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Endpoint Management Community Blog

Vista Activation

Created: 20 Aug 2008 • Updated: 20 Aug 2008 • 3 comments
Dan Waksman's picture
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If you are beginning to test Vista, and are looking into the various activation methods, you will quickly learn that KMS activation requires a minimum of 25 PCs. Therefore you may need to begin testing with a MAK key and later switch to activating against a KMS server.

In order to switch back to KMS activation, use the following command lines for Vista Enterprise:

slmgr.vbs /ipk VKK3X-68KWM-X2YGT-QR4M6-4BWMV
slmgr.vbs /skms SERVERNAME
slmgr.vbs /ato

For Vista Business, substitute the key with YFKBB-PQJJV-G996G-VWGXY-2V3X8. See http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc30328... for more details on Volume Activation 2.0.

If you need to switch back to a MAK key, simply use these command lines, substituting XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX for your MAK key:

slmgr.vbs /ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
slmgr.vbs /ato

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kubasa's picture

This is exactly what we had to do. Still not sure why Microsoft came up with the 25 number for KMS?? Hopefully this number will get reduced to 5 or 10 down the road in newer versions of KMS. Thanks for the article. It's good reference.

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gjb145's picture

The 25 physical machines (virtual ones do not count) are to keep the highly pirated volume license keys from being easily pirated. You need to do the same process for Server 2008, but it only needs 5 before the KMS server will start to activate them. And fortunately Server 2008 machines DO count as part of the 25 machines needed before the KMS starts to activate Vista clients.

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kubasa's picture

I was told at a Vista training/roadshow that there are a number of measures in place to track piracy besides just the physical KMS limit. The presenter wouldn't or couldn't discuss all of them. We ended up doing exactly like this article describes for our Vista testing. Now it looks like we're not even going to bother with Vista and just wait for 7. Oh well, keeps the work interesting.

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