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Windows Vista Product Activation And The Fashionable LSP. Ryan Hartman ( March 10, 2014. Overview. Quick review of Office 2007/Windows Vista product lines Update on Office 2007/Windows Vista availability at IU Microsoft Production Activation 2.0

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Windows Vista Product Activation And The Fashionable LSP

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Windows vista product activation and the fashionable lsp l.jpg

Windows Vista Product Activation And The Fashionable LSP

Ryan Hartman (

March 10, 2014

Overview l.jpg


  • Quick review of Office 2007/Windows Vista product lines

  • Update on Office 2007/Windows Vista availability at IU

  • Microsoft Production Activation 2.0

  • MAK Activation VS. KMS Activation

  • How to Activate

  • How to automate Activations

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Windows Office 2007 Editions

  • Consumer

    Basic 2007

    Home and Student 2007

    Standard 2007

    Ultimate 2007

  • Business

    Small Business 2007

    Professional 2007

    Professional Plus 2007

    Enterprise 2007

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Office Suite Comparison

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Office 2007 Distributions

  • Volume License – Office 2007 Enterprise

    • Available IU to the community from IUware Online

    • Embedded (Shared) Product Key

    • Available now

  • Retail Edition – Office 2007 Enterprise

    • IU Bookstores

    • Individual Product Key

    • Cost ??

    • Available: April 2007??

  • Uses “old school” Production Activation

    • More about this later

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    Windows Vista Editions

    • Consumer

      Windows Vista Home Basic

      Windows Vista Home Premium

      Windows Vista Ultimate

    • Business

      Windows Vista Business

      Windows Vista Enterprise

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    Windows Vista Comparison

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    Windows Vista Enterprise

    • Similar features to Business

    • Data Protection

      • BitLocker™ (don’t forget the ™)

    • Application Compatibility

      • VM’s for Legacy Apps

      • A UNIX based subsystem for UNIX apps

    • Multi-Language Support

      • One image-> many languages

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    Windows Vista Distributions

    Volume License Edition - Enterprise

    • Available LSPs only from IUware Online

    • MAK or KMS Activation Required

    • Available now

      Retail Edition – Enterprise & Ultimate

    • IU Bookstore

    • Retail Key Activation Only

    • Cost ??

    • Available: April 2007??

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    Microsoft Volume License Product Keys

    • Volume Activation 1.0

      • The first generation of VLKs

      • Almost everything but Vista uses this type of key

      • This key bypasses product activation

    • Volume Activation 2.0 Multiple Activation Key

      • Activate products through the internet or telephone

      • Have a limited number of activations associated with them

    • Volume Activation 2.0 Key Management Service

      • Key will be used to enable a new service in your environment that will automatically activate products in your environment

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    Microsoft Production Activation 2.0 Goals from their FAQ

    • Close significant piracy loopholes

      • Volume License keys represent majority of the keys that are involved in Windows piracy.

      • According to Microsoft 35% all software is stolen.

    • Improve the volume customer experience.

    • VA 2.0 also may provide enhanced security

      • Frequent background validations for genuine modules.

      • This is currently limited to critical software, but may be expanded greatly over time.

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    VA 2.0 Covers A Lot of Ground

    • VA 2.0 will be expanding

    • Many of the tools and for VA are not currently available!

    • For the moment let’s limit our discussion to

      • VA 2.0 and Windows Vista

      • VA as it exists now

      • VS as implemented here at IU

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    Windows Vista - Volume Activation 2.0 at IU

    • An installation key is not required

      • Vista installations will install and run for 30 days without any keys

    • Activation is required

      • If activation does not occur in that 30-day period, the OS goes into Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM)

    • Two methods of activating VA2 software

      • Multiple Activation Key (MAK)

      • Key Management Service (KMS)

    • Other Vista activation methods you might see

      • OEM installs

      • Retail

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    Multiple Activation Key (MAK) Activations

    • How it works

      • Computers connect directly to servers at Microsoft and perform a one-time, permanent activation

      • Computers that cannot be connected to the Internet can activate over the phone

    • Limited Number of Activations

      • No new activations allowed when this limit is reached

      • This number can be increased by request

    • ‘Black Listing’ is Possible

      • No new activations allowed

      • Previously activated machines could be mark as non-genuine!!

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    Activation Hardware Tolerance

    MAK activations must be renewed if significant hardware changes occur.

    As hardware changes occur, Windows Vista tracks each change, using a weighted score to accumulate changes made.

    If a cumulative score reaches 25, the computer is considered out of tolerance and must be activated with a MAK

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    Key Management Service (KMS)Activations

    • KMS activation requires a local KMS Server


    • Finding the KMS Server

      • Put a client Machine in ADS

    • The activations are leases

      • Once clients find and activate on the KMS server, their lease is 180 days

      • If a client is unable to reconnect to the KMS server for 180 days

        • It will go into a 30-day grace period

        • If that 30 days passes without activation, the client will enter RFM

      • Clients will attempt to reconnect to the KMS server at one-week intervals. Every time it succeeds in connecting, it will extend its lease out another 180 days from the date it connects

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    Choosing between MAK and KMS




    180 Day Lease

    Requires connecting to KMS server

    Restricted to the IU network


    Put the machine in ADS and you don’t have to do anything else as long as the machine is on the IU network

    Unlimited number of Activations!

    • PROs

      • One time activation

      • Doesn’t need KMS

      • Familiar

    • CONs

      • You have do an activation

      • Reactivate with major upgrades

      • Possible Black Listing/ Key Exhaustion

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    My Personal Recommendations

    • Machines on campus: KMS

      • Why not? It is really easy and doesn’t burn a MAK key

    • Machines off campus: MAK

      • Not as convenient but no worse than the current XP model

    • Can’t decide?

      • No problem: it is possible to switch

    • Ok how do I do this stuff?

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    To activate MAK manually using the Windows interface

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    To activate MAK manually using the Windows interface

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    To activate MAK manually over the Internet using a script

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    To activate KMS clients (easy way)

    • Install Windows Vista on the Machine

    • Join the Machine to ADS

      • Machine needs to be able to reach

        • Host (

        • Port 1688

    • Done

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    To activate KMS clients from a script

    • Tell you Client where the KMS Server lives:

      • cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -skms

    • Activate

      • cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs –ato

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    To Convert from MAK to KMS

    • Remove the MAK Key:

      • cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ipk <setup key>

      • <setup Key> lives in sources\pid.txt on you Vista DVD

    • If the machine is in ADS KMS will happen by itself

      • To do it manually just like the last side.

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    Activation and Multiple Machines

    • Ghost

    • Unattended Installs

    • MAK to KMS GPO scripts etc.

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    Reduced Functionality Mode

    • A computer enters RFM if it fails to activate within the 30-day grace period or if it fails to reactivate within 30 days after the 180 days KMS activation expires (in case of a KMS-activated computer).

    • In RFM, the user is provided multiple options for activation after logon. If the computer is not reactivated within one hour, the user is forcibly logged off.

    • MAK-activated computers go into RFM if they fail to activate within 30 days of installation or if they fail to renew activation within 30 days of a major hardware replacement

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    Virtual Machines

    • VM’s don’t count towards the KMS n-count

      • So try to use KMS for VM’s

    • You can do MAK activations on VM’s

      • If the host machine hardware changes significantly then it might require reactivation

    • VM’s get the regular 30-day grace period

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    Ryan Hartman (

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