Microsoft Volume Activation - Troubleshooting Microsoft Volume Activation for Windows Operating Systems

This document explains how to troubleshoot problems with Microsoft Volume Activation for Windows operating systems. For instructions on troubleshooting Microsoft Office activation issues, see Microsoft Volume Activation - Troubleshooting Microsoft Volume Activation for Microsoft Office 2013, 2016, 2019, or LTSC 2021

Checking Windows 10 or 11 Activation Status

  • Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Activation

System page showing activation status 

  • It is likely that if your computer is not activated, you will have a watermark on the lower right of your screen that says "Activate Windows - Go to Settings to activate Windows"

Changing the Activation Method for a Windows 10 or 11 Computer

 

Contents:


Determining Windows Activation type

    1. Launch a command window with elevated privileges
      • Type cmd in the Search bar to locate the command window.
      • Right-click on cmd or Command Prompt and click Run as administrator from the context menu
      • Click Yes at the User Account Control prompt to open the command window with elevated privileges.
    2. In the command prompt window, type the following command:
      • cscript slmgr.vbs /dli
    3. Press Enter.
    4. Check your version:
      • If Windows is KMS activated, you will see "VOLUME_KMSCLIENT" in the Description field

      • Volume_KMS in cmd

      • If Windows is MAK activated, you will see "VOLUME_MAK" in the Description field
      • Volume_MAK in cmd
    5. Close the Command Prompt Window


Converting a Windows Computer From KMS to MAK Activation

  1. If you are affiliated with the University, email help@doit.wisc.edu to request the University's MAK activation key for one of the following operating systems, otherwise use the product key which came with your copy of Windows.
    • Windows 8 Enterprise
    • Windows 10 Enterprise/Education
    • Windows 11 Enterprise/Education
    • Windows Server 2012R2
    • Windows Server 2016
    • Windows Server 2019
    • Windows Server 2022
  2. Click Start. In the Search box, type:
    • System
    • Click on System in the search results

  3. Start menu > System

  4. Click Change product key in the Windows activation section at the bottom of the System menu.
    • Click Yes at the User Account Control prompt to open the Windows Activation Client

  5. System control panel

  6. Enter the MAK activation key from the help@doit.wisc.edu email you received into the Product Key field and click the Next button.
    Windows Enter Product Key page

    • You may be prompted to Activate Windows. Click Next

  7. Confirm Activation

  8. Click the Close button once the activation is complete

  9. Windows is activated splash screen


Converting a Windows Computer From MAK to KMS Activation

For VMWare guests in NAT network mode, you must specify the kms host - skip directly to step 4
  1. Locate the Windows product key for your version of Windows
  2. Launch a command window with elevated privileges
    • Type cmd in the Search bar to locate the command window.
    • Right-click on cmd or Command Prompt and click Run as administrator from the context menu.
    • Click Yes at the User Account Control prompt to open the command window with elevated privileges.
  3. Type the following command:
    • cscript slmgr.vbs -ipk <product key>
    • In place of <product key>, enter your product key located in Step 1
  4. Press Enter.

  5. -ipk cmd

  6. Type the following command:
    • cscript slmgr.vbs -skms ms-kms-1.services.wisc.edu
  7. Press Enter.

  8. -skms cmd

  9. Type the following command:
    • cscript slmgr.vbs -ato
  10. Press Enter.

  11. -ato cmd

  

    Checking if a DNS Domain is Configured for KMS Auto-Discovery

    To check if a DNS domain is configured for KMS auto-discovery, check that a SRV record exists.

    • Run the following command in cmd:
      • nslookup -type=srv _vlmcs._tcp.<dept>.wisc.edu
    • If a SRV record exists for the domain, the DNS server will detail the SRV record.
    C:\>nslookup -type=srv _vlmcs._tcp
    Server:  rdns1.doit.wisc.edu
    Address:  128.104.254.254
    
    Non-authoritative answer:
    _vlmcs._tcp.<dept>.wisc.edu       SRV service location:
              priority       = 0
              weight         = 0
              port           = 1688
              svr hostname   = ms-kms-1.services.wisc.edu
    • If no SRV record exists for the domain, the DNS server will return an error
    C:\>nslookup -type=srv _vlmcs._tcp
    Server:  rdns1.doit.wisc.edu
    Address:  128.104.254.254
    
    *** rdns1.doit.wisc.edu can't find _vlmcs._tcp.<dept>.wisc.edu: Non-existent domain

    Manually Specifying the KMS Activation Server

    1. Launch a command window with elevated privileges.
      • Type cmd in the search bar to locate the command window.
      • Right click on cmd and click Run as administrator from the context menu
      • Click Continue at the User Account Control prompt to open the command window with elevated privileges.
    2. Run the command cscript slmgr.vbs -skms ms-kms-1.services.wisc.edu to manually specify the KMS activation server.

      -skms cmd

    3. Run the command cscript slmgr.vbs -ato to activate the computer with the KMS server.

      Note: Please make sure that the clock on your computer is correct and synced to Central Time to match our KMS server, otherwise the KMS activation may fail.

      -ato cmd

     



    Keywordskms install setup problem license windows MAK   Doc ID7770
    OwnerTy M.GroupDoIT Departmental Support
    Created2008-05-13 18:00:00Updated2023-04-04 14:56:31
    SitesDoIT Departmental Support, DoIT Help Desk
    Feedback  0   0