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Joseph DalyFlag for United States of America

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2008 R2 KMS server and how to activate 2012 R2 and 8 8.1 Clients

We are currently running a server 2008 R2 KMS server that is being used to activate our Windows 7 and Server 2008/2008 R2 devices.

We are beginning to deploy more 2012 R2 servers and would like to use KMS to activate these as well. I have been doing a little bit of research online and it looks like we need to install a hotfix so 2008 R2 can activate new OS's.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2885698

After I install the hotfix is it as simple a task as running the

SLMGR.VBS /ipk {new 2012 R2 datacenter KMS host key}

From what I have seen it looks like the new KMS keys will work to activate down level clients. I just want to make sure this is the case before I replace the current key and mess up 2500 laptops and servers.

Thanks
Avatar of Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher
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Keep in mind that KMS has minimum counts before it'll activate machines. 8 clients is below that 25 minimum. If you are introducing 2012 R2 as a DC, I'd recommend using AD activation instead. AD activation doesn't activate older servers and clients, but your existing KMS server can continue to do that, and AD activation will handle the new servers and clients. It doesn't require an activation service like KMS, and doesn't have minimum counts before it'll activate either. This is the preferred activation method from Microsoft moving forward. In fact, you won't normally even see KMS keys in VLSC anymore. That requires sending a special request to get them.
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We are still on 2008 r2 Dcs so as activation probably isn't an option until further down the line.

Still looking for the proper steps to upgrade kms for 2012.
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Avatar of Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher
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As always, have a backup. I'd also use VAMT periodically for a month or two (weekly or so) to audit existing machines and make sure they are activating against the new server.
How would I go about using VAMT to verify this? Cant I just run slmgr.vbs /dlv and see the KMS information at the bottom of the popup box?

Ive never used VAMT before so curious to hear.

Thanks
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