Installing Volume Activation Services Role in Windows Server 2012 to setup a KMS Host

Installing Volume Activation Services Role in Windows Server 2012 to setup a KMS Host

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Today’s blog will walk you through installing the Volume Activation services role on Windows Server 2012 so you can setup a new Windows Server 2012 KMS host.

Initial Configuration of a new Windows Server 2012 KMS host

1. After installing Windows Server 2012 open Server Manager and choose “Add roles and features”

2. Choose Role-Based or Feature-Based installation

3. Choose your local Windows Server 2012 Server from the Server Pool. Note: These steps do not cover adding the role to offline virtual hard disk.

4. Choose “Volume Activation Services” role.


Figure 1: Add roles and feature wizard 

5. When complete you will see Yellow Triangle in Server manager which means that the role is installed but there is additional post deployment configuration required. Click Volume Activation Tools.


Figure 2. Additional Post Deployment Configuration

6. Choose Key Management Service (KMS) then select the Windows Server 2012 computer you want to create as KMS host. You can also enter different credentials to connect to the server


Figure 3. Select volume Activation Method

7. Enter your KMS Host Key (CSVLK). Note: You can only install a Windows Server 2012 CSVLK at this point. A Windows Server 2012 CSVLK can activate Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2012 KMS clients.


Figure 4. Install your KMS Host Key (CSVLK)

8. Click yes for warning on that you are replacing the currently installed key


Figure 5. Uninstall existing key

9. Click Activate Product


Figure 6. Activate product

10. Select the product and type of activation(Online or Phone) and click Commit


Figure 7. Activate online or phone

11. On the summary page click Close to accept defaults or click Next to configure options


Figure 8. Default KMS Configuration

12. If you click Next you can configure the following options:

  • Volume License Activation Interval(Default 2 hours): How often the KMS client attempts activation before it is activated and during Grace and Notifications
  • Volume License renewal Interval(Default 7 days): How often KMS client renews it’s activation
  • KMS TCP Listening port(Default 1688): Port used by KMS
  • KMS Firewall Exceptions: Which firewall profile to add KMS exception to
  • DNS records (Default Yes): Publish the KMS record to DNS. If unchecked you can create the record manually using these steps
  • Publish to custom DNS zones: Names of additional DNS zones to publish the KMS record to


Figure 9. Customize default KMS Host configuration

13. Click Commit to save changes

Changing Configuration of KMS Host

Once you have configured the KMS host you can check the configuration by opening Server Manager, Click Tools, “Volume activation tools”. You will need to enter the computername and now you get a prompt where you can choose “Skip to Configuration”


Figure 10. Skip to Configuration

The Configuration screen shows some of the common configuration options available. See above for additional information on these options. In previous versions of Windows some of these options were only available when using slmgr.vbs or specific registry keys. Windows Server 2012 adds GUI option to configure these options now


Figure 11. KMS Host Configuration

You should also verify that the KMS host registered in DNS. For additional information see the following KB article:

Event ID 12293: 0x80072338 error registering KMS host in DNS

To manage KMS hosts, Active Directory Based activation, or get detailed information about activation for client machines you should install VAMT 3.0 which is available to install as part of the Automated Deployment Kit. This can be installed on the KMS host or client machine.

Good luck with your activations :)

Scott McArthur
Senior Support Escalation Engineer
Microsoft Commercial Support & Services

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  • Thank you  for helping

  • Is volume activation supported on server core?? or core with minimal gui??

  • What about Office products??

  • @John:  The volume activation services role is not supported on core.  See for supported roles.  Minimal Server Interface should work

    @Tireak:  The steps above are for Windows only.  If you want to setup Office 2013 take a look at

  • Should existing KMS Server for Windows and office 2010 be uninstalled prior to installing KMS on Windows server 2012?

  • Can you Install KMS role on the VM ?

  • Thanks for this update. Please let me know like if in case if we need to create a db for the same and its like we have to install the SQL Express, then at that case what is the probability to do each at side by side. Would i have to use a SQL at a different way or I have can do this by the native tool.

    Please update and thanks for this post.

  • What about changing a 2012 KMS server to activate 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 Enterprise? When do we get those keys?

  • Thank you, up and running in no time

  • Pls during the installation, it requested for KMS host key, hw cn i go about it.

  • Please Help; this is the error I get : the software licensing service reported that the license is not installed

  • HELP!!!

    When I entered the server's name during configuration, I messed up and entered the computers name (dc1) not the FQDN of the server (

    How can I change this as none of my clients are seeing the KMS server from the AD/DNS.

  • we need bto install my volume.....please help me......

  • Good article. I do have one question. Is it possible for a KMS server in one AD domain to activate clients on a different domain that is not part of the same forest? There is a 2 way trust in place. Having difficulty finding info on this

  • I have few questions.

    *cscript C:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /ipk (Which Keys we have to use.)

    *The below mentioned points need to ocnfigure in the new server I can procceed with using which i need to register each induvidual/how to proceed.

    Microsoft Windows 8

    Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2

    Microsoft Office 2013

    * the old win-2003 server is dc and kms in the below has configured how to pull the information/transfer the kms to new kms server.please give me some brief steps.

    Microsoft Windows 7

    Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2

    Please expecting you from step by step guide...urgent waiting for your reply...