Windows Server: An Overview of Windows Volume Activation

Windows Server: An Overview of Windows Volume Activation

Article Summary: This article provides general information on Windows Volume Activation and links to further information.

Volume licensed products from Windows Vista onward are activated using Volume Activation, a technology that typically allows these products to activate transparently, with little or no action required on the part of the end user or an administrator. There are several different ways to implement Volume Activation in an enterprise:

  • Multiple Activation Keys (MAK): A MAK is a volume-license product key that allows a particular product to be activated using Microsoft's hosted activation servers, similar to a retail product key. The MAK is entered in the appropriate area of the system that needs activation, the system contacts a Microsoft activation server, the MAK is validated, and the product is activated in perpetuity. A MAK has to be manually entered into a system before that system can activate, but no periodic reactivation is necessary.
  • Key Management Service (KMS): KMS allows systems within an environment to activate using a local machine in the same environment; systems needing activation do not have to contact Microsoft directly. This requires that a KMS server be configured in the local environment using a special product key called a KMS host key. The KMS server can run a server or client operating system (OS), but a KMS server running a client OS will only be able to activate other client OSes. Systems activated using KMS must contact a KMS server at least every 180 days to renew their activation. One significant advantage of KMS is that volume licensed versions of Windows are configured with KMS client keys upon installation, so they will activate automatically if a KMS server is present in the environment. For more information on KMS, see Using the Key Management Service (KMS) for Activation of Volume-Licensed Systems.
  • Active Directory-Based Activation (ADBA): ADBA is a new technology in Windows Server 2012 that allows machines running Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 to automatically activate as soon as they join an Active Directory domain. ADBA uses the same underlying mechanism as KMS (as well as the same host key), but any writable domain controller in the domain can serve as the activation server. Like KMS, any system activated using ADBA must periodically renew its activation, but they can do so by contacting any writable domain controller in the domain. For more information on ADBA, see Information on Active Directory-Based Activation in Windows Server 2012.

MAKs and KMS host keys are available from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center, which requires credentials associated with a Volume License Agreement. Since KMS client keys will only function if a KMS server is present, and the KMS server's host key is tied to a particular license agreement, KMS client keys are available to the general public: KMS Client Setup Keys.

For general information from Microsoft regarding Volume Activation, see Microsoft Volume Licensing - Product Activation and Key Information.

The phone numbers of Microsoft's Volume Activation Centers are available here: Microsoft Volume Licensing - Activation Centers.

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Identificación del artículo: SLN266220

Última fecha de modificación: 06/05/2018 11:14 AM

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