Volume activation is designed to be a relatively quick and simple process. However, organizations still encounter a number of common errors when using volume activation. The following are solutions to some of the more common volume activation errors encountered by Microsoft customers.

Note: In addition to the specific advice provided for each error, you may want to use the Volume Licensing Service Center to review the licensing information for your organization. (Permission to view this information must be granted to you by someone within your organization.)

  • KMS count is below 25 for Windows clients computers or less than five for Windows Server machines ( Error 0xc004f038). The KMS host does not have enough KMS clients to meet minimum requirements.  Sometime this is because the organization does not have enough clients, the clients have duplicate Client Machine Identifiers (CMIDs), not all the clients are reaching the KMS host, or the organization has multiple KMS host computers so clients are communicating with a host whose client count is not at the threshold yet. For more information, see KMS Count is not increasing.
  • How to Troubleshoot KMS. Use event log entries and the SLMGR.VBS script to diagnose, see How to Troubleshoot KMS.
  • Invalid key errors. Administrators sometimes attempt to use the incorrect key for the operating system they have installed.  This can take the form of using the wrong key on the wrong product, using the wrong key on the wrong edition, and so on.  Many organizations with multiple keys have difficulty identifying which product or edition a key is for, or they don’t always know exactly which edition they are installing or have installed.  To resolve these errors, locate all information about the key you are using, including which products and editions have been installed, that the key is being entered correctly, and that the key being used is correct for the product and edition being activated. For more information, see How To Verify or Check your KMS/MAK Product Key.
  • Using a KMS host key to activate clients directly. Some organizations take KMS host keys and install them directly on KMS client computers (similar to how volume license keys were used to activate computers running Windows XP or Windows Server 2003).  After they activate six computers this way they get errors preventing additional activations.  For more information, see KMS_Error_0xC004C008_Activating_Client.
  • Multiple Activation Key (MAK) exceeded its limit. Some organizations exceed the limit on their MAK keys and need to have them extended. To resolve this issue, contact the licensing group at 1-800-426-9400 and ask for licensing specialist and be prepared with:
    • The agreement number associated with the key. These can be an enrollment number, license and authorization numbers, or a subscription number.
    • Windows version and edition.
    • Last five characters of the product key.
  • Need to use phone activation. The affected computers do not have access to the Internet or the key was blocked because it was already activated on different hardware.  For more information, see How to find a phone number for a Microsoft Product Activation Center.
  • Error message code 0x8007232b: DNS does not exist. This error message can occur when computers running Windows 7, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Business, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2008 R2 look for but cannot locate an activation host where the Key Management Service (KMS) has been installed. For information on how to resolve this error, see KB 929826: Error message when you try to activate Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Business, Windows 7, or Windows Server 2008: "Code 0x8007232b."
  • 0xc004c003 Product Key Already in use. This error can occur when an activation key has been used on a different computer or the hardware on a computer is modified enough that the activation logic perceives it as a different computer.  The solution is to phone an activation call center to request an activation override. For activation center contact information, see How to find a phone number for a Microsoft Product Activation Center. For more information about activation error codes, see How to troubleshoot Volume Activation error codes on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista-based computers.
  • Need to change to MAK key. Some administrators do not know they use a volume activation key or what type of key they need, perhaps because they weren’t told when they received a computer that applications were installed using volume media, and they were never prompted for a product key until the license needs to be renewed. In other cases  they have a KMS client (setup) key but have not configured a KMS host and do not know how to proceed to get activated. For more information on how to resolve this error, see How to Choose the Right Volume License Key for Windows.
  • Converting Windows computers to KMS clients. Occasionally administrators install keys on their Windows client computers and later want to convert them to KMS client machines.  To convert computers that have already been licensed into KMS client computers, see Configuring KMS Clients.
  • Windows 7 displays "Windows is not Genuine" with an error code of 0x80070005. This error can occur when administrators apply a Group Policy on a Plug and Play policy object. The default permissions of the Plug and Play policy do not grant the Licensing service the appropriate rights to access the Plug and Play service, therefore the computers report as not activated and as not genuine after logon, and the desktop may go into notification mode (turn black). For more information on how to resolve this error, see KB 2008385: Windows 7 displays "Windows is not Genuine" with an error code of 0x80070005.
  • 0xc004e003 The Software Licensing Service reports that the license evaluation failed. Locate and rename the tokens.dat file on the computer hosting KMS .  Then  generate a new token.dat file. To do this, open a command prompt window, type slmgr /rilc, and press ENTER
  • 0xc004f074 The KMS is unavailable. This issue is due to either of two things, firstly KMS host and clients don't have same time and date. Secondly due to networking issues which may include DNS issues, Port 1688 blocked by firewalls. To differentiate the name resolution issue to networking, we can run slmgr -skms <IP>:1688. If activation is successful then it is a DNS issue, and if not, then its a networking issue.