How to move Vista from MAK back to KMS client

One item in the volume activation step by step guide that is a bit confusing is the method for moving a Vista machine that is currently using the MAK back to being a KMS client.

Convert a client using MAK Activation to use KMS Activation

The instructions are easy to follow, you use slmgr.vbs and the extensions “-ipk <setup key>”.  No problem!  Wait.  Setup key?

If you search the document for pid.txt you will find a section titled Product Key Considerations.  In the section the paragraph contains:

“Volume editions of Windows Vista default to KMS-based activation and do not require a product key to be entered during setup. Windows Vista Volume License editions use a specific pre-defined setup key in the sources\pid.txt file.”

That is the setup key referenced by the example.  So if you open .\Sources\pid.txt on your Vista volume media, you will find a generic product key that is used for your installations by default.  That key tells the machine to become a KMS client, and is what should be used in the operation where <setup key> is given.  You can use it for any of the volume media installations where you were using MAK and want to convert back to being a KMS client.

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Comments (4)

  1. Anonymous says:

    The MAK counter would decrement when you activate a machine using MAK, not when changing between keys.

  2. Anonymous says:

    After changing the licensing from MAK to KMS, does it means that the number of MAK license on the MS licensing page for my account will be reduced automatically?

  3. Anonymous says:

    For years now Microsoft is using Windows Product Activation to protect its intellectual property from