as part of a limited time offer.
Although the Redmond-based technology titan hasn’t provided too many details about it, it appears that Microsoft has quietly patched the bug and all users who attempt to exploit it are provided with a traditional “Activation error” message. Here’s what the error message
displayed to users now reads:
Unable to activate Windows 8 Pro with Media Center. (Error code: 0xC004C4AA)
What it means and how to fix it
You might see this error after you used the Add Features to Windows 8 app to upgrade your current edition of Windows. The Windows 8 Pro with Media Center edition can only be activated on PCs that had Windows preinstalled, or Windows was purchased on the Windows website or at a retail store. To fix the problem, you need to install Windows with the product key provided to you in an email or with the DVD. If you think you have received this message in error, contact a Microsoft Customer Support representative.” Neowin.net
writes that all Windows 8 copies previously activated through this loophole are still active at this point and Microsoft is yet to blacklist them.
As always, Microsoft is yet to comment on the matter, but it’s no wonder that the company is trying to keep everything secret, especially since plenty of people have actually tried to make the most of this flaw.
It would be interesting to know, however, how many users have actually managed to get a Windows 8 copy for free and whether Microsoft is willing to track them down and block their copies or simply abandon the fight.