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KMS Activation Error

Posted on 2014-03-06
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Last Modified: 2014-03-06
I have a Server 2012 R2 data-center edition running as my Host server. I have several VM's running. I have KMS installed on the Host server. On VM1 that is running Server 2012 R2 STD, I was able to activate that one to the KMS server.

On VM2 I am running Server 2012 Standard. When I go to activate it to the KMS it says the product key is invalid (0xC004F050)

I have a volume license key, all software was downloaded from the site.

I have Googled this to death and cannot find my situation in the results.

All servers are fresh installs with all Windows updates.

Any assistance is greatly appreciated.
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Question by:JasonDuncanworks
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Zac Harris earned 250 total points
ID: 39909630
Have you met the threshold for the minimum number of clients on the network to be able to use KMS?

Refer to this link for more information: KMS Activation

Here is an excerpt on the minimum number of computers:

“KMS can activate both physical and virtual computers, but to qualify for KMS activation a network must have a minimum number of physical computers, called the activation threshold. KMS clients activate only after this threshold is met. To ensure that the activation threshold is met, a KMS host counts the number of physical computers requesting activation on the network. The count of activation requests is a combination of both Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 computers. However, each of these operating systems begins activating after a different threshold is met. The Windows Server 2008 KMS client threshold is five (5) physical computers. The Windows Vista KMS client threshold is twenty-five (25) physical computers. Virtual computers do not contribute to the activation count, but virtual computers are activated by KMS after the physical computer threshold is met.”
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by:Zac Harris
ID: 39909638
In other words. Your host computer only counts as one PC in the eyes of KMS no matter how many VM's it is hosting.
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by:JasonDuncanworks
ID: 39909645
I understand that, but I manually activate another VM which is running Server 2012 R2 STD just not the VM that is running Server 2012 STD. I am still reading the link you sent.
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by:Zac Harris
ID: 39909665
Ohhh wait... Server 2012 R2 STD and Server 2012 STD are two different beasts, therefore the activation key will be different for each one.

I assume that you have a volume license agreement since we are talking about KMS and data center versions of the software.

Make sure you are in fact using the correct key for the normal version of server 2012 and not the key for server 2012 R2.
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by:JasonDuncanworks
ID: 39909731
There is only one key. When I go to the volume license center to get the key for the 2012 STD it shows the same KMS key.
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by:Zac Harris
ID: 39909744
In that case it could just be the number of physical systems. How many physical machines are you using? Is there a reason you chose KMS over MAK?
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by:JasonDuncanworks
ID: 39909778
The volume license center does not give me MAK keys for the Server 2012 STD it just gives me the same KMS key.

My understanding is with Datacenter you can have unlimited VM's. We checked with Dell and Microsoft when we ordered and were told we can run any version as a VM under the Datacenter license.
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by:Zac Harris
ID: 39909842
Ok. This still sounds to me like you are not meeting the requirements for KMS. That's strange they only gave you a KMS key all my open license accounts have both.

I would re-verify the version information you got from your sources. I have never heard of being able to run any version you want with the KMS key. Especially since there is nothing special about a KMS key, it's just an activation method.
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by:JasonDuncanworks
ID: 39909860
Just to clarify -

Host Server - 2012R2 Datacenter - Activated with MAK - installed KMS service

VM1 - 2012 R2 Standard - Activated with KMS key
slmgr /skms *ip of datacenter*
click ok
slmgr /ipk *kmskey*
click ok
slmgr /ato
This activated the 2012 R2 Standard

VM2 - 2012 STD
Did the same thing but got that error.

Thanks for your help I know this is a weird one.
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 39909922
I think you are confused about how KMS works. Pick ONE machine and activate the KMS service with your KMS key. Other machines should not be activated using any keys, MAK, KMS, or otherwise.

VL OS media defaults to looking for a KMS server unless installed another way. You don't need to use a KMS key. The key is for activating the SERVICE which is a different thing altogether. If you have a service running and activated, simply reach your OS count and your other machines will activate automatically; no key required.
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by:JasonDuncanworks
ID: 39909975
I understand what you are saying, my host server is running the KMS service, which uses the KMS key to activate that service.

When I am running those commands I am pointing the VM to the KMS server to activate.

This works on Server 2012 R2 STD but not on Server 2012 STD.
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 39910010
The slmgr commands you posted are to activate the service. Not to activate the OS.

By default, a VL media OS installs with what is called a GLVK, or "generic volume license key." The important word there being GENERIC.

When the generic code is in place, the OS will query DNS for a KMS server. You don't need to "point" it anywhere. It will find it ok its own. More importantly, when you issue the ipk command, you are replacing the GLVK key with your KMS key, so the OS now thinks it is being prepped to be a KMS service host. Which is NOT what you want.

The whole point of KMS is that it doesn't require touching individual machines. Not even once. You know you are using KMS wrong the moment you are entering slmgr commands.

What you did may appear to have worked, but it doesn't mean it worked PROPERLY. Those are two different things. And yes, what you describe is expected behavior. A 2012 R2 KMS key cannot be used on a 2012 server. Again. Because they key isn't intended to activate the OS, it is OS specific.
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by:JasonDuncanworks
ID: 39910019
Can I undo that then? The KMS mistake on the second server?

So you are saying its most likely a DNS error.
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Assisted Solution

by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 250 total points
ID: 39910064
There may not be ANY error. The KMS service will keep track of activation requests and will not activate OSes until the minimum count is reached. That is by design. So you install an OS, it finds your KMS and contacts it. The KMS server looks at the pending requests count and if it is too small, it increments it by one and response with a "try again later" response. And the requesting OS does NOT activate, but starts a counter to contact the KMS server again.

So the trick is, just install your OSes. When you reach the required count, all your machines will activate automatically. If you wont be installing enough OSes to reach the minimum, then you should use MAK, not KMS.

As far as undoing the mistake on the one server, you'll have to use VAMT to reinstall the GLVK. That process is outlined here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh824984.aspx
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by:JasonDuncanworks
ID: 39910086
Awesome, thank you experts for your assistance. I am calling Microsoft to get MAK's for the VM's.

I have a better understanding of KMS and will now avoid it in the future for smaller deployments.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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