Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Frequently Asked Questions about Volume License Keys for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008

Frequently Asked Questions about Volume License Keys for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008

Published: February 8, 2008 | Updated: May 14, 2008

 


 

 

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Q.

How do I deploy Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 by using Multiple Activation Keys (MAK) and Key Management Service (KMS) keys?

A.

To deploy Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, follow the guidelines available from Microsoft TechNet. The documentation is available for download to use when you plan and manage deployment.

 

Q.

What is a KMS key?

A.

A KMS key is a Volume License Key that is used to establish an activation service that is hosted locally in your environment. After the service is established, you can activate your client and server computers by connecting to the KMS host computer. Computers activated through KMS must reactivate at least once every six months by connecting to the KMS host.

A KMS key can activate six KMS hosts with 10 activations per host. Each host can be used to activate an unlimited number of computers that are running Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista Business, or Windows Vista Enterprise. If you need more activations for your KMS key, you can call your Microsoft Activation Center to request an increase.

Find the telephone number for your Microsoft Activation Center

Download a document about MAK and KMS Volume License Keys and activation limits (Microsoft Word file, 57.5 KB)

Q.

How do I get a KMS key?

A.

KMS keys can be obtained in the same ways you obtained Volume Activation 1.0 keys (that is, keys for Windows XP Professional and Windows Server 2003 R2):

Go to the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC).
KMS keys are available from the Volume License Keys page.

Contact your Microsoft Activation Center.

If you are a Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) customer, you will need to request keys by calling your Activation Center; the keys are not available through the VLSC.

Q.

What is a Multiple Activation Key?

A.

A Multiple Activation Key (MAK) is a Volume License Key that activates your client and server computers by connecting them to a Microsoft activation server one time. After the computers are activated, no further communication with Microsoft is required.

There are two activation methods for MAK:

1.

MAK Independent Activation. Each computer is activated individually by connecting to Microsoft servers over the Internet or by telephone.

2.

MAK Proxy Activation. By using the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT), you can activate multiple computers at the same time through a single connection to Microsoft servers over the Internet or phone.

Download the Volume Activation Management Tool

Q.

How do I get a MAK?

A.

There are two ways to get a MAK:

1.

Go to the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC).
On the Volume License Keys page, find the agreement you want. Select the check boxes for each MAK you want to request, and then click Request MAK key. Your request will be processed and the page will be updated to provide your MAK keys.

2.

Contact your Microsoft Activation Center.
If you are a Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) customer, you will need to request keys by calling your Activation Centers; the keys are not available through the VLSC.

 

Q.

Are there usage limits on MAK keys?

A.

MAK keys allow a predetermined number of activations. This number depends on the type of agreement you have. The number of activations can be revised (at the request of the customer or by Microsoft) to accommodate your regular usage. If your existing MAK activation limit is inadequate for your deployment, please contact the Microsoft Activation Center.

Find the telephone number for your Microsoft Activation Center

Download a document about MAK and KMS Volume License Keys and activation limits (Microsoft Office Word file, 57.5 KB)

Q.

Can I use both MAK and KMS keys for deployment across my organization?

A.

Yes. Volume Licensing customers can use KMS keys, MAKs, or both to activate their computers.

Q.

Are there any changes with Windows Server 2008 keys?

A.

Yes. MAKs and KMS keys are available per server product group and edition. The following table shows the details of the types of keys available. Windows Server 2008 keys are aligned with product group editions and there are more keys available; this may entail more planning and management until you are comfortable with the changes. For example, Windows Vista Volume License Keys worked for both Windows Vista Enterprise and Windows Vista Business.

Products Activated by MAK

Volume product group

Windows products

Key type

Products activated by key type

Vista VL

Windows Vista Business

Windows Vista Enterprise

MAK

Windows Vista Business

Windows Vista Enterprise

Server Group A

Windows Web Server 2008

MAK_A

Windows Web Server 2008

Server Group B

Windows Server 2008 Standard

Windows Server 2008 Standard without Hyper-V

Windows Server 2008 Enterprise

Windows Server 2008 Enterprise without Hyper-V

MAK_B

Windows Server 2008 Standard

Windows Server 2008 Standard without Hyper-V

Windows Server 2008 Enterprise

Windows Server 2008 Enterprise without Hyper-V

Server Group C

Windows Server 2008 Datacenter

Windows Server 2008 Datacenter without Hyper-V

Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems

MAK_C

Windows Server 2008 Datacenter

Windows Server 2008 Datacenter without Hyper-V

Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems

MAK keys for Windows Server 2008 must be used with specific server products. For example, if you purchase licenses for Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, you must use the MAK_B key.

Products Activated by KMS Key

Volume product group

Windows products

Key type

Products activated by key type

Vista VL

Windows Vista Business

Windows Vista Enterprise

KMS

Windows Vista Business

Windows Vista Enterprise

Server Group A

Windows Web Server 2008

KMS_A

Windows Web Server 2008

Windows Vista Business

Windows Vista Enterprise

Server Group B

Windows Server 2008 Standard

Windows Server 2008 Standard without Hyper-V

Windows Server 2008 Enterprise

Windows Server 2008 Enterprise without Hyper-V

KMS_B

Windows Server 2008 Standard

Windows Server 2008 Standard without Hyper-V

Windows Server 2008 Enterprise

Windows Server 2008 Enterprise without Hyper-V

Server Group A

Windows Vista Business

Windows Vista Enterprise

Server Group C

Windows Server 2008 Datacenter

Windows Server 2008 Datacenter without Hyper-V

Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems

KMS_C

Windows Server 2008 Datacenter

Windows Server 2008 Datacenter without Hyper-V

Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems

Server Group B

Server Group A

Windows Vista Business

Windows Vista Enterprise

KMS keys are hierarchical. For example, if you have licenses for Windows Server 2008 Datacenter and Standard editions, you should use the KMS key associated with Datacenter product (KMS_C key) to activate machines installed with Windows Server 2008 Datacenter as well as Windows Server 2008 Standard.

Q.

Can I use my Windows Server 2008 KMS keys to activate Windows Vista client computers?

A.

Yes. You can use a Windows Server 2008 computer as a KMS host. If you do this, you do not need to set up a host computer by using a Windows Vista KMS key.

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