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In this article

Applies to

Windows 10Windows 8.1Windows 8Windows 7Windows Server 2012 R2Windows Server 2012Windows Server 2008 R2

Looking for retail activation?

Product activation is the process of validating software with the manufacturer after it has been installed on a specific computer. Activation confirms that the hàng hóa is genuine—not a fraudulent copy—& that the sản phẩm key or serial number is valid and has not been compromised or revoked. Activation also establishes a liên kết or relationship between the sản phẩm key & the particular installation.

During the activation process, information about the specific installation is examined. For online activations, this information is sent to lớn a server at mongkiemthe.com. This information may include the software version, the product key, the IPhường address of the computer, and information about the device. The activation methods that mongkiemthe.com uses are designed khổng lồ help protect user privacy, and they cannot be used khổng lồ trachồng baông xã lớn the computer or user. The gathered data confirms that the software is a legally licensed copy, & this data is used for statistical analysis. mongkiemthe.com does not use this information khổng lồ identify or tương tác the user or the organization.


The IP address is used only lớn verify the location of the request, because some editions of Windows (such as “Starter” editions) can only be activated within certain geographical target markets.

Distribution channels & activation

In general, mongkiemthe.com software is obtained through three main channels: retail, original equipment manufacturer (OEM), and volume licensing agreements. Different activations methods are available through each channel. Because organizations are không tính tiền khổng lồ obtain software through multiple channels (for example, buying some at retail và others through a volume licensing program) most organizations choose khổng lồ use a combination of activation methods.

Retail activations

The retail activation method has not changed in several versions of Windows & Windows Server. Each purchased copy comes with one chất lượng product key (often referred to as a retail key). The user enters this key during sản phẩm installation. The computer uses this retail key khổng lồ complete the activation after the installation is complete. Most activations are performed online, but telephone activation is also available.Recently, retail keys have sầu been expanded inkhổng lồ new distribution scenarios. Product key cards are available to lớn activate products that have been preinstalled or downloaded. Programs such as Windows Anytime Upgrade và Get Genuine allow users to lớn acquire legal keys separately from the software. These electronically distributed keys may come with truyền thông media that contains software, they can come as a software shipment, or they may be provided on a printed card or electronic copy. Products are activated the same way with any of these retail keys.

Original equipment manufacturer

Most original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) sell systems that include a standard build of the Windows operating system. The hardware vendor activates Windows by associating the operating system with the firmware (BIOS) of the computer. This occurs before the computer is sent khổng lồ the customer, và no additional actions are required.OEM activation is valid as long as the customer uses the OEM-provided image on the system. OEM activation is available only for computers that are purchased through OEM channels and have the Windows operating system preinstalled.

Volume licensing

Volume licensing offers customized programs that are tailored to the form size & purchasing preference of the organization. To become a volume licensing customer, the organization must set up a volume licensing agreement with mongkiemthe.com.There is a comtháng misunderstanding about acquiring licenses for a new computer through volume licensing. There are two legal ways to acquire a full Windows client license for a new computer:

Have sầu the license preinstalled through the OEM.Purchase a fully packaged retail sản phẩm.

The licenses that are provided through volume licensing programs such as Open License, Select License, and Enterprise Agreements cover upgrades to lớn Windows client operating systems only. An existing retail or OEM operating system license is needed for each computer running Windows 10, Windows 8.1 Pro, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate, or Windows XP Professional before the upgrade rights obtained through volume licensing can be exercised.Volume licensing is also available through certain subscription or membership programs, such as the mongkiemthe.com Partner Network và MSDoanh Nghiệp. These volume licenses may contain specific restrictions or other changes to the general terms applicable khổng lồ volume licensing.

Note Some editions of the operating system, such as Windows 10 Enterprise, và some editions of application software are available only through volume licensing agreements or subscriptions.

Activation models

For a user or IT department, there are no significant choices about how lớn activate products that are acquired through retail or OEM channels. The OEM performs the activation at the factory, & the user or the IT department need take no activation steps.

With a retail hàng hóa, the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT), which is discussed later in this guide, helps you traông chồng and manage keys. For each retail activation, you can choose:

Online activationTelephone activationVAMT proxy activation

Telephone activation is primarily used in situations where a computer is isolated from all networks. VAMT proxy activation (with retail keys) is sometimes used when an IT department wants to lớn centralize retail activations or when a computer with a retail version of the operating system is isolated from the Internet but connected lớn the LAN. For volume-licensed products, however, you must determine the best method or combination of methods khổng lồ use in your environment. For Windows 10 Pro & Enterprise, you can choose from three models:

MAKsKMSActive sầu Directory-based activation

Note Token-based activation is available for specific situations when approved customers rely on a public key infrastructure in an isolated & high-security environment. For more information, contact your mongkiemthe.com Account Team or your service representative sầu.Token-based Activation option is available for Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB editions (Version 1507 & 1607).

Multiple activation key

A Multiple Activation Key (MAK) is commonly used in small- or mid-sized organizations that have sầu a volume licensing agreement, but they vị not meet the requirements lớn operate a KMS or they prefer a simpler approach. A MAK alsoallows permanent activation of computers that are isolated from the KMS or are part of an isolated network that does not have sầu enough computers khổng lồ use the KMS.

To use a MAK, the computers to be activated must have sầu a MAK installed. The MAK is used for one-time activation with the mongkiemthe.com online hosted activation services, by telephone, or by using VAMT proxy activation.In the simplest terms, a MAK acts like a retail key, except that a MAK is valid for activating multiple computers. Each MAK can be used a specific number of times. The VAMT can assist in tracking the number of activations that have sầu been performed with each key và how many remain.

Organizations can tải về MAK và KMS keys from the Volume Licensing Service Center trang web. Each MAK has a prephối number of activations, which are based on a percentage of the count of licenses the organization purchases; however, you can increase the number of activations that are available with your MAK by calling mongkiemthe.com.

Key Management Service

With the Key Management Service (KMS), IT pros can complete activations on their local network, eliminating the need for individual computers to lớn connect to lớn mongkiemthe.com for hàng hóa activation. The KMS is a lightweight service that does not require a dedicated system and can easily be cohosted on a system that provides other services.

Volume editions of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2012 R2 (in addition to volume editions of operating system editions since Windows Vista và Windows Server 2008) automatically connect to lớn a system that hosts the KMS to lớn request activation. No action is required from the user.

The KMS requires a minimum number of computers (physical computers or virtual machines) in a network environment. The organization must have at least five sầu computers to activate Windows Server 2012 R2 và at least 25 computers to lớn activate client computers that are running Windows 10. These minimums are referred to as activation thresholds.

Planning khổng lồ use the KMS includes selecting the best location for the KMS host và how many KMS hosts to have sầu. One KMS host can handle a large number of activations, but organizations will often deploy two KMS hosts khổng lồ ensure availability. Only rarely will more than two KMS hosts be used. The KMS can be hosted on a client computer or on a VPS, & it can be run on older versions of the operating system if proper configuration steps are taken. Setting up your KMS is discussed later in this guide.

Active sầu Directory-based activation

Active sầu Directory-based activation is the newest type of volume activation, and it was introduced in Windows 8. In many ways, Active sầu Directory-based activation is similar khổng lồ activation by using the KMS, but the activated computer does not need lớn maintain periodic connectivity with the KMS host. Instead, a domain-joined computer running Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 R2, or Windows Server 2012 R2 queries AD DS for a volume activation object that is stored in the domain name. The operating system checks the digital signatures that are contained in the activation object, & then activates the device.

Active Directory-based activation allows enterprises khổng lồ activate computers through a connection to their domain. Many companies have computers at remote or branch locations, where it is impractical lớn connect to a KMS, or would not reach the KMS activation threshold. Rather than use MAKs, Active sầu Directory-based activation provides a way to lớn activate computers running Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 R2, or Windows Server 2012 R2 as long as the computers can contact the company’s domain name. Active sầu Directory-based activation offers the advantage of extending volume activation services everywhere you already have a domain name presence.

Network và connectivity

A modern business network has many nuances và interconnections. This section examines evaluating your network và the connections that are available to determine how volume activations will occur.

bộ vi xử lý Core network

Your core network is that part of your network that enjoys stable, high-speed, reliable connectivity khổng lồ infrastructure servers. In many cases, the core network is also connected lớn the Internet, although that is not a requirement to use the KMS or Active sầu Directory-based activation after the KMS VPS or AD DS is configured & active sầu. Your core network likely consists of many network segments. In many organizations, the core network makes up the vast majority of the business network.

In the core network, a centralized KMS solution is recommended. You can also use Active sầu Directory-based activation, but in many organizations, KMS will still be required khổng lồ activate older client computers and computers that are not joined khổng lồ the domain name. Some administrators prefer khổng lồ run both solutions to have sầu the most flexibility, while others prefer khổng lồ choose only a KMS-based solution for simplithành phố. Active Directory-based activation as the only solution is workable if all of the clients in your organization are running Windows 10, Windows 8.1, or Windows 8.

A typical core network that includes a KMS host is shown in Figure 1.

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Figure 1. Typical core network

Isolated networks

In a large network, it is all but guaranteed that some segments will be isolated, either for security reasons or because of geography or connectivity issues.

Isolated for security

Sometimes called a high-security zone, a particular network segment may be isolated from the core network by a firewall or disconnected from other networks totally. The best solution for activating computers in an isolated network depends on the security policies in place in the organization.

If the isolated network can access the core network by using outbound requests on TCPhường. port 1688, and it is allowed to lớn receive sầu remote procedure calls (RPCs), you can perkhung activation by using the KMS in the core network, thereby avoiding the need to reach additional activation thresholds.

If the isolated network participates fully in the corporate forest, & it can make typical connections to lớn domain name controllers, such as using Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) for queries và Domain Name Service (DNS) for name resolution, this is a good opportunity khổng lồ use Active sầu Directory-based activation for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 R2, và Windows Server 2012 R2.

If the isolated network cannot communicate with the core network’s KMS VPS, và it cannot use Active Directory-based activation, you can mix up a KMS host in the isolated network. This configuration is shown in Figure 2. However, if the isolated network contains only a few computers, it will not reach the KMS activation threshold. In that case, you can activate by using MAKs.

If the network is fully isolated, MAK-independent activation would be the recommended choice, perhaps using the telephone option. But VAMT proxy activation may also be possible. You can also use MAKs lớn activate new computers during cài đặt, before they are placed in the isolated network.


Figure 2. New KMS host in an isolated network

Branch offices and distant networksFrom mining operations to ships at sea, organizations often have sầu a few computers that are not easily connected lớn the core network or the Internet. Some organizations have network segments at branch offices that are large and well-connected internally, but have sầu a slow or unreliable WAN link lớn the rest of the organization. In these situations, you have several options:

Active sầu Directory-based activation. In any site where the client computers are running Windows 10, Active sầu Directory-based activation is supported, và it can be activated by joining the tên miền.Local KMS. If a site has 25 or more client computers, it can activate against a local KMS VPS.Remote (core) KMS. If the remote site has connectivity khổng lồ an existing KMS (perhaps through a virtual private network (VPN) lớn the core network), that KMS can be used. Using the existing KMS means that you only need to meet the activation threshold on that server.MAK activation. If the site has only a few computers and no connectivity lớn an existing KMS host, MAK activation is the best option.

Disconnected computers

Some users may be in remote locations or may travel to many locations. This scenario is common for roaming clients, such as the computers that are used by salespeople or other users who are offsite but not at branch locations. This scenario can also apply to lớn remote branch office locations that have sầu no connection lớn the core network. You can consider this an “isolated network,” where the number of computers is one. Disconnected computers can use Active Directory-based activation, the KMS, or MAK depending on the client version & how often the computers connect lớn the core network.If the computer is joined to lớn the tên miền and running Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 R2, or Windows Server 2012 R2 8, you can use Active Directory-based activation—directly or through a VPN—at least once every 180 days. If the computer connects to lớn a network with a KMS host at least every 180 days, but it does not support Active sầu Directory-based activation, you can use KMS activation. Otherwise for computers that rarely or never connect to lớn the network, use MAK independent activation (by using the telephone or the Internet).

Test and development labs

Lab environments often have large numbers of virtual machines, và physical computers và virtual machines in labs are reconfigured frequently. Therefore, first determine whether the computers in demo và development labs require activation. Editions of Windows 10 that include volume licensing will operate normally, even if they cannot activate immediately.If you have sầu ensured that your thử nghiệm or development copies of the operating system are within the license agreement, you may not need to lớn activate the lab computers if they will be rebuilt frequently. If you require that the lab computers be activated, treat the lab as an isolated network và use the methods described earlier in this guide.In labs that have a high turnover of computers and a small number of KMS clients, you must monitor the KMS activation count. You might need to adjust the time that the KMS caches the activation requests. The default is 30 days.

Mapping your network to lớn activation methods

Now it’s time khổng lồ assemble the pieces inkhổng lồ a working solution. By evaluating your network connectivity, the numbers of computers you have sầu at each site, and the operating system versions in use in your environment, you have collected the information you need lớn determine which activation methods will work best for you. You can fill-in information in Table 1 lớn help you make this determination.

Table 1. Criteria for activation methods

CriterionActivation method
Number of domain-joined computers that tư vấn Active sầu Directory-based activation (computers running Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 R2, or Windows Server 2012 R2) and will connect to a domain name controller at least every 180 days. Computers can be di động, semi-isolated, or located in a branch office or the core network.Active Directory-based activation
Number of computers in the core network that will connect (directly or through a VPN) at least every 180 days

NoteThe core network must meet the KMS activation threshold.

KMS (central)
Number of computers that vì chưng not connect to lớn the network at least once every 180 days (or if no network meets the activation threshold)MAK
Number of computers in semi-isolated networks that have connectivity lớn the KMS in the core networkKMS (central)
Number of computers in isolated networks where the KMS activation threshold is metKMS (local)
Number of computers in isolated networks where the KMS activation threshold is not metMAK
Number of computers in test và development labs that will not be activatedNone
Number of computers that do not have a retail volume licenseRetail (online or phone)
Number of computers that bởi vì not have sầu an OEM volume licenseOEM (at factory)
Total number of computer activationsNoteThis total should match the total number of licensed computers in your organization.

Choosing & acquiring keys

When you know which keys you need, you must obtain them. Generally speaking, volume licensing keys are collected in two ways:

KMS host keys

A KMS host needs a key that activates, or authenticates, the KMS host with mongkiemthe.com. This key is usually referred khổng lồ as the KMS host key, but it is formally known as a mongkiemthe.com Customer Specific Volume License Key (CSVLK). Most documentation & Internet references earlier than Windows 8.1 use the term KMS key, but CSVLK is becoming more common in current documentation & management tools.

A KMS host running Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2008 R2 can activate both Windows Server và Windows client operating systems. A KMS host key is also needed to lớn create the activation objects in AD DS, as described later in this guide. You will need a KMS host key for any KMS that you want khổng lồ phối up and if you are going lớn use Active Directory-based activation.

Generic volume licensing keys

When you create installation truyền thông media or images for client computers that will be activated by KMS or Active Directory-based activation, install a generic volume license key (GVLK) for the edition of Windows you are creating. GVLKs are also referred to lớn as KMS client thiết đặt keys.

Installation media from mongkiemthe.com for Enterprise editions of the Windows operating system may already contain the GVLK. One GVLK is available for each type of installation. The GLVK will not activate the software against mongkiemthe.com activation servers, but rather against a KMS or Active sầu Directory-based activation object. In other words, the GVLK does not work unless a valid KMS host key can be found. GVLKs are the only sản phẩm keys that vì chưng not need to lớn be kept confidential.

Typically, you will not need to lớn manually enter a GVLK unless a computer has been activated with a MAK or a retail key và it is being converted lớn a KMS activation or to Active sầu Directory-based activation. If you need to lớn locate the GVLK for a particular client edition, see Appendix A: KMS Client Setup Keys.

Multiple activation keys

You will also need MAK keys with the appropriate number of activations available. You can see how many times a MAK has been used on the Volume Licensing Service Center trang web or in the VAMT.

Selecting a KMS host

The KMS does not require a dedicated hệ thống. It can be cohosted with other services, such as AD DS domain controllers & read-only domain name controllers.KMS hosts can run on physical computers or virtual machines that are running any supported Windows operating system. A KMS host that is running Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2008 R2 can activate any Windows client or hệ thống operating system that supports volume activation. A KMS host that is running Windows 10 can activate only computers running Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista.A single KMS host can support unlimited numbers of KMS clients, but mongkiemthe.com recommends deploying a minimum of two KMS hosts for failover purposes. However, as more clients are activated through Active sầu Directory-based activation, the KMS and the redundancy of the KMS will become less important. Most organizations can use as few as two KMS hosts for their entire infrastructure.

The flow of KMS activation is shown in Figure 3, và it follows this sequence:

An administrator uses the VAMT console lớn configure a KMS host và install a KMS host key.mongkiemthe.com validates the KMS host key, and the KMS host starts lớn listen for requests.The KMS host updates resource records in DNS khổng lồ allow clients to locate the KMS host. (Manually adding DNS records is required if your environment does not support DNS dynamic update protocol.)A client configured with a GVLK uses DNS lớn locate the KMS host.The client sends one packet to lớn the KMS host.The KMS host records information about the requesting client (by using a client ID). Client IDs are used khổng lồ maintain the count of clients & detect when the same computer is requesting activation again. The client ID is only used to determine whether the activation thresholds are met. The IDs are not stored permanently or transmitted khổng lồ mongkiemthe.com. If the KMS is restarted, the client ID collection starts again.If the KMS host has a KMS host key that matches the products in the GVLK, the KMS host sends a single packet baông xã to the client. This packet contains a count of the number of computers that have requested activation from this KMS host.If the count exceeds the activation threshold for the product that is being activated, the client is activated. If the activation threshold has not yet been met, the client will try again.


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