Building a KMS host on Windows 7

Windows 7 with SP1

Support Lifecycle: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle?C2=14019

This blog post is part of a series of posts, detailing the build process and activating capabilities of a KMS host on a particular host operating system. The operating system dictates which KMS host key (CSVLK) can be installed on that particular host, and that CSVLK determines what KMS-capable clients can be activated. When implementing KMS activation in an environment, it is best to determine all of the potential volume license operating systems for your KMS clients and then pick the best key. To simplify this, it is recommended that the most current KMS CSVLK be used, insuring that all KMS-capable operating systems that have been released at that time can be activated. For newer KMS CSVLKs to be hosted on previously released operating systems, a hotfix is needed to make the host operating system aware of the newer operating system.

Note: Desktop KMS CSVLKs can only be installed on hosts with desktop operating systems (that support that CSVLK) and Server KMS CSVLKs can only be installed on hosts with server operating systems (that support that CSVLK).

This blog post pertains to a KMS host with Windows 7 with SP1 as the operating system.

Windows 7 can host the following desktop KMS CSVLKs:

  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10

The KMS CSVLKs can activate the following KMS clients:

KMS CSVLK

KMS Clients Activated

Hotfix Required

Windows 7

Windows Vista

Windows 7

None needed.

Windows 8

Windows Vista

Windows 7

Windows 8

As Windows 7 was released
prior to Windows 8, it is not aware of Windows 8. KB Article 2757817
will address this.

Windows 8.1

Windows Vista

Windows 7

Windows 8

Windows 8.1

As Windows 7 was released
prior to Windows 8.1, it is not aware of Windows 8.1. KB Article 2885698
will address this.

Windows 10

Windows Vista

Windows 7

Windows 8

Windows 8.1

Windows 10

As Windows 7 was released
prior to Windows 10, it is not aware of Windows 10. KB Article 3079821
will address this.

KMS Host Build Steps:

1. Install Windows 7 with SP1
2. Patch completely
3. If a firewall is used, verify that there is an exception for KMS
4. Obtain the desired CSVLK from the VLSC site
5. If the KMS CSVLK is newer than the Windows 7, install the hotfix required as per the table above
6. Install the KMS CSVLK

a. Open an elevated command prompt
b. Run cscript.exe slmgr.vbs /ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX using your KMS CSVLK
c. Wait for success message

7. Activate the KMS CSVLK

a. If system has external internet connectivity:

i. Open an elevated command prompt
ii. Run cscript.exe slmgr.vbs /ato
iii. Wait for success message

b. If system does not have external internet connectivity:

i. Phone activate with UI

1. Open an elevated command prompt
2. Run slui.exe 4 to open the Phone Activation wizard
3. Follow the prompts to complete

ii. Phone activate via command prompt

1. Open an elevated command prompt
2. Run cscript.exe slmgr.vbs /dti to obtain the installation ID
3. Call Microsoft’s Phone Activation using a phone number listed in %SystemRoot%System32\SPPUI\Phone.inf
4. Follow the prompts to obtain the confirmation ID
5. Run cscript.exe slmgr.vbs /atp <ConfirmationID w/o hyphens> to apply the confirmation ID
6. Wait for a success message

8. Run cscript.exe slmgr.vbs /dlv and verify that the License Status indicates that the KMS host is licensed.

clip_image002[4]

The Windows 7 KMS host is now ready to begin accepting KMS activation requests. The host needs to meet the minimum threshold of twenty-five unique KMS (desktop) client requests before it will begin activating KMS (desktop) clients. Until the minimum threshold is met, KMS (desktop) clients attempting to activate against this host will report the following error:

clip_image004[4]

When the threshold is met, all KMS (desktop) clients requesting activation (that are supported by the CSVLK installed) will begin to activate. Those KMS clients that previously erred out with 0xC004F038 will re-request activation (default interval is 120 minutes) and will be successfully activated without any user interaction. An activation request can be prompted on a KMS client immediately by running cscript.exe slmgr.vbs /ato in an elevated command prompt.

Scenario:

You want to build a KMS host on Windows 7, to activate Windows 7 and Windows 10 KMS clients. Here are the steps necessary to achieve your goal.

1. Determine what CSVLK is needed – You determine that CSVLK needed to activate both Windows 7 and Windows 10 is the Windows 10 CSVLK as per this TechNet article, under the “Plan for Key Management Services activation” section.
2. Obtain the CSVLK – Log onto your Volume License Service Center site and locate the Windows 10 KMS key listed. Note this for Step #5.
3. Build a Windows 7 system from Volume License media and patch – Using volume license media, build a system or utilize a system that is already built. Completely patch the system using Windows Update or whatever solution you use for applying updates/hotfixes.
4. Apply the required hotfix – Because Windows 7 was released before Windows 10, the system needs to become aware of the newer operating system. Applying the hotfix from KB Article 3079821 will accomplish this and enable your Windows 7 KMS host to activate Windows 10 KMS clients (along with Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 KMS clients).
5. Install the CSVLK – Open an elevated command prompt. Install the CSVLK on the KMS host by running the following command: cscript.exe slmgr.vbs /ipk <your CSVLK as it appears on the VLSC site>
6. Activate the CSVLK – In the elevated command prompt, activate the CSVLK by running the following command: cscript.exe slmgr.vbs /ato
7. Verify – In the elevated command prompt, display the licensing information by running the following command: cscript.exe almgr.vbs /dlv
8. Phone activate if necessary – If you have issues with online activation from Step #6, you can open the phone activate by running the following command: slui.exe 0x4 and follow the prompts to activate your system. Once complete, repeat verification if necessary.

The KMS host is now ready to begin activating any Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 KMS clients. Here is a quick video to show the steps.

Note: Reminder, the minimum required threshold of twenty-five KMS client activation requests to this new host will need to be met before the KMS host begins activating as per Step #8 under “KMS Host Build Steps” above.

References:

Links for other blogs in this series:

Windows Server 2016 Volume Activation Tips
https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/askcore/2016/10/19/windows-server-2016-volume-activation-tips/