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KMS Activation

Windows 8

 You need to install VAMT version 3 (with SQL Server) to support Windows 8 and server 2012.
 You set your KMS server up using the KMS key for your 2008 R2 server.
 You the enter your Windows 8 Ent KMS key as an additional product key on VAMT, but note:
 You will need to have at least 25 machines running Windows 8 on your network before you can use your KMS server to activate Windows 8 machines.


KMS Server

Installing a new key:

cd \Windows\System32
cscript slmgr.vbs -ipk YOUR-KMS-KEY
cscript slmgr.vbs -ato

Setting it all up

Make it a KMS host:

  • slmgr -upk ⇒ Uninstall product key
  • slmgr -ipk <YOUR KMS KEY> ⇒ Install KMS key. This will make this server the new KMS host.
  • slmgr -sdns ⇒ Enable DNS publishing.
  • slmgr -dlv ⇒ Display license info. Check if everything is OK.
  • slmgr -xpr ⇒ Expiration date. The server should be permanently licensed.

Install VAMT


Error: 0xC004F074 The software Licensing Service reported that the computer could not be activated. No Key Management Service (KMS) could be contacted.

This error was misleading. I manually configured the KMS server address on the client, by typing “slmgr -skms” (replacing with the IP address of the KMS host) and then the error message changed:

Error: 0xC004F038 The software Licensing Service reported that the computer could not be activated. The count reported by your Key Management Service (KMS) is insufficient

After fixing up DNS, some of the remaining clients still have the “could not be contacted” message. The fix was to go to each PC, and type “ipconfig /flushdns & slmgr -ato” - they'll then give the “count reported is insufficient” error message. At that point, if you go back to your KMS host, and run “slmgr -dlv”, you should see the “Current count” number has gone up, and you should stop getting any error messages when that number reaches 25.

Client Count

If you try to activate against a KMS Server, and the client count is not at least the following:

  • 25 for any Windows Client Operating System
  • 5 for any Windows Server Operating System
  • 5 for any Microsoft Office Application/Suite

You will get the following error if the client count is not at that minimum:

0xC004F038 The software Licensing Service reported that the computer could not be activated. The count reported by your Key Management Service (KMS) is insufficient. Please contact your system administrator.

  • KMS Client Emulator will simulate connections so this isn't a problem. I haven't tried it yet.

On the KMS host, if you run the command “slmgr -dlv”, you should see the “Current count” number increment each time a client tries to activate. Once this reaches 25 it should start working.

Activating Servers

I haven't confirmed this yet, but it seems like if you install the KMS host on a client OS, then you won't be able to activate server OS's. As per this post on TechNet forums,

Nope, you can't activate ServerOS if your KMShost is a ClientOS, but, you can use a ServerOS as KMShost to activate ClientOS.

Activating a KMS client

Clients know to use KMS because they were initially given the KMS activation key. Converting MAK Clients to KMS and KMS Clients to MAK: slmgr.vbs /ipk <KmsSetupKey>

Here's a list of the KMS setup keys - it's different depending on which version of Windows you're using. You can check whether it's already using the right KMS setup key by doing slmgr /dlv

To force it to activate now: slmgr -ato

If it fails to find the correct KMS server, you can force it to use a specific one like so: slmgr -skms <KmsServer>:1688

Uninstalling a KMS Host

  1. Uninstall the KMS host key first by running the following command: slmgr -upk
  2. Then, install the default kms key by running the following command: slmgr /ipk [KMS Client Setup Key]
  3. Delete the record from the DNS: Open DNS console, Expand _tcp node under the There will be a record _VLMCS. Delete this record.
  4. The KMS server is uninstalled.


Installing KMS key for Office 2016

  1. Install Microsoft Office 2016 Volume License Pack (I used Server 2012 R2 as the KMS host server)
  2. Choose KMS, not Active Directory
  3. As part of the wizard, it will ask you to enter the key. Do it here. I tried using VAMT later to add the key and it didn't work. I re-ran the installer, entered the key into the wizard, and this did work.

To force activation on a client

cd “\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16”

cscript ospp.vbs /act
cscript ospp.vbs /sethst:svr-kms01

if this fails with 0x80070005 it because you need to RunAs Administrator

Archived info about activating Office 2013 with KMS

kms_activation.txt · Last modified: 2018/04/09 09:56 (external edit)