windows vista sysprep and KMS server issues. RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello.

    we have a windows 2008 KMS server (or we think we do)

    let me explain.  I first activated the windows 2008 using our MAK key and all was good.
    Last week I activated the windows 2008 machine using the KMS method so we could start to activate
    the window vista clients we are planning on deploying.

    A few days later logging on to the windows 2008 machine it says it is no longer activated and another tech activate the machine over the phone. 

    Everything is good on the windows 2008 machines.

    However using sysprep in the answer file is asks for a windows key.  I do not know which which to use in the file.
    My hardware tech used the KMS key and I think we have reached the limit on this key.

    As after 5 machine it said the key was in use.

    Can I build an sysprep without a key in the file in anyway.  Should I put my MAK key in the answer file.

    Microsoft licensing was unable to help with this issue and technical support says this is a paid issue.


    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 4:51 PM


  • You've got a couple of problems - but you can probably help yourself to the answers by downloading the content here:


    Volume Activation 2.0 Technical Guidance



    But to trouble shoot, the first you need to determine is exactly how you have used that KMS key. The KMS key is to be used ONLY to activate a KMS service NOT to activate individual machines (client or server). Once the KMS service is running, then it will receive queries from the VL clients and servers to be activated.  So, it appears that you have used the KMS key in such a manner that you've used up the # of machines that you can use to HOST the KMS service.  From any machine where you think you have done this, you can use the "SLMGR.VBS -dli" command to interogate the machine to see how it has been activated.  You probably should also download the Volume Activation Management Tool from:




    which will allow you do do a lot of the needed remediation & interrogation from a central machine running the tool.


    The other problem is the issue about what key you use when you deploy Vista. You can deploy a Vista client Volume License version w/o entering ANY key at deploy time. The way this works is that VL versions of Vista have a "setup" product key in the \sources\pid.txt file. As long as your unattend.xml does not have any <ProductKey></ProductKey> sections in it AT ALL & you have that pid.txt when you deploy you won't be asked for a key. IF you use a key that should be used only to activate a KMS service you will run out of key usages quickly (6 usages by default). You can use a MAK, but KMS offers a better solution & you can use MAK as exceptions for mobile users that may not connect to the corporate network (all that is in the downloads from above).


    And just as an aside - "slmgr.vbs" is your new best friend! Get to understand its switches & usage & you can get your VL deployments back in order.


    Hope this helps!


    Glenn Fincher

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 9:47 PM