Tag Archives: Kms Activation

A GUIDE TO TROUBLESHOOTING KEY MANAGEMENT SERVICE (KMS)

I had a project to work on that involved Key Management Service. Here is a write up on different troubleshooting tips and techniques to make your life easier. Below are excerpts and some data taken from a pretty good technet article.

If you are a windows user then you must be aware of the license activation methods in Windows. However many enterprise customers set up the Key Management Service (KMS) to enable activation of Windows in their environment. It is a simple process to set up the KMS host and the servers activating and the KMS clients discover and attempt to activate on their own.

KMS Overview

KMS client-server model is conceptually similar to DHCP. Instead of handing out IP addresses to clients on their request, KMS enables product activation. KMS is also a renewal model, with the clients attempting to reactivate on a regular interval. There are two roles: the KMS host and the KMS client.

  • The KMS host runs the activation service and enables activation in the environment. The KMS host is the system where you will need to install a key (the KMS key from the Volume License Service Center (VLSC)) and then activate the service. The service is supported on Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2008 R2 and also the newer Windows Server 2012.
  • The KMS client is the Windows operating system that is deployed in the environment and needs to activate – basically your servers that you deploy in your environment. KMS clients can be running any edition of Windows that uses Volume Activation which include Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2008 and the recently released Windows 2012 Servers as well. The KMS clients come with a key pre-installed, called the Generic Volume License Key (GVLK) or  also called as KMS Client Setup Key. The presence of the GVLK is what makes a system a KMS client. Think of the GVLK as a way how that client knows it needs to look for a KMS host. For the whole thing to work – you have to have the DNS SRV record setup. The KMS clients find the KMS host via a DNS SRV record (_vlmcs._tcp) which allows them to discover and use the service to activate themselves. When in the 30 day Out of Box grace period, they will try to activate every 2 hours. Once activated, the KMS clients will attempt a renewal every 7days.

There are two areas of check on the KMS host. To check the status of the software license service on the host. From an elevated command prompt, type SLMGR.vbs /dlv. This will give you verbose output of the Software Licensing service. 

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Below is a list of the information

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