Building a KMS Host on Windows Server 2008 R2

Support Lifecycle: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle?p1=14134

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.

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 Server
2008 R1 with SP1 as the operating system.

Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1 can host the following
server KMS CVSLKs:

  • Windows
    Server 2008 R2
  • Windows
    Server 2012
  • Windows
    Server 2012 R2
  • Windows
    Server 2012R2 DataCtr/Std
    KMS for Windows 10

Note: Windows Server 2008 R2 cannot host a Windows Server 2016 KMS CSVLK. At the release of Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2008 R2 was no longer in mainstream support. No hotfix will be released to enable a Windows Server 2008 R2 KMS host to activate Windows Server 2016 KMS clients.

The KMS CSVLKs can activate the following KMS clients:

KMS CSVLK

KMS Clients Activated

Hotfix Required

Windows Server 2008 R2

(Channels A, B, and C determine specific editions
activated.)

Windows Vista

Windows Server 2008

Windows 7

Windows Server 2008 R2

None needed.

Windows Server 2012

Windows Vista

Windows Server 2008

Windows 7

Windows Server 2008 R2

Windows 8

Windows Server 2012

As Windows 2008 R2 was released prior to Windows 8 and
Server 2012, it is not aware of Windows 8 and Server 2012. KB Article 2757817
will address this.

Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows Vista

Windows Server 2008

Windows 7

Windows Server 2008 R2

Windows 8

Windows Server 2012

Windows 8.1

Windows Server 2012 R2

As Windows Server 2008 R2 was released prior to Windows
8.1 and Server 2012 R2, it is not aware of Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2. KB Article 2885698
will address this.

Windows Server 2012 R2 DataCtr/Std KMS for Windows 10

Windows Vista

Windows Server 2008

Windows 7

Windows Server 2008 R2

Windows 8

Windows Server 2012

Windows 8.1

Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows 10

As Windows Server 2008 R2 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 Server 2008 R2 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 Server 2008 R2, install the hotfix required as per the table above
  6. Install the KMS CSVLK
    1. Open an elevated command prompt and navigate to Windows\System32
    2. Run cscript.exe slmgr.vbs /ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX using your KMS CSVLK
    3. Wait for success message
  7. Activate the KMS CSVLK
    1. If system has external internet connectivity:

                                                               i.      Open an elevated command prompt

                                                             ii.      Run cscript.exe slmgr.vbs /ato

                                                           iii.      Wait for success message

    1. If system does not have external internet connectivity:

                                                               i.      Phone activate with UI

1.       Open an elevated command prompt

2.       Run slui.exe 0x4 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

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

clip_image002

The Windows Server 2008 R2 KMS host is now ready to begin accepting KMS activation requests. The host needs to meet the minimum threshold of five unique KMS activation requests (from desktop and/or server systems for a total of five) for server KMS client activations to begin and a minimum threshold of twenty-five unique KMS activation requests (from desktop and/or server systems for a total of twenty-five, not in addition to the threshold count of five for server activation) to begin activating both KMS desktop and server clients. Until the minimum threshold is met, KMS clients attempting to activate against this host will report the following error:

clip_image002[5]

When the threshold is met, all KMS 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 Server 2008 R2, to activate Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2012 R2. Here are the steps necessary to achieve your goal.

  1. Determine what Key host key (CSVLK) is needed – You determine that KMS host key (CSVLK) needed to activate Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2012 R2 is the Windows Server 2012 R2 KMS 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 Server 2012 R2 KMS key listed. Note this for Step #5.
  3. Build a Windows Server 2008 R2 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 Server 2008 R2 was released before Windows Server 2012 R2, the system needs to become aware of the newer operating systems. Applying the hotfix from KB Article 2885698 will accomplish this and enable your Windows Server 2008 R2 KMS host to activate Windows Server 2012 R2 KMS clients (along with Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, 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 Server 2008 R2, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2 KMS clients). Here is a quick video to show the steps.

References: