Volume Activation


Hi, I’m Ted Way, a Program Manager on the Licensing team. Ever enter a 25-character key when you installed Office? That’s us. I’m looking forward to sharing how we’re helping administrators worry less about key management and seamlessly integrate Windows and Office activation in the enterprise.

Starting in Office 2010, all volume editions of Office client software will require activation. What’s great for administrators is that Office has adopted the Windows Software Protection Platform (SPP), which means that most of what you have learned (or will learn) about Volume Activation for Windows applies to Office as well. For example, the same Key Management Service (KMS) host can be configured to activate Office 2010 clients as well as Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Also, there is no reduction in functionality in volume editions of Office 2010. Even if Office is not activated, your users will still be able to open, save, edit, and print Office files, though users will see notifications reminding them to activate.

This post will kick off a short series of articles on volume activation that will cover topics such as an introduction to volume activation, setting up a KMS host, and using Multiple Activation Key (MAK).

How do I activate volume editions of Office 2010 client?

There are two models available for activating volume editions of Office 2010 client. The default method is KMS, which is a local activation service. A KMS host needs to be set up, and that’s the only computer that activates with Microsoft. The other is Multiple Activation Key (MAK), which is similar to the retail activation method: a key needs to be entered, and the computer will need to connect to Microsoft to activate.

What’s KMS?

KMS is set up on a designated host system that will activate all client installations of Office 2010, eliminating the need for individual computers to connect to Microsoft for product activation. It is a lightweight service that does not require dedicated resources and can easily be co-hosted on a system that provides other services. Here at Microsoft we have one KMS host up and running internally that has activated over 8000 installations of Office 2010 Technical Preview builds. It’s also activating Windows 7 and Windows Vista machines.

Computers running volume editions of Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems can be configured as Office KMS hosts. Those running Windows Server 2003 can also be used as long as the KMS service is installed. Once you enter the KMS host key and activate, the host will register its Service record on DNS so KMS clients can find it. The KMS host can be further configured with the slmgr.vbs script that ships with Windows.

By default, a KMS client key is already pre-installed on volume editions of client software. That’s why end users don’t need to enter a product key when installing Office Professional Plus, for example. A great aspect of KMS is that once you have a KMS host set up, KMS clients will automatically look for the host on DNS and activate themselves against it. Only one KMS host is needed to activate Windows and all Office client products. Just enter one KMS host key and activate, and the KMS host can activate not just Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but also Visio, Project, and InfoPath.

KMS activation is not perpetual, so computers are activated (i.e. in the licensed state) for 180 days. Within that time, the KMS client will need to contact the KMS host and re-activate. When it does, it gets another 180 days starting from the day of re-activation. KMS clients by default attempt re-activation every seven days without a notification shown to the user, so this reactivation will happen automatically behind the scenes without any distractions. No “activation count” is “used up” when KMS clients activate and re-activate.

What’s MAK?

It might be easier to understand Multiple Activation Key, or MAK, by thinking of how Office 2007 retail editions are activated. You went to a store and got a CD for Office 2007. When you installed Office 2007, you were prompted to enter a product key found on the CD’s sleeve. Activation was then done with Microsoft’s activation servers, but you couldn’t activate more than a few times using the same key.

For MAK, the same principle applies, except each key has a different activation count depending on your organization’s needs. For example, a consulting firm with 50 employees constantly on the go may get a MAK key with an activation count of more than 50 (the extra activations are a buffer). That means the same 25-character key is entered for all 50 employee computers, and each of their computers activate online with Microsoft. A smaller firm may only have five computers, and they will get a key with an activation count that’s different than the other company’s key, but it will have enough for their needs.

MAK results in perpetual activation. Once activated, computers do not need to re-activate unless significant hardware changes occur, such as changing a hard drive. 

What activation method should I use?

In practice, organizations with 25 or fewer computers will likely find it easiest to use MAK. Larger organizations will see the value in setting up a KMS host to facilitate activation for hundreds if not thousands of computers.

In addition, larger organizations will probably use a mixture of KMS and MAK. KMS would be the default for computers that are connected to the corporate network at least a few times every 180 days. MAK activation would be suitable for laptops or other computers that are not connected to the company network.

I’m already familiar with SPP and Volume Activation because I’ve deployed Windows. What should I know about the differences between activating Windows and Office?

Although the technology is the same, there are some important items to note between Windows and Office:

1. KMS hosts configured to activate Office should be installed on Windows Server 2003, volume editions of Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2

2. If you want your KMS host to activate multiple products (e.g. Office 2010 and Windows 7), you will have to install the Windows KMS host key in addition to the Office KMS host key and activate both of them.

3. Office KMS clients are activated when five or more computers with Office attempt activation with the KMS host. For Windows client operating systems (Windows Vista and Windows 7), activation occurs after 25 or more computers with Windows client request activation.

What’s next?

I’ll be posting more articles that get into the nitty-gritty of these activation methods.  The goal is to show you how easy and fast it is to set up a KMS host or MAK activate and get your users up and running Office in no time!

Comments (72)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ken – You write: "You may use this KMS host to activate Office KMS clients by running an executable file that will be provided to you.  This exe installs the Office license files that will recognize Office KMS host keys.  After you activate the Office KMS host key, then Office KMS clients will be able to activate against this Office KMS host."

    1) When / how is he executable provided?

    2) Once exe is run, then what?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes, Windows 7 may be used as a KMS host to activate Office KMS clients.  However, only volume editions may be used (the Windows 7 for the corporate environment, not the Windows 7 retail editions you buy at the software store

  3. Maxim Krasovsky says:

    Can i use for KMS host Windows 2008 (not R2) for activation office 2010?  How to add office 2010 KMS key to already installed KMS host?

  4. mike stark says:

    I have the same issue. I run KMS on server 2008 (nont R2 and have updated the KMS software to support server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. Will this just be an additional license string to read in?

  5. Ted Way says:

    Windows Server 2008 cannot be used as an Office KMS host.

    Given that Office 2010 will ship after Win 7 and Win Server 2008 R2 ships, Win Server 2008 R2 will be the most recent versions customers will be getting.

    We are, however, very interested in your feedback on this decision not to support Windows Server 2008 as an Office KMS host.  WS 2008 R2 and WS 2008 are two different code bases, so adding the support for WS 2008 is not trivial.

  6. Ted Way says:

    If you have an existing KMS host for Windows running one of these operating systems:

    - Windows Server 2003

    - Windows 7 (volume)

    - Windows Server 2008 R2

    You may use this KMS host to activate Office KMS clients by running an executable file that will be provided to you.  This exe installs the Office license files that will recognize Office KMS host keys.  After you activate the Office KMS host key, then Office KMS clients will be able to activate against this Office KMS host.

  7. Tony Weil (University of Michigan) says:

    You have to be kidding that KMS for Office 2010 will not be supported by Windows 2008 Servers, but will be supported by Windows 7, 2008 R2 and Windows 2003.  Because KMS is a lightweight service, we run it on 2008 servers with other important functions that I can’t just upgrade to Windows 2008 R2. I understand the need for KMS, but KMS has become a very inconvenient moving target.

  8. JD says:

    Seconded – please put this support into Server 2008 so that we don’t have to upgrade our Server 2008 KMS servers to R2 just because KMS isn’t supported on Server 2008.

  9. marcelo pereira gomes says:

    Can i use for KMS host Windows 7 (not R2) for activation office 2010?

  10. Ted Way (MSFT) says:

    >> Can i use for KMS host Windows 7 (not R2) for activation office 2010?

    Yes, Windows 7 may be used as a KMS host to activate Office KMS clients.  However, only volume editions may be used (the Windows 7 for the corporate environment, not the Windows 7 retail editions you buy at the software store).

  11. tamirat says:

    i love the office 2010 but i cant activat it

  12. jose carlos says:

    oi quero saber como ativar o office 2010 pois

    estou tendo problemas para obter a chave de ativação

  13. baaa says:

    swswwdwdwd

  14. Josh says:

    @ted

    Why 2003 but not 2008 non-R2? Sure R2 and non-R2 are different code bases. Microsoft made the code bases. Microsoft made KMS. Are they just too lazy to make it work? What do they hope to accomplish here?

    Im with Tony, Pushing anti-piracy tactics on the customer and then throwing them for another loop like this is exactly how you lose customers.

  15. Jeff says:

    Like the above posters said, you have got to be kidding.  Office KMS will run on WS2003 but not WS2008?  In which universe did this make sense to anyone?  And what about WS2003R2?

    And people wonder why we still run WinXP and Office 2003 on my network…

  16. Hilton Travis says:

    I can’t think of one sane reason that WS2K3 is supported but WS2K8 isn’t.  And how does this leave all of the SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 customers – with their junk waving in the breeze?  :)

    Come on – having WS2K3 support and no WS2K8 support is just ridiculous.  Someone in at MS has to see this for what it truly is!  :)

  17. Jonny P. says:

    Microsoft must really hate Windows 2008. When Windows 7 was released, we could not get KMS updated to support Windows 7 on a Windows 2008 KMS host. Windows 2003 worked and Windows 2008 R2 worked, but not regular Windows 2008. We had to wait two weeks for a patch to be released so that Win 2008 KMS hosts could activate our Windows 7 systems. Why wouldn’t Microsoft release this patch BEFORE Windows 7 came out?

    Now with Office 2010 volume licensing, it looks like Microsoft has completely abandoned Windows 2008. It’s not the end of the world. We can build another KMS host. But I like what Tony Weil said: “KMS has become a very inconvenient moving target”.

  18. EduGeek says:

    We too think you must support server 2008 for full KMS activation. I have not found anything yet to make us upgrade to 2008 r2 majorly and considering you have ported it for 2003 2008 should definatly be included.

  19. Cesar da Silveira says:

    não consegui abaixar versão de 32 bits como eu faço? e como fazer pra instalar de 32 quando eu baixei de 64 bits?

  20. Ted Way [MSFT] says:

    The Key Management Service (KMS) for Office 2010 will be supported on Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2003.  

    Support for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista will not be available for Office 2010.  Those users running these solutions will have the following options:

    • Migrate the KMS to Windows Serve 2008 R2

    • KMS can be hosted on a Virtual Machine (VM) (Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008 R2)

    • Configure an additional KMS host (physical or VM) running Windows Server 2008 R2 to support Office KMS clients

    Where can I get more information on this topic?

    - Public information: http://technet.microsoft.com/office/ee691939.aspx .

    - What’s New in Windows Server 2008 R2: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/whats-new.aspx

    - Top Reasons to Upgrade to Windows Server 2008 R2: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/top-reasons.aspx

  21. emad says:

    i love the office 2010 but i cant activat it

  22. Alejandro Manchamé says:

    es muy interesante

  23. Alejandro Manchamé says:

    gracias

  24. Alejandro Manchamé says:

    necesito la activación, de lo contrario se me presentan problemas en mi equipo

  25. ATHARAV says:

    i want to see first later i will think about MsO-2010

                 ATHARAV YADAV

                  SARDARPUR DISST. DAHR M.P. INDIA

  26. thomas acito says:

    Usually I can work my way through weird occurances on my PC, owrkign with all this beta software can sometimes create pure quicksand. Anyway, I installed office 2010 beta via technet, this removed office 2007 as instructed. Once complete, I changed the product key as directed, it completed and I was instructed to restart the app. I was then asked to activate once again. It ALWAYS fails, same error. ” A communication errr has occurred. Please verify that you have connectivity and try agasin.  Well needless to say this is false. cntrl/shift/Iprovides the code 701098 I have been trying this since day one of the release. I have also una nd re installed a number of times. I am a bit …upset.  please help!

    toma@tomacito.net technet subscriber.

  27. Ted Way [MSFT] says:

    @thomas acito

    What OS are you running?  It might be easier to start a thread on the forum so it’s easier to troubleshoot.

    Thanks!

  28. CJ says:

    I am using Office 2010 beta on Windows 7, and when I try activating the product, I am getting an error the code is 0xC004F074

    can you help figuring out what this error is about and how I can activate the product?

  29. Ted Way [MSFT] says:

    @CJ

    1.) Most likely you will need to enter your MAK key.  Please follow the instructions on this page:

    http://www.microsoft.com/office/2010/en/activation.aspx

    2.) If you set up a KMS host, then you will need to have >5 computers attempt activation before activation is successful.

  30. sumi says:

    我想要的是更简单更方便的办公。

  31. Luiz says:

    Hi guys,

    The MS webpage at http://www.microsoft.com/office/2010/en/activation.aspx provides the following activation keys, which worked for me. However I don’t know if after I evaluate the Beta product (which I already sent some 8 or 9 improvement suggestions) I have to uninstall it or not.

    I hope I don’t have to pay for it since I am evaluating it at my house for a couple of weeks only to see if I can suggest it for use in my company, and this is not a commercial version!!! Somebody could answer me that?

    Microsoft Project Professional 2010: CQYRY-3KBR3-JW34C-VGH7M-MQM49

    Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010: 22HGX-728MX-BBWX9-7BB8X-J96B4

    Visio Premium 2010: PQCFB-YGXGC-TXB66-DH3VW-GCGYQ

  32. Maximillio says:

    I’m uninstalling the beta.  It’s nice but I can’t activate it.  The activation system looks like it’s a three-ring circus, folks.  I’m seeing message after message all over the web that it flat-out doesn’t work.  You people removed phone activation.  That’s a nice cul-de-sac for us beta users.

    I’m extremely disappointed.  It’s almost like there’s a fetish about licensing that’s overtaking your ability to design a functioning product.  And what I’m reading about the KMS server tells me we likely won’t be running Office 2010 at this organization EVER because we aren’t ready to just jump in the 2008 R2 pool on our domain controllers.

    I hate to be so harsh, but there is simply no excuse for shipping a beta that is so difficult to install and activate.  I have wasted hours with this and I am done.  It is destroying my productivity and I am learning nothing of use.

  33. Ted Way [MSFT] says:

    @Maximillio

    Sorry to hear about your troubles with activation.  If you’d like, I’d be happy to try to work through them with you at the TechNet forum to identify what specific issue you were hitting.  Please start a thread here:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/office2010volact/threads

  34. Ted Way [MSFT] says:

    @Luiz

    You may use the Beta product for free until October 31, 2010.  After that, Office 2010 Beta applications will shut down automatically.

  35. Jan Vaessman says:

    Very Good

  36. Outlaw says:

    You can activate your Office 2010 beta on Windows Server 2008 (not the R2!!!) with the Key mentioned on:

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/ee691939.aspx

    This should solve your problems.

    Outlaw

  37. prasad says:

    how can i get the key

  38. Lisa Whitmore says:

    I can’t get my volume to come on.

  39. Ted Way [MSFT] says:

    @prasad

    You may go to the page specified in Outlaw’s comment, or you may go to this page:

    http://www.microsoft.com/office/2010/en/activation.aspx

  40. Richard says:

    Is there a website that list all the products that are currently activated via the KMS?

    Along with information and timelines to when new products will be avlible for(require)KMS avtivation?

    Also know server Requierments moving forward (such as the need to replace my 2003 servers)to accomidate new products.

  41. Ted Way [MSFT] says:

    @Richard

    Are you looking for Office or Windows information or both?  We will have this information when Office 2010 is released.  The recommendation is to move to Windows Server 2008 R2 to support an Office KMS host.

    For Office, currently this is the list of products that can be activated by a KMS host:

    - Suites:

    Professional Plus

    Standard

    Small Business Basics

    - Standalone products:

    Access

    Excel

    InfoPath

    OneNote

    Outlook

    PowerPoint

    Project (Pro)

    Project (Std)

    Publisher

    SharePoint Workspace

    Visio (Prem)

    Visio (Pro)

    Visio (Std)

    Word

  42. Richard says:

    Thanks Ted

    I was looking for both or rather all. The question has been asked what in our environment is going to require KMS and how much infrastructure should we put in place now  to satisfy the growing need?

    For our Vista we only  used test server that ran many application the box was rebuilt several times so we installed KMS on a virtual Windows 2003 server currently standalone.  

    With the introduction of windows 7 we upgraded the KMS code and replaced the KMS key along with  adding second KMS server to the host for redundancy.

    As we are now preparing for server 2008 and the requirement to test in multiple  domains, we needed to update our KMS to support the new server environment and also make DNS changes to work across multiple domains. The second KMS server was moved to a new host to minimize a single point of failure.

    You now introduce Office 2010 as a KMS candidate…and likely more products will follow.

    I guess what I am looking for is a site like http://www.EverythingYouNeedToKnowAboutKMS.com (not a real site) as a one shop stop to keep us informed of upcoming enhancements, patches, updates and requirements.

  43. Ted Way [MSFT] says:

    @Richard

    You ask a very good and valid question, and the volume activation site is a good starting point:

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dd197314.aspx

    The Office site will be updated when Office 2010 is released:

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/ee691939.aspx

    We’re working to consolidate our documentation regarding activation.  As to whether more Microsoft products will begin using KMS and MAK, I honestly don’t know.

    For now, I suggest using WS 2008 R2 as your KMS host so that it can support both Windows and Office.

  44. raymundo junior says:

    muito bom

  45. G.R.Kanthraj says:

    Sir,

    I am a teacher in Bangalore, India, i don’t know how you allowed me install this MSoffice 10 beta version, now it giving trouble for activation, if you help me i will continue or i will remove this

  46. Ted Way [MSFT] says:

    @G.R.Kanthraj

    Sorry to hear that you are having activation issues.  What product did you install?  Was it Professional or Professional Plus?

    Could you please go to TechNet and start a new post there?  That way it’ll be easier to help you.  Thanks!

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/office2010volact/threads

  47. Richard says:

    Thank you

  48. moussa says:

    Activate Office 2010

    Enter a MAK key and quickly use Office 2010

    If you have already registered for the Beta download, you can retrieve your MAK key by clicking “Get Started Now” on one of the following pages and then logging in with your LiveID. Once you log in, you will not be prompted to re-register.

    Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 Beta

    Microsoft Project Professional 2010 Beta

    Microsoft Visio Premium 2010 Beta

    If you have already downloaded Office 2010 Beta, you can activate the installation immediately by using the relevant MAK license key listed below.

    Office Professional Plus 2010 Beta

    22HGX-728MX-BBWX9-7BB8X-J96B4

    Project Professional 2010 Beta

    CQYRY-3KBR3-JW34C-VGH7M-MQM49

    Visio Premium 2010 Beta

    PQCFB-YGXGC-TXB66-DH3VW-GCGYQ

    Set up a KMS host for Office 2010 activation

    Go to the Office 2010 KMS host setup page for instructions

  49. Ed says:

    Why does the Office activation work differently to Windows activation.  

    I have defined a server as a Hyper-V guest using a dedicated disk.  I can boot this server either on real iron or as a Hyper-V guest, and the same Windows activation works OK for both – after all it IS the same Windows instance.

    But if I activate Office 2007 when I have booted as a real machine, it needs to be re-activated if I boot as a guest machine.  And then if I boot as a real machine it needs activating again.  This makes no sense, as there is only one copy of Office installed and Windows is happy no matter what mode it is booted in.

  50. alireza says:

    tancks for you

  51. jean says:

    intalacion del programa

  52. Ted Way [MSFT] says:

    @PHGarey

    For the Office 2010 Beta, the exe file can be found here:

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/ee470514.aspx

    For the final release of Office, this exe file will be on the microsoft.com download page, in addition to the VLSC site for volume customers.

    Once you run the exe file and provide a valid KMS host key, and the key is activated, then your computer is configured as a KMS host, which can then activate Office client products.

  53. Ye Nwe Than Myint says:

    This is so nice for Volume Activation

  54. Fred Tsui says:

    I must chime in and second, third, all of the request to make Office 2010 KMS run on 2008. Is 2003 more similar to 2008R2 than 2008? Why should I have to install a new OS just to activate Office?

  55. Barry says:

    Well, I’m going to join the chorus to say that not having support for 2008 for the KMS seems ridiculous. Sure, 2008R2 and vanilla 2008 are different, but then so are 2003 and 2008R2! I’m assuming that there are more people using 2003 than 2008, and as 2008r2 is newer, most people will now bypass 2008. That’s no use to any of us that have 2008 however! I’m not deploying an R2 server simply to be a KMS!

    Please sort this, its strikes me as laziness on MSFTs part.

  56. Jacob says:

    I want an explanation for why Windows 2008 is not supported for Office 2010 KMS activation.  KMS is a simple, lightweight service.  The architecture of the OS is no excuse for why this will work in Windows 2003 but Windows 2008.  

    If there is a valid technical explanation, I can move on.  

    I agree with the previous poster who said that Volume Activation is a moving target.  That is certainly my experience.  

    I am very disappointed, and when organizations learn of this requirement with no tenable explanation, I imagine there will be uproar.

  57. Doug Glasgow says:

    I am echoing the complaint for windows 2008 KMS host support. We have our windows KMS server on a windows 2008 box. It cannot be upgraded to windows 2008 R@ because it is a 32 bit box. It is a non-trivial thing to wipe the machine and reinstall 2008 R2 just to support Office KMS and yet, I don’t want to run 2 KMS servers. Especially when there is support for Windows 2003, there is no excuse.

  58. Thomas D. says:

    I excitedly went to add the Office 2010 to my server 2008 KMS server(which we love by the way) only to find out it’s not supported?! There is no excuse to support server 2003 and 2003 R2, but not support server 2008! I am echoing the frustration on this, it seems Microsoft is mimicing Apple by forcing people to upgrade in a very low key way.

    Please issue a patch for this. I don’t own any copies of server 2008 R2 and were not going to buy a copy just to stand up a KMS server. On the other side I have migrated most of 2003 servers to 2008 so I don’t want to hold up my server migration just to do the KMS for 1 product.

  59. Ted Way [MSFT] says:

    Here is a thread regarding this issue:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/officevolact/thread/8b05513a-92f0-48b9-936c-de6b89b09ff1

    All WS 2008 owners have downgrade rights to WS 2003.  One option is to run a WS 2003 VM on your WS 2008 machine as your Office 2010 KMS host.  No need to set up another physical machine, no need to purchase another license.

  60. Brad says:

    I am testing a new KMS server we are setting up to support Office 2010 as our existing KMS is on Server 2008.  The new server is 2003 R2.  We are not yet ready for production deployments of 2008 R2 in our environment for a number of reasons.

    I run slmgr.vbs /skms [server fqdn]

    then slmgr.vbs /ato [Activation ID]

    I get back "Error: product not found."

    slmgr.vbs /dlv [Activation ID] indicates that Office is licensed and listening on port 1688.  I am able to telnet from the client to port 1688.

    Any ideas on the problem?  When the documents on the Microsoft site say "Windows Server 2003 or with any service packs", do they not include R2?

  61. Ted Way [MSFT] says:

    @Brad

    Please start up a thread on the VA forum:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-us/officevolact/threads

    I’m assuming the /skms and /ato commands are being done on the client.  For Office, the ospp.vbs script is what configures the Office client.  You will need to run ospp.vbs /sethst:<hostname>, and then /act to trigger activation.  More info on ospp.vbs:

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee624350(office.14).aspx#section1

  62. ANGEL says:

    MUY BUENO

  63. Ruedi Wittwer says:

    can you give us a reason, why you are not supporting WS2008 (not R2)?

    I can't honestly think of one.

  64. Greg Brown says:

    Not to pile on but seriously, why no support for W2K8 as the KMS server for Office 2010!!!

  65. Chris says:

    Agree with everyone else. I can't believe that you have a product that runs on Server 2003, Win 7 and Server 2008R2 but not Server 2008.

    This is a huge deal for us. I have to upgrade server hardware to support the 64bit only requirement of R2 and I don't want to run this enterprise tool on a workstation.

  66. Nyle Landas says:

    Dear Microsoft Activation, (Excuse the long post but I speak for the masses)

    I certainly recognize the need to combat piracy, either casual or professional. However, when you make Activation require additional hardware and licensing on our end – you are pushing additional burden onto your honest paying customers. This makes us want to not want to be customers anymore.

    If we have to activate, regardless whether it's 10, 20, 25 or 2000 licenses we'd much rather Microsoft maintain the licensing servers for us. You can hype how easy and consistent it is over and over but it doesn't make us think it's a fun new task. I've never thought, oh, I'm so excited I get to set up a licensing server to manage my legally purchased software licenses before. Maybe I'm alone? I think everyone in IT has dealt with similar licensing schemes from vendors like Adobe, Quark, Autodesk, etc. All of which are a pain – why not just ship us several hundred USB dongles, JOY!

    Oh, and while Microsoft is at it – how about making MAK activations work regardless of the network I'm coming from? I can get about 1 out of 10 machines to activate with an Office 2010 MAK. Then magically, wait a few days and another 1 of 10 will activate. I am not alone, there are a lot of others having problems getting MAK keys to work with their networks and Office 2010. So now, I need more hardware and a license of Windows 2003 server in order to set up a KMS server. Now I need to maintain said server so that licensing will be available on my network.

    Just one more thing I have to take care of just so that I can pay Microsoft money for licensing it's product.

    This is starting to make Linux and OpenOffice look better and better every day. I think it's time to start pressing my State government to adopt OpenOffice as a standard in all it's offices.

    This is too bad because Office 2010 and Windows 7 are two really compelling products. Now can someone at Microsoft, stop crippling them with increasingly complicated product activation?

    -Nyle

  67. Tref says:

    Why would you not add support for Server 2008? Why?!

  68. smkwon says:

    Why? Can't support Windows server 2008

  69. Mike Friedman says:

    I don't know who invented KMS or decided it was a good idea, but from where I sit it's poorly thought out, badly implemented and mostly just plain doesn't work.

    For example, who's idiotic idea was it that KMS would just decide to fail to activate clients until there were X number of them? What could possibly be the justification for something so counter intuitive?

    KMS is completely evil.

  70. Ben says:

    Just adding my voice to the chorus.

    My OS KMS host is 2008.  I've got 2008 R2 servers out there, but it sure doesn't make sense to just randomly target an R2 server to throw KMS services on, nor does it make sense to build out a whole VM just for Office 2010 KMS(a wast of 1-2gb of vmWare cluster RAM)  The different codebase comment is pretty funny considering that 2k3 is supported.  Microsoft never ceases to amaze me in their seemingly backwards decision making process.