Hi,

Today’s blog will cover the options available if you are deploying Windows 8 and/or Windows Server 2012 to an existing KMS activation configuration. It references two other blogs

Assumptions

  • You have existing KMS hosts activating Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008R2
  • Your KMS hosts are running an server operating systems and not client operating system
  • You are planning on deploying Windows 8 and/or Windows Server 2012.
  • You may or may not have Office 2010 or 2013 configured for KMS activation

Important points

  • Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 have the option of using Active Directory Based Activation (ADBA). This is where a domain joined computer looks for activation object in AD and is automatically activated.
    • ADBA requires AD DS be at the Windows Server 2012 schema level to store activation objects. Domain controllers running earlier versions of Windows Server can activate clients after their schemas have been updated using the Windows Server 2012 version of Adprep.exe.
  • Older operating systems will not be updated to support ADBA
  • There are 2 types of KMS host keys for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
    • Windows 8 client KMS Host Key (CSVLK): Only activates Windows 8 and earlier client operating systems. Can only be installed on KMS hosts that are running client operating systems
    • Windows Server 2012 KMS Host Key (CSVLK): Activates all operating systems and will be the most common CSVLK you will activate

Configurations and Recommendations

The following are a few common configurations and options. This should not be considered an exhaustive list of possible solutions since every deployment can be slightly different and have different goals and planning needs. When considering options the important question is if you are willing to update your schema level using Adprep. If not then Active Directory Based Activation is off the table although you can always do it later. You also need to consider Office activation if you are using Office

Configuration #1: Current KMS hosts are running Windows Server 2003

Windows Server 2003 KMS hosts cannot install Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 CSVLK’s. There will be no update to support Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 CSVLK’s

Option #1 (Mix of KMS host and ADBA)

Option #2 (KMS host only)

Configuration #2: Current KMS hosts are running Windows Server 2008

Option #1 (mix of KMS host and ADBA)

Option #2 (Replace KMS host)

Option #3(Maintain existing KMS host)

  • On your Windows Server 2008 KMS host install KB2757817 update and then install your Windows Server 2012 KMS Host Key (CSVLK) and activate
  • All operating systems will be activated by the 2008 KMS host
  • Note: Windows Server 2008 does not support Office KMS

Configuration #3: Current KMS hosts are running Windows Server 2008 R2

Option #1 (mix of KMS host and ADBA)

Option #2 (KMS host only)

The other factor that must be looked at when picking a solution is to determine how you will handle Office 2010 or Office 2013 activation. For additional information on Office see the following links:

Additional resources

Scott McArthur
Senior Support Escalation Engineer
Microsoft Commercial Support & Services