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How to get a Microsoft Windows 8 Pro upgrade for free

Uptake of Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system has reportedly been a tad sluggish; perhaps making it free will help things along?

Read more: Microsoft Windows 8 review

As noted by Stephen Hall at, the Media Center upgrade promotion now running until January includes a security hole that allows for Windows users to upgrade to the full version of Windows 8 for free.

This loophole might allow software pirates to get their hands on Windows 8. According to Hall, Microsoft ditched the volume key approach with its latest operating system. People can no longer install multiple versions of Windows using the same install code. Instead, Windows 8 requires a different code for each Windows 8 install, much to the chagrin of pirates.

A Media Center upgrade, however, might help them out. In May, Microsoft said it would ditch DVD playback support for Windows Media Player in Windows 8. Those who wanted it, though, could purchase Windows Media Center to get DVD functionality, Microsoft said at the time. As part of a Windows 8 promotion, Microsoft is currently letting users receive that Windows 8 Media Center Pack product key for free via

Microsoft, however, is also offering a 180-day free trial of Windows 8 for enterprise users via its Key Management Service (KMS). When you request the Windows 8 Media Center product key, Microsoft will send it and install a non-trial version of Windows 8 - even if you're still using the trial version of Windows 8 and haven't paid for the upgrade.

"Due to the fact that the WMC upgrade process does no checks for the validity of the activation, any activated copy of windows (even ones which were activated via KMS) are upgraded to a valid version of Windows 8 via the WMC upgrade. Uh oh!" Hall wrote.

A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to comment.