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Michael Greene


How to move Vista from MAK back to KMS client

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One item in the volume activation step by step guide that is a bit confusing is the method for moving a Vista machine that is currently using the MAK back to being a KMS client.

Convert a client using MAK Activation to use KMS Activation

The instructions are easy to follow, you use slmgr.vbs and the extensions "-ipk <setup key>".  No problem!  Wait.  Setup key?

If you search the document for pid.txt you will find a section titled Product Key Considerations.  In the section the paragraph contains:

"Volume editions of Windows Vista default to KMS-based activation and do not require a product key to be entered during setup. Windows Vista Volume License editions use a specific pre-defined setup key in the sources\pid.txt file."

That is the setup key referenced by the example.  So if you open .\Sources\pid.txt on your Vista volume media, you will find a generic product key that is used for your installations by default.  That key tells the machine to become a KMS client, and is what should be used in the operation where <setup key> is given.  You can use it for any of the volume media installations where you were using MAK and want to convert back to being a KMS client.

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  • For years now Microsoft is using Windows Product Activation to protect its intellectual property from

  • After changing the licensing from MAK to KMS, does it means that the number of MAK license on the MS licensing page for my account will be reduced automatically?

  • The MAK counter would decrement when you activate a machine using MAK, not when changing between keys.

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