How to get Windows 8 Pro from MSDN Subscriptions

I made a silly mistake last night and then saw someone asking about the same thing on an email list this morning, so thought I would drop this bit of information here.

There are plenty of resources explaining the different version of Windows 8. For example, this Microsoft blog post: Announcing the Windows 8 Editions and this Wikipedia entry : Windows 8 editions

The one that most of us developers probably wan tis the Windows 8 Pro. But when you look on MSDN Subscriptions you will see variations on Windows 8, WIndows 8 Enterprise that you can download. Windows 8 Pro VL is listed but that’s for Volume License subscribers and there’s a “you can’t download this one, sorry” note beside those.

I gave up trying to figure out how to get Pro and downloaded Enterprise. Wrong! Winking smile

Then this morning, someone pointed out my mistake.

The simple Windows 8 download is for [simple, aka Consumer] Windows 8 *and* Windows 8 Pro. The trick is that there are different keys:


So with one download, you’re good for either the consumer version or the Pro version of Windows 8.

If I didn’t live in the boonies, this wouldn’t have been a big deal. But since it took me over 3 hours to download the Enterprise and then another 3 to download the normal versions, it’s a mistake I won’t forget!

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7 thoughts on “How to get Windows 8 Pro from MSDN Subscriptions

  1. Good to know. I realised the different keys, but went ahead and downloaded the VL version because I could, but now I can’t activate it 🙁

    Any tips on changing a product key?

  2. Hey Mark, sorry I have no idea about changing product keys. There must be an MSDN subscriber support channel that can give you help on that one…?

  3. @Pete, not really. It’s got a few more features specific to being part of an enterprise (and I’m not) and there’s a limitation wrt windows media center. I’m adding a wikipedia link with more edition details to the post.

  4. Hi Julie…I did the exact same thing as you. In fact, I had started with the Enterprise Edition because I saw it had a small handful of interesting features (including side-loading of Metro apps without going through the app store). However, that edition does not support upgrading from Windows 7 Ultimate Edition. It told me my only choice was to pave the box (I know paving is always the safest way to go but I’m lazy :). One other tip I’d offer for anyone who is upgrading: if you burn the image to a DVD, you need to start the install while Windows 7 is running (don’t boot from the DVD…after about 15 minutes of crunching it finally gets around to telling you that to upgrade you have to start from Windows). Also, if you have your DVD higher in the boot order than your hard drive, make sure you move it down (it reboots several times and you need to boot from hard disk but have the DVD in and available…it actually fails if you pull out the DVD with no "hey put the DVD back in" warning…it just fails). You can tell I had quite the adventure… 🙂 Cheers.

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