Activation in Server Core

I missed Friday last week due to the short week, so I’ll see if I can post twice this week.


I’ve received several questions in the last week dealing with activation, so I thought I would post some information on activation. There is a VBScript in Vista/Longhorn that can be used to activate from the command line: slmgr.vbs.


To activate Server Core you can run:

Cscript slmgr.vbs –ato


There is a known issue with the script in Beta 2 and covered in the release notes, where the script attempts to activate the product key for every possible type, retail, OEM, etc. Therefore you will receive a series of activation messages, all but one of which will be a failure. If you did not receive at least one success message, you should verify your connection to the Internet and proxy settings (Netsh winhttp proxy)


To verify if activation was successful you can run:

Cscript slmgr.vbs –did


From the output, get the GUID for the appropriate product key, e.g. retail channel, and then run:

Cscript slmgr.vbs –dli GUID


For “License Status:” it will be either Licensed or Unlicensed, which indicates activated or not. If you have more then one GUID listed for the channel, you should try each of them, as at least one should show Licensed.


If you didn’t activate before the grace period expired, you can also use slmgr.vbs to remotely activate. This can be done remotely by including the servername, username and password along with the –ato switch.



Comments (5)

  1. Anonymous says:

    How does one activate Vista and, in the future, Longhorn inside a virtual environment.  The way I understand it, the activation key is a combination of the hardware config and the licence key – how is this handled in the virtual world, either Microsoft or VMware’s ESX ?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Correction (I believe)

    To verify if activation was successful you can run:

      Cscript slmgr.vbs –did

    should read

      Cscript slmgr.vbs –DLI

    (uppercase DLI used only for emphais can be lower case)

  3. M@W says:

    How do I activate a core server installation remotely which doesnt have an internet connection. I have instaleld a product key but I have no way of getting a confirmation key. Any tips would be appreciated.


  4. To remotely activate a Server Core box you need to specify the server name on the command line, for example:

         Cscript slmgr.vbs \server1 –ato

    In the case of no Internet connection, you need to first call the activation phone number and get a confirmation ID. Then you can use the following command line:

        Cscript slmgr.vbs \server1 –atp <confirmation ID>

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