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Deploying KMS Server

My company is beginning to deploy Windows 7.  I want to make one of my existing Windows 2008 R2 servers the KMS server.  This server was activated using a MAK key months ago.  

Which KMS key should I use when I run slmgr.vbs /ipk?  The KMS key that came with my Windows 7 licensing?  Or one of the keys listed near the bottom of this Technet page:  http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff793409.aspx?  Or something else?

Is the fact that I activated the server with a MAK key a problem?
Should I not bother with this until I am over the 25 PC limit which won't be until the fall?
Is there any reason for me to worry about activating Windows 2008 servers if I only have 8-10 of them?

Thanks!
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Tex_ka95
Asked:
Tex_ka95
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4 Solutions
 
Ivano ViolaSystem AdministratorCommented:
Here is a good article regarding KMS:
http://myitforum.com/cs2/blogs/jsandys/archive/2009/03/28/windows-activation-the-kms.aspx

1. You should be able to convert your server from MAK to KMS. Here are instructions on how to do that;
http://mike.thegrahams.ws/?p=113
The article provides you with KMS client keys. These are the keys you should be using on the client (and server) which you would like the KMS server to activate.
2. You can go ahead and setup your KMS server when you're ready. As so long you reach the 25 count before the 180 days of the first activation you should be fine.
3. You can activate your servers even though you only have 8-10. The thing you'll need to remember is that you'll need to use a KMS key on the server that allows the activation of the server type you'll be activating. Like the above article states: You should install the KMS key for the highest level of product that you are licensed for. If you are licensed to activate server 2008 R2 then I'd use that KMS key to activate the KMS server. Under Volume Licensing product keys you should see something like: Windows Server 2008R2 Std/Ent KMS B. If you plan on activating your R2 servers along with Windows 7 clients then this would be the key you should use.

Hope this helps.
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teomcamCommented:
Hi,

 To activate Windows 7 and other servers with the KMS you must use the highest version of your server as KMS server. For example; If you have Windows 2008 R2 Standard (KMS B), 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 not any Win 2K8 servers. In your environment as I assume you have Windows 2008 R2 Standard which means this server (if you have multiple, 1 of them only!!!) will be your KMS server. You will activate this server with KMS B 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 B key)
Step3: slmgr /ato <activation ID>   - this will activate the new product key

Note: You will not instal KMS keys for Windows 7 or other versions. You will install KMS B for the server standard edition and it will cover/activate all clients. If you have datacenter edition of Win 2008 R2 then you will need to use KMS C key only.

I just added related commands 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

Any further questions please feel free to ask.

Regards
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teomcamCommented:
Oh sorry forgotten to answer your second question. Ones actovation request reach 25 your KMS server will activate them in very short time. Until that time you dont have to worry about it. BUT!! please make sure if you used sysprep to create your master image. Do not clone your client machine without sysprep otherwise there will be identical SID and your KMS server will see them as 1 machine.
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Tex_ka95Author Commented:
Thanks Guys.  Follow up question:

Can a server that is acting as a KMS host for Windows 2008R2 and Windows 7 also be a KMS host for Office 2010?

Thanks
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teomcamCommented:
Hi,
The best practice is Windows 2008 R2 but if you like you can make one of your Windows 7 KMS Server for Windows and Office 2010 clients. It can be KMS server for both product. If you use Windows 7 as KMS server you cannot activate higher versions such as any server!
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Ivano ViolaSystem AdministratorCommented:
Yes it can. Here are the instructions.
http://community.spiceworks.com/how_to/show/1221
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Tex_ka95Author Commented:
Many thanks guys.  So here is another follow up question:  

Do I really need to bother with KMS?  Right now I have 50 or so clients running WinXP/Office 2007.  I deploy them simply by restoring ghost images I created that have just XP and Office installed, I did not use SYSprep.  All I do is intall all of our other applications, change the computer name, add it to our domain and run a script that changes the SID's for the Automatic Update Service, and that is it.  

Why don't I use Sysprep?  I had so many problems with BSODs after running Sysprep on XP images that I gave up and went without it.  And i have had abolutely no problems.

So is there really any advantage/disadvatnage to ignoring KMS and just doing what I have been doing?  Could I run into trouble down the road?

Thanks!!
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teomcamCommented:
Hi,

Ignoring KMS not the end of the world ofcourse. KMS server gives a couple of advantages thats all. In big environments its becoming essential but if you have less than 100 computers its really up to you. If you are not going to replace your computers soon, if you are willing to type MAk keys and activate them individually you really dont need KMS server. Any questions please feel free to ask.
Regards
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