migration from MAK to KMS

Posted on 2011-03-14
Last Modified: 2012-05-11

I'm new to the licensing and activation world , and i have a bit of a situation here, i've been searching for 2 days, but am confused about several things.
Our network now contains Windows 7,Windows server 2008 R2, and office 2010, all currently licensed and activated via a MAK key (with VAMT), the thing is that i want to use KMS, but i don't know how to revert the licenses back from the already activated clients, what i mean is that let's say our VLK is for 100 windows 7 licenses, when i migrate to KMS i should have 99 free licenses (1 only for the kms host license) right ?
1-my key type is MAK , can it be used for KMS ? (below if a screenshot of my keys type)
2-so how can i migrate without loosing any licenses?(how to do the migration basically)
3-can i configure the KMS host to license win7,win 2008 R2 and office 2010 ? all on one KMS host ? if so , how can i do that?

Thank you in advance.
Question by:a77
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Ernie Beek
ID: 35126982
Afaik, you can't deactive MAK keys just like that. You might want to cant MS for that.

The other questions:

1: You need to first enter an other key to make the machines able to use KMS, the setup keys can be found here:!B7F1BCF96AE2353C!218.entry
2: Not sure what you mean. Is this with regards to the MAK keys?
3: You need a KMS host for the OS'es. Installing a KMS key on to a server makes that server a KMS host for all windows versions from the server down. That means if you use a server 2008R2 KMS key, you can use KMS with: server 2008R2, 2008, windows 7 and Vista. Note: if you have a 2008R2 standard key, you can't license enterprise with that (that a 'version' up.

And last office. Check this link:

LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Ernie Beek
ID: 35126986
'want to cant' ?
Sorry, should be: want to call
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 35127289
as I understand it - the KMS is the license key and the MAK is the associated activation keys - your only use the MAK and to account for the fact that you cannot return licenses to your license pool you will notice that MS assigns more MAK activations than the license you purchased.
LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Ernie Beek
ID: 35127454
@roylong: Not quite:

'KMS is a lightweight service that does not require a dedicated system and can easily be co-hosted on a system that provides other services. With KMS, you can complete activations on your local network, eliminating the need for individual computers to connect to Microsoft for product activation.

A KMS host key is used only to activate the KMS host with a Microsoft activation server. A KMS host key can activate six KMS hosts with 10 activations per host. Each host can activate an unlimited number of computers. If you have an existing machine configured as Windows KMS* host, you will need to enter and activate the Office 2010 KMS host key before the KMS host can activate Office 2010, Project 2010, and Visio 2010. If you need additional KMS activations so you may activate more than 6 KMS hosts, find the telephone number for your Microsoft Activation Center to activate your KMS host.

KMS requires a minimum number of either physical or virtual computers in a network environment. These minimums, called activation thresholds, are set so that they are easily met by enterprise customers. For computers running:
Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 you must have at least five (5) computers to activate.
Windows Vista or Windows 7 you must have at least twenty-five (25) computers to activate. These thresholds can be a mix of server and client machines to make up the threshold number.
For Office 2010, Project 2010 and Visio 2010 you must have at least five (5) computers to activate. If you have deployed Microsoft Office 2010 products, including Project 2010 and Visio 2010, you must have at least five (5) computers running Office 2010, Project 2010 or Visio 2010.'

And for MAK:

'A Multiple Activation Key (MAK) requires computers to connect one time to a Microsoft activation server. Once computers are activated, no further communication with Microsoft is required. There are two activation methods for MAK:
MAK Independent Activation: Each computer individually connects to Microsoft via the web or telephone to complete activation.
MAK Proxy Activation: This method uses the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT), which is part of the Windows 7 Automated Installation Kit (WAIK). One centralized activation request is made on behalf of multiple computers with one connection to Microsoft online or by telephone. Note: VAMT enables IT professionals to automate and centrally manage the volume activation process using a MAK.
Each MAK has a predetermined number of allowed activations, based on your Volume Licensing agreement. To increase your MAK activation limit, please contact your Microsoft Activation Center.'


Author Comment

ID: 35171302
bottom line, i already activated around 10 computers with MAK , now i want to transition to KMS, what i need to do on the KMS client ? (because it's already activated via a MAK, like deactivation or something)
AND does it means that i will loose those 10 MAK licenses ??

Accepted Solution

teomcam earned 500 total points
ID: 35173170

1-To use KMS activation system you must obtain KMS key from the MS! That is essential.
2-To activate Windows 7 and other servers with the KMS you mjust use the highest version of your server as KMS server. For example; You have Windows 2008 R2 Standard, Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise, Windows 7 Pro and Windows 7 Enterprise. If you install KMS service to the Windows 7 Enterprise you can only activate equivalent or lower version of windows 7s. In your environment as I can see you have Windows 2008 R2 Standard whihc mean this server (if you have multiple 1 of them only!!!) will be your KMS server. Your will activate this server with KMS key and it will be KMS Server automatically. If you already activated this server previously, first you need to remove the MAK key with the following commands.
Step1: slmgr /upk   (Note: Must run with elevated mode of CMD which means Run as Administrator) This command will remove your existing key)
Step2: slmgr /ipk <product key>  (This command will install your new KMS key)
Step3: slmgr /ato <activation ID>   - this will activate the new product key

I just added the following command with explanations.

slmgr /dlv   - this helps you find the activation ID for the current activation; run this with the old retail or OEM key installed
slmgr /upk <activation ID>   - this removes the current product key by removing the activation ID
slmgr /cpky   - this removes the product key from the registry
slmgr /ipk <product key>   - this adds the new product key
slmgr /dlv   - this will show you the new activation ID for the newly installed product key


Yes you can use the same server to actovate Office 2010 clients. Please type the following command on elevated mode of CMD (Run as Administrator)

slmgr.vbs /ipk <Office 2010 KMS host key>  (This will install your Office 2010 key to the server)

slmgr.vbs /ato <Office 2010 activation ID>   (This will activate your Office 2010 license and your server will become a KMS server for Office 2010s)

If you stuck on anywhere please dont hesitate to ask.
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Author Closing Comment

ID: 35174309

Author Comment

ID: 35174323
thank you very much , but just 2 things and we will be fully pleased:
1-where do i find the <activation ID> ? (of both windows and office)
2-and the question that nobody answered me fully yet : Can i recover those MAK licenses(from the already activated computers ) so it wont go wasted ?

thanks !!

Expert Comment

ID: 35174726
Hi again,

1- slmgr.vbs /dlv will give you the activation id
2- As far as I know you cannot recover MAK keys but when you start using KMS server, you can activate up to max number of licenses that you have purchased. (Actually at least twice) Other thing is, when you activate a client such as laptop or non member of the domain computer, they can be used for 6 months after initial activation. As soon as you attach these kind of computers to your network, again it will reset that and again 6 months countdown will start. If you activate more computer than your purchased license numbers then you will need to reactivate your KMS server by calling MS and explain them why you have reached that max number and they will help you to reset your KMS server.

Author Comment

ID: 35174848
i see , but on the microsoft KMS/MAK info they say:
"A KMS host key is used only to activate the KMS host with a Microsoft activation server. A KMS host key can activate six KMS hosts with 10 activations per host. Each host can activate an UNLIMITED number of computers."
so is it unlimited or not ?

thank you again

Expert Comment

ID: 35177189
Now you will have only 1 KMS activation server and it can activate/manage unlimited  umber of computers but it does not mean that you can activate unlimited numbers of "different configuration" computers! You have 100 activation license and your KMS server may be can activate 500 computers. Once you reach that threshold you will need to call MS and ask them to reactivate your KMS server again. Its pretty much similar to Windows XP activation proccess. You would be able to activate your XP up to 3 times yourself but once you try 4th one, you should have call MS to activate after small explanation.
The reason behind of 500 computers activation regardless your license number that you have purchased, you may buy new hardware, broken computers replacements etc etc you will need to activate them. MS assuming you running 100 client computers!

Author Comment

ID: 35183438
okay , thanks a lot for your time, i appreciate it

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