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Is the Windows 7 KMS Key used at any point in OSD for the client or is the key used exclusively for the KMS Host?

    Question

  • I've activated a KMS Host (this is currently a Windows Server 2003 server running license service 1.2).  That's set and ready to authorize our KMS computers (I realize we need at least 25 clients before it starts working).

    Regarding our preparation for deployment of Windows 7 Pro KMS.....

    I have just installed and captured a fat image that I'm about to deploy via SCCM 2007 SP2 OSD.  Traditionally, we would enter a product key for Windows XP in the task sequence part.  However, when I did this during a build and capture test I just completed, the build failed because I had the key entered (I guess that's a big no-no).  So, I removed the key and it worked just fine.  Build and Capture completed successfully.  I then proceeded to set up the client with required software (i.e. "fat" image) and threw in a capture disc to grab that image and toss it up on the server.  That's done.

    Now, I've created an operating system image through the SCCM console, a task sequence, and advertisement.  In the task sequence though, I did not choose to enter the Windows 7 KMS Key.  Normally with XP, I would input our volume license key here.

    With that out of the way, I suppose my question is should I have added the Windows 7 KMS Key in the task sequence or does entering the key even matter?  Does the Windows 7 KMS key get used anywhere other than the KMS host??

    Wednesday, December 23, 2009 11:19 PM

Answers

  • KMS keys are used only to create KMS systems; they are not the equivalent of the legacy volume license keys (VLK). The rough equivalent of a VLK is the multiple activation key (MAK). Never use a KMS key unless you are standing up a KMS. Clients activating against a KMS -- aka KMS clients -- do not require a key. That's part of the "beauty" of the KMS scheme, you never have to enter or give out a key.

    To directly answer the question, don't put any key in the TS for Vista/7/2008/2008 R2 clients that will activate against your local KMS.
    Jason | http://myitforum.com/cs2/blogs/jsandys | http://blogs.catapultsystems.com/jsandys/default.aspx | Twitter @JasonSandys
    Thursday, December 24, 2009 2:17 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • KMS keys are used only to create KMS systems; they are not the equivalent of the legacy volume license keys (VLK). The rough equivalent of a VLK is the multiple activation key (MAK). Never use a KMS key unless you are standing up a KMS. Clients activating against a KMS -- aka KMS clients -- do not require a key. That's part of the "beauty" of the KMS scheme, you never have to enter or give out a key.

    To directly answer the question, don't put any key in the TS for Vista/7/2008/2008 R2 clients that will activate against your local KMS.
    Jason | http://myitforum.com/cs2/blogs/jsandys | http://blogs.catapultsystems.com/jsandys/default.aspx | Twitter @JasonSandys
    Thursday, December 24, 2009 2:17 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi Tyson,

    As this thread has been quiet for a while, we assume that the issue has been resolved. At this time, we will mark it as "Answered" as the previous steps should be helpful for many similar scenarios.

    In addition, we’d love to hear your feedback about the solution. By sharing your experience you can help other community members facing similar problems.

    Thanks,


    Yog Li - MSFT
    Wednesday, December 30, 2009 12:13 PM
  • Doesn't look like anyone linked him the "Volume Activation Technical Reference Guide" Technet entry.  I actually came across this post as I was setting up our KMS server and was still a little confused after reading this. 

    So here is the Technet entry about KMS:  http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee355153.aspx

    And if you go down to the "KMS Client setup keys":  http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee355153.aspx#EFAA

    Those keys are the client side key you actually enter in your build, Tyson.  Like they said above only use the KMS key on the KMS server, and the appropriate client key on the client.

     

    -CD

     

    • Proposed as answer by chadddada Monday, March 22, 2010 3:03 PM
    Monday, March 22, 2010 3:02 PM
  • Ah, this just seems to answer my question. I know the difference between KMS and MAK so that's not the issue. I was rather wondering whether to enter a key in my TS for OSD or not. I thought that every client needs the freely available KMS key to authenticate against the KMS server which in turn authenticates at Microsoft which it's own KMS-key to activated the clients. But as it seems like the only key I have to enter is the KMS key on the server itself while keeping the appropriate box "Enter the license information for installing windows" in my SCCM TS empty. Am I right so far ?
    Friday, October 22, 2010 10:18 AM
  • You can enter the common KMS client key in the TS but this isn't required because Windows 7 will use this key by default. If you open pid.txt on the Windows 7 source media (I think it's in the sources directory), you will see the common KMS client key.
    Jason | http://myitforum.com/cs2/blogs/jsandys | http://blogs.catapultsystems.com/jsandys/default.aspx | Twitter @JasonSandys
    Friday, October 22, 2010 2:30 PM
    Moderator
  • Hello everyone, question. So I understand the difference between the MAK and KMS Licensing. What Im confused about after reading the technical documentation is when deploying the KMS server which key do I use to active it the OS. Should I be using the KMS CLient setup keys to activate the server Operating system and later be using our Company's KMS key when setting up the server as a KMS Host or should I use the KMS key from my site for both activating the server's operating system and during the KMS Setup. What exaclty are the KMS Client setup keys for, are those keys used on clients that were previously MAK clients and need to be converted to their Default KMS config. In addition I will need to deploy the KMS key within Group C of the KMS licensing. If so does the KMS host need to be Windows Server 2008 Datacenter edition... I would appreciate any clarification on this. Thanks in advance.

     


    Gabriel


    Monday, May 16, 2011 8:16 PM
  • If a system is going to be a KMS (Activation) server, you can use the KMS Server key anytime you want including intial setup. If you use an MAK or KMS Client key to initially install the system, then adding the KMS server key at a later time will simply replace the other key. There is no KMS setup; once you add the KMS server key to a system, it is from that point on also a KMS.

    KMS Client keys tell a client not to activate to the Microsoft activation servers but to instead activate to a local KMS Server finding it (by default) via DNS. Note that the KMS client key is built into the installation media of all Windows (KMS enabled) versions so you don't ever have to explicitly specify it unless you are switching from an MAK key. You can also the VAMT to quickly assess hich keys are being used and switch them.

    The KMS server does not need to match edition wise the group key being deployed. You can deploy a Group C key on Standard edition fine.

     


    Jason | http://myitforum.com/cs2/blogs/jsandys | Twitter @JasonSandys
    Tuesday, May 17, 2011 1:39 AM
    Moderator
  • Upon capturing an image in SCCM 2012, will it clear the licensing?  Here's why I'm asking.  I captured an image using SCCM 2012 but at this point in time was using a MAK key.  Since then we have setup a KMS server.  Upon redeploying this image it appears as though the MAK key is still in the image  (even if we deploy with a blank task sequence for licensing, it looks like the key was captured with the image).  Will this machine still go out and look for a KMS server and activate, or will it just activate to MS because the MAK key appears to still be there?  I'd rather not re-deploy the image, clean up the licensing and snap it back up if I don't have to.

    Friday, February 08, 2013 3:54 PM
  • Upon capturing an image in SCCM 2012, will it clear the licensing?  Here's why I'm asking.  I captured an image using SCCM 2012 but at this point in time was using a MAK key.  Since then we have setup a KMS server.  Upon redeploying this image it appears as though the MAK key is still in the image  (even if we deploy with a blank task sequence for licensing, it looks like the key was captured with the image).  Will this machine still go out and look for a KMS server and activate, or will it just activate to MS because the MAK key appears to still be there?  I'd rather not re-deploy the image, clean up the licensing and snap it back up if I don't have to.

    assuming you are using a standard ConfigMgr "capture", sysprep is invoked.
    sysprep performs an activation rearm during the generalize phase.
    if you are specifying an unattend file, or product key, within the setup Windows & ConfigMgr step of your "Deploy" OSD TS, then that would be applied.

    it also depends on what product/channel of Windows you are using (Retail vs. VL channel).
    If you are using MAK, than that implies VL product/channel


    Don
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    Saturday, February 09, 2013 10:05 AM