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VAMT: Baffled on how to preserve MAK license count and re-apply activation/confirmation IDs to re-imaged computer (VM or physical)

    Question

  • Hello,

    I am currently testing several Windows 10 ENT deployment scenarios (MDT etc) using MSDN media and the supplied MAK key.

    Since MSDN changed the structure of the license keys with my subscription (I used to have volume license keys and now they have changed to MAK) - I am very concerned that with continual re-imaging of test VMs (and actual physical machines) - if activated with the MAK key - will drop the activation count until none are left - so I have held back on activating these various test builds.


    Then I found out about the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) and it's concept of "Proxy Activation" (and the export of a .CILX file) which seems to preserve the MAK activation count as long as it's done correctly. I have read the various proxy scenarios found here:

    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-ca/library/hh825202.aspx

    But these instructions are very confusing.  My scenario differs from the article in that I only have a single Windows 2012R2 server that is running a single instance of the VAMT tool.  I installed a test build of Windows 10 ENT 1607 over the weekend and as able to activate this install using VAMT. I then exported a .CILX file for this specific computer and saved it.  

    Question 1: If I want to re-image this machine (keeping identical name and without changing any hardware) - what is the correct process to import the .CILX file data to my existing install of VAMT and then reapply the activation data to a new build without decrementing my the MAK activation count?

    Q2:  If I choose to re-image a physical machine (Or a VM - which I build and drop like crazy) - and intend to keep the computer name the same and the hardware the same - what do I do (if anything) with the computer entry that already exists within the VAMT database (containing activation data for the previous build of the machine)?

    Do I :

    1. Attempt to re-add the named computer back into the VAMT database? (Discover Products - sounds like it will trigger a duplicate scenario)
    2. Remove the current named computer entry from VAMT and re-import the saved CILX file? (does this add the machine back in?)
    3. Leave the current named computer entry within VAMT (same name, same hardware etc) and then perform some sort of import operation (Get confirmation IDs' etc) using the .CILX file)? Or some other VAMT command?

    Appreciate any information you can share.

    Cheers,

    Bruce McDonald

    Tuesday, March 28, 2017 7:44 PM

All replies

  • Hi Bruce,

    MAK Independent activation installs a MAK product key on a client computer. The key instructs that computer to activate itself with Microsoft servers over the Internet. In MAK Proxy activation, VAMT installs a MAK product key on a client computer, obtains the installation ID (IID) from the target computer, sends the IID to Microsoft on behalf of the client, and obtains a confirmation ID (CID). The tool then activates the client computer by installing the CID.

    For further information about the VAMT, please ask in Server forum for professional help:

    https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/home?forum=winserversetup

    The reason why we recommend posting appropriately is you will get the most qualified pool of respondents, and other partners who read the forums regularly can either share their knowledge or learn from your interaction with us. Thank you for your understanding.


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
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    Wednesday, March 29, 2017 8:46 AM
    Moderator
  • Karen,

    I reposted my inquiry to the forum you suggested. Hope I can get some clarity on this tool from someone out there!

    Cheers,

    Bruce


    Wednesday, March 29, 2017 2:22 PM
  • Hello

    The server forums are not the right forums, this is a client tool(part of the ADK which ships with client releases), used mostly with Windows Clients.

    Bruce you just need to follow steps 11 and 12 from the page you have above to apply the confirmation IDS.

    This is treated like the Isolated Lab scenario, all you are doing is re-applying the confirmation IDS.


    Thanks, Darrell Gorter [MSFT] This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

    Wednesday, March 29, 2017 5:31 PM
  • Hello

    The server forums are not the right forums, this is a client tool(part of the ADK which ships with client releases), used mostly with Windows Clients.

    Darryl - Appreciate the direction. However - someone should discuss this with Karen Hu when making suggestions in the future.

    Regarding Steps 11 and 12 - from the page above...

    Step 11 - Clearly implies "importing" a CILX file back into VAMT. But if the computer being re-imaged has the same name and same hardware and most importantly - is already present as a "product" in VAMT - what does importing this CILX file actually do?

    And - I actually tried this "step" within another test last month. I had a test server using Windows Server 2012R2 on some old hardware with the intent to rebuild this server with newer hardware when it arrived.

    Part of this test was to test VAMT as well. I set it up and walked thru thee various processes of importing "products" (computers), adding license keys and so on. I also tested the "proxy" process by activating a single test Computer (burning one MAK activation) and saving the .CILX file - with the intent of re-applying this activation when I rebuilt the server on the new hardware I had ordered.

    Few weeks ago - my hardware came in, I rebuilt the server, reinstalled VAMT and was ready to "reapply" the activation to my shiny new VAMT database. But when I went to import the .CILX file - the following cryptic error appears:

    No one has been able to tell me what it means - but if I cut through the overblown excessively busy text of this message - I believe it is trying to tell me that the original computer associated with this .CILX file is not in the database (which it wasn't) - please readd the computer and try again.

    But therein lies the confusion - no where could I find any reference that I had to "re-add" the computer to VAMT BEFORE importing a .CILX file. I assumed the whole point of the .CILX file was to restore an activation/confirmation IDs AND the actual computer "product" data (Computer name etc) that was part of the export in the first place. 

    Step 12

    Seems logical enough - highlight a computer in the list and re-apply it's confirmation IDs. As long as Step 11 was done properly.

    But again - is it assuming that the named computer is previously present in the VAMT database? Is there any thought to the fact that steps 11 and 12 may actually be done against a new install of VAMT that has no computers in it's database yet.

    Would be nice if that article would offer a "NOTE: Before importing a previously exported .CILX file - you must have existing computers imported into VAMT database"

    Appreciate any additional thoughts on this.

    Cheers!

    B

    Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:16 PM
  • Hello,

    There is no guarantee this is going to work.

    This is not considered a supported scenario, it may work which enables you accomplish what you are wanting to do.  The presumption is that machine is already present since this is designed to work with disconnected machines, where you would move the VAMT database from an isolated network to a network where you connect and get the confirmation ID, then take the same database back to isolated network and apply the confirmation ID back to the machines already in the database.  As a side benefit, you re-use the same confirmation ID with new installs as long as the machine is seen as exactly the same.

    The hardware has to be identical to be recognized( consider firmware updates and drivers that may have changed as well)


    Thanks, Darrell Gorter [MSFT] This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

    Wednesday, March 29, 2017 8:24 PM