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KMS activation for Windows 8, no Server 2012 KMS key

    Question

  • We currently have a KMS running on a 2008 R2. slmgr.vbs /dlv reveals it’s a VOLUME_KMS_R2_C. It activates Win 7, Server 2008 and R2 and Office 2010.

    We only have Software Assurance for Windows 8, we won’t have any licenses for Server 2012. We also won’t be migrating to Office 2013.

    I want to have a KMS server for Windows 8 clients, what are my options. Can I just install the VL key from VLSC on a 2008 R2 server, delete the new DNS record it creates and use: Slmgr.vbs /skms:server:port for Win8 clients. Would that work (would the new 2008 R2 KMS server stay activated), any other options, apart from MAK?

    EDIT: Can I have two KMS servers, two DNS records and a GPO that tells Win8 clients to always contact the second one for Win8 activations? What would happen to Office activations in this case?

    • Edited by CypherMike Thursday, August 30, 2012 4:59 PM
    Thursday, August 30, 2012 4:42 PM

Answers

  • Hi Mike,

    Didier's blog response is a bit ambiguous, he talks about "if you also need to activate server2012..."

    KMS Host Failover
    If a KMS host fails, a KMS host key must be installed on a new host and activated. Ensure that the new KMS host has an SRV RR in the DNS database. If installing the new KMS host with the same computer name and IP address as the failed KMS host, the new KMS host can use the DNS SRV record of the failed host. If the new host has a different computer name, organizations can manually remove the DNS SRV RR of the failed host or allow DNS to remove it automatically if scavenging is enabled in DNS. If the network is using DDNS, the new KMS host automatically creates a new SRV RR on the DNS server. The new KMS host then starts collecting client renewal requests and begins activating clients as soon as the KMS activation threshold is met.
     
    If configuring KMS clients to use auto-discovery, they automatically choose another KMS host if the original KMS host does not respond to renewal requests.
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff793439
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    KMS Discovery Search Order
    When KMS auto-discovery is enabled (default) and KMS host caching is not disabled, KMS clients will use the following order to determine which KMS to use (they will try each step until an activated KMS host with the correct key responds....
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff793418#EWAA
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A KMShost key for Client VL can only be loaded into a Client OS (not a Server OS)
    refer Table 2 (KMS can be hosted on [KMS key activates KMS host])
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff793412

    This isn't screamingly obvious in the documentation, but I've tested it myself, and there are numerous forum threads and blogs around which confirm it.
    If you try and install a Client (eg Win7) KMShost pkey onto a server OS, you get an error (again not a very obvious/helpful error) which basically means "you can't install that on me..that pkey is invalid on me..go get a valid key".


    Don
    (Please take a moment to "Vote as Helpful" and/or "Mark as Answer", where applicable. This helps the community, keeps the forums tidy, and recognises useful contributions. Thanks!)





    • Edited by DonPick Saturday, September 01, 2012 12:26 AM
    • Marked as answer by CypherMike Saturday, September 01, 2012 2:56 PM
    Saturday, September 01, 2012 12:07 AM

All replies

  • Have you seen this hot fix:

    An update is available for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 KMS hosts to support Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2691586


    Dave Guenthner [MSFT] This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. http://blogs.technet.com/b/davguents_blog

    Thursday, August 30, 2012 6:33 PM
  • I have and wanted to follow the procedure outlined here: http://workinghardinit.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/windows-server-2012-kms-service-activation/ .

    But I don't have any Windows Server 2012 KMS keys and as I was told by the author of that blog I can't just remove the existing VOLUME_KMS_R2_C key and enter the KMS key for Windows 8 as my servers won't be able to activate afterwards.

    Thursday, August 30, 2012 6:46 PM
  • Hi,

    Please run the following command in command prompt on KMS host server:

    slmgr /dli

    slmgr /dlv

    Then post back the result. At the same time, please look into the Event Viewer to verify whether there are related errors or warnings included or not.

    Regards,

    James


    James Xiong

    TechNet Community Support

    Friday, August 31, 2012 7:22 AM
    Moderator
  • slmgr /dli:

    ---------------------------
    Windows Script Host
    ---------------------------
    Name: Windows Server(R), ServerStandard edition
    Description: Windows Operating System - Windows Server(R), VOLUME_KMS_R2_C channel
    Partial Product Key: FVGJF
    License Status: Licensed
    Key Management Service is enabled on this machine
        Current count: 50
        Listening on Port: 1688
        DNS publishing enabled
        KMS priority: Normal
    Key Management Service cumulative requests received from clients
        Total requests received: 19004
        Failed requests received: 11
        Requests with License Status Unlicensed: 0
        Requests with License Status Licensed: 4293
        Requests with License Status Initial grace period: 9737
        Requests with License Status License expired or Hardware out of tolerance: 4
        Requests with License Status Non-genuine grace period: 0
        Requests with License Status Notification: 4959
    ---------------------------
    OK  
    ---------------------------

    slmgr /dlv:

    ---------------------------
    Windows Script Host
    ---------------------------
    Software licensing service version: 6.1.7601.17514  Name: Windows Server(R), ServerStandard edition
    Description: Windows Operating System - Windows Server(R), VOLUME_KMS_R2_C channel
    Activation ID: 8fe15d04-fc66-40e6-bf34-942481e06fd8
    Application ID: 55c92734-d682-4d71-983e-d6ec3f16059f
    Extended PID: 55041-00168-305-385967-03-1060-7600.0000-2702010
    Installation ID: 001472669112710301439166750281857993132542182662927572
    Processor Certificate URL: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=88342
    Machine Certificate URL: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=88343
    Use License URL: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=88345
    Product Key Certificate URL: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=88344
    Partial Product Key: FVGJF
    License Status: Licensed
    Remaining Windows rearm count: 4
    Trusted time: 31.8.2012 9:37:37
    Key Management Service is enabled on this machine
        Current count: 50
        Listening on Port: 1688
        DNS publishing enabled
        KMS priority: Normal
    Key Management Service cumulative requests received from clients     Total requests received: 19004     Failed requests received: 11     Requests with License Status Unlicensed: 0     Requests with License Status Licensed: 4293     Requests with License Status Initial grace period: 9737     Requests with License Status License expired or Hardware out of tolerance: 4     Requests with License Status Non-genuine grace period: 0     Requests with License Status Notification: 4959 ---------------------------
    OK  
    ---------------------------

    There are no errors in the Event Viewer, I just don't have the proper keys added for Windows 8 activations, which is clear when I do a slmgr /ato on Windows 8 and get:

    ---------------------------
    Windows Script Host
    ---------------------------
    Activating Windows(R), Enterprise edition (458e1bec-837a-45f6-b9d5-925ed5d299de) ...

    Error: 0xC004F074 The Software Licensing Service reported that the computer could not be activated. No Key Management Service (KMS) could be contacted. Please see the Application Event Log for additional information.


    ---------------------------
    OK  
    ---------------------------

    The proper KMS was contacted, but it doesn't have the keys for Windows 8.

    It's a shame I can't just add a Windows 8 VL key to this KMS, I'm probably not the only one that won't have any Windows 2012 KMS keys and will have Windows 8 clients.

    Friday, August 31, 2012 7:42 AM
  • you might have to use MAK for Win8 clients, but maybe only for a little while.

    at the moment, there is no Office2010 kmslicensepack available for server2012/win8 anyway, but when that is released, you could setup a Win8 machine as a KMShost (using your Win8 KMShost pkey), and then add the Office KMShost to that.

    then you configure your Win8 KMSclients to activate against your Win8 KMShost, which would also service the Office2010 activation for that client.

    i haven't tested what actually happens if a KMSclient does a DNS lookup, finds a KMShost, but that KMShost doesn't have the relevant host pkey - i'm not sure if it stays "latched" onto that first KMShost, or it it then performs another lookup and would find the next KMShost and try that.

    certainly if a lookup occurs but can't connect to that KMShost it *will* fall through to the next RR - but that's not what you'd have if both KMShosts are online.


    Don
    (Please take a moment to "Vote as Helpful" and/or "Mark as Answer", where applicable. This helps the community, keeps the forums tidy, and recognises useful contributions. Thanks!)

    Friday, August 31, 2012 11:24 AM
  • It's a shame I can't just add a Windows 8 VL key to this KMS

    Nope, you can't add a WindowsClient KMShost pkey to a serverOS - never been possible.

    the KMShost pkey does two things - it acts as a KMShost for KMSclients, and, it activates the KMShost's OS (so it has to be a match for the host OS family e.g. client on a client or server on a server. the trick is that it will issue activations for down-edition OS's)


    Don
    (Please take a moment to "Vote as Helpful" and/or "Mark as Answer", where applicable. This helps the community, keeps the forums tidy, and recognises useful contributions. Thanks!)


    • Edited by DonPick Friday, August 31, 2012 11:30 AM
    Friday, August 31, 2012 11:27 AM
  • Thank you Don, that's what I was afraid of, using MAK. We do a lot of OS testing and will definitely run out of MAK keys in a short amount of time. All the testing/deployments are done through MDT so I'll probably create a new Task Sequence where MAKs won't be entered.

    What the author of the blog mentioned above suggested was (if I understood correctly):

    - change all our servers to MAK,
    - uninstall the current VOLUME_KMS_R2_C from our 2008 R2 server,
    - install the Win 8 KMS key on that same server which would activate both Win7 and Win8 and (although you state this isn't possible),
    - check that Office 2010 activations still work on this server.

    Friday, August 31, 2012 12:24 PM
  • CypherMike,

    I think there are a couple of options available to you for this scenario.  Your first post covers one option, which will work but I probably would not go that route because at some point you will likely get licensed for Server 2012 and you'll have a bunch of clients no longer using auto discovery.  If you build a Win8 VM and install Win8 KMS host key, allow KMS record to populate in DNS, I would imagine KMS clients would build build a list of KMS servers from DNS when queried.  If KMS Client is say Windows 7 and the first KMS Server in the list is your existing Windows 2008 R2 KMS host, all is well.  If the Win8 KMS client hits the Win8 KMS host all is well.  If the KMS client does not match a valid licensing server, like Win8 attempts to activate against your VOLUME_KMS_R2_C host activation would fail and it will try the next one and will succeed.  A network trace should verify this.  Activation should succeed and be transparent to user.


    Dave Guenthner [MSFT] This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. http://blogs.technet.com/b/davguents_blog

    Friday, August 31, 2012 1:31 PM
  • Dave, thank you as well. I was not aware that autodiscovery worked this way. Meaning that clients query all KMS DNS records until they find the correct one. Is there any available guidance for having two KMS servers for one domain in a way as you describe it?

    And you're right we'll buy a Server 2012 sooner or later.

    Friday, August 31, 2012 3:16 PM
  • Hi Mike,

    Didier's blog response is a bit ambiguous, he talks about "if you also need to activate server2012..."

    KMS Host Failover
    If a KMS host fails, a KMS host key must be installed on a new host and activated. Ensure that the new KMS host has an SRV RR in the DNS database. If installing the new KMS host with the same computer name and IP address as the failed KMS host, the new KMS host can use the DNS SRV record of the failed host. If the new host has a different computer name, organizations can manually remove the DNS SRV RR of the failed host or allow DNS to remove it automatically if scavenging is enabled in DNS. If the network is using DDNS, the new KMS host automatically creates a new SRV RR on the DNS server. The new KMS host then starts collecting client renewal requests and begins activating clients as soon as the KMS activation threshold is met.
     
    If configuring KMS clients to use auto-discovery, they automatically choose another KMS host if the original KMS host does not respond to renewal requests.
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff793439
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    KMS Discovery Search Order
    When KMS auto-discovery is enabled (default) and KMS host caching is not disabled, KMS clients will use the following order to determine which KMS to use (they will try each step until an activated KMS host with the correct key responds....
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff793418#EWAA
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A KMShost key for Client VL can only be loaded into a Client OS (not a Server OS)
    refer Table 2 (KMS can be hosted on [KMS key activates KMS host])
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff793412

    This isn't screamingly obvious in the documentation, but I've tested it myself, and there are numerous forum threads and blogs around which confirm it.
    If you try and install a Client (eg Win7) KMShost pkey onto a server OS, you get an error (again not a very obvious/helpful error) which basically means "you can't install that on me..that pkey is invalid on me..go get a valid key".


    Don
    (Please take a moment to "Vote as Helpful" and/or "Mark as Answer", where applicable. This helps the community, keeps the forums tidy, and recognises useful contributions. Thanks!)





    • Edited by DonPick Saturday, September 01, 2012 12:26 AM
    • Marked as answer by CypherMike Saturday, September 01, 2012 2:56 PM
    Saturday, September 01, 2012 12:07 AM
  • - change all our servers to MAK,

    if you do have a situation where you need to use MAK, I always recommend choosing the type of client with least numbers, and are least changing.

    Particularly if your network doesn't permit unauthenticated-proxied access (since this means telephone activation for every MAK client) Yuk!

    Stick with KMS wherever you can (and of course where it makes sense) - no point implementing KMS if you have isolated or highly secure networks, or if the client machine will never be able to contact your KMShost because it's roaming the planet with no VPN or DA and your KMShost is safely tucked inside your corporate network..


    Don
    (Please take a moment to "Vote as Helpful" and/or "Mark as Answer", where applicable. This helps the community, keeps the forums tidy, and recognises useful contributions. Thanks!)

    Saturday, September 01, 2012 12:20 AM