Automatic Virtual Machine Activation (AVMA) was first introduced in Windows Server 2012 R2. This technology allows to automatically activate all virtual machines with guest Windows Server running on the Hyper-V host with the Windows Server Datacenter edition. Thus, any new virtual machine running Windows Server will be automatically activated when started with no need to use a MAK key, activate a VM on the KMS server, connect to the Internet or manually activate a product.
Remember that Windows Server Datacenter allows to legally run unlimited number of virtual machines with Windows Server (Windows Server Licensing and Virtualization) and due to AVMA, VM activation can get much easier.
AVMA System Requirements
These are the main requirements, aspects and restrictions to bear in mind to automatically activate VMs using AVMA:
- An activated Hyper-V host running Windows Server 2016 / 2012 R2 Datacenter edition must be used as a hypervisor ( Windows Server 2012, 2008 R2 and 2008 do not support AVMA activation)
- Windows Server 2016/2012 R2 Datacenter, Standard or Essentials editions may be used as guest OSs on the virtual machines (desktop Windows versions cannot be activated this way)
- Windows Server 2012 R2 host cannot activate a VM running any Windows Server 2016 edition
- The public key of AVMA (listed below) must be specified as the product key on guest OSs
- Integration Services must be installed on a VM, and Data Exchange (Management -> Integration Services) option must be enabled in the VM properties
- A guest OS must have Microsoft Hyper-V Activation Component (installed during Integration Services setup)
The guest OS of the virtual machine exchanges data about AVMA activation with the Hyper-V host over VMbus using KVP objects (key + value) located in the following registry key: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Virtual Machine\Guest.
AVMA Keys for Windows Server 2016 / 2012 R2
To activate guest OSs using AVMA, they must have special AVMA keys which differ depending on the version and edition of the OS.
Here is the list of AVMA keys for different Windows Server versions:
Windows Server 2012 R2
Windows Server 2016
An AVMA key has to be specified during guest OS installation or any time after it using the following command run elevated:
slmgr –ipk <AVMA_Key>
slmgr –ipk C3RCX-M6NRP-6CXC9-TW2F2-4RHYD
When activating an OS using AVMA, the event with EventID 12309 appears in the application log of the guest OS, and the event with EventID 12310 — in the hypervisor log. Thus, an administrator can track the licenses issued on a Hyper-V host.
The current activation status of the guest OS can be seen using this command:
If a VM is activated using AVMA, you will see the following line: VIRTUAL_MACHINE_ACTIVATION channel.
After activation, guest OSs renew their activation every 7 days.