Off Campus

Michael Greene

October, 2007

  • Troubleshooting KMS Activation - Part 1, the client

    Windows activation is simple and straightforward if you understand the components. I have had a few customers that stumbled when getting a KMS online and in every case it has been an issue with name resolution, network connectivity, or they simply did not understand how to use the keys. Activation is designed to help you with deployments and sustain your environment even in the event a key gets lost. KMS is the simplest of all the activation methods because you only need to worry about putting a key in one machine. You can then deploy new machines without having to ever worry about keys unless your device will be off the network for more than 6 months. This is the first of a two part series to break down KMS troubleshooting in to a process that should help identify exactly what is at fault. I don't want to mislead or instill fear to those who are just starting out - the process is normally simple by design. However, for those who have run in to trouble, I'd like to publish a guide that will help you isolate and correct the issue you've encountered without spinning your wheels. Part 2 will be published next week with a focus on troubleshooting the server. Part 1, Troubleshooting The Client Let's assume you are a consultant from outside the organization and you know nothing about the environment, server or workstation. The first thing you'll want to do is understand how the client was built. It is possible the machine is retail or OEM, and neither of those use KMS for activation. Any of the "Home" versions, Basic, Premium, or Ultimate, are retail builds and do not use volume licensing methods at this time. This is no change from XP, Media Center and Home were not capable of using the VLK. If you are using the OEM media such as a recovery DVD you would see the machine come online "pre-activated". This is a result of a marker in the BIOS that corresponds with the OEM media. Note: if this marker is not present, such as the case of "naked" OEM workstations, then KMS is not an option for activation. So we are assuming the machine was built using volume media and is capable of being a KMS client. You can test this to be sure by running a the command line and looking for the Name and Description. Right click on the command line icon on the start menu and select "Run As Administrator". Then type - c:\windows\system32\cscript slmgr.vbs -dlv My machine returned this output, I replaced any sensitive data with <>:
  • Server 2008 in Education, Post-WebCast Info

    I promised a few links and have posted them below. I also wanted to make a correction, in the Question Manager one of the attendees asked whether Server Enterprise is licensed per socket similar to DataCenter and I responded "yes". I was incorrect, Web...
  • Webcast Today - Windows Server 2008 in Education

    Some shameless self promotion, I am doing a public webcast this afternoon on Server 2008. Anyone interested in joining is welcome to attend! Expect the content to be high level. We will be getting started at 11:30 PST. I will edit this post with a URL...