Posted on April 24, 2014 · Posted in Windows Server 2012 R2

KMS Server Installation on Windows Server 2012 R2

Own KMS server allows to make Microsoft products activation in a corporate network easier and in contrast to a usual activation process doesn’t require granting each computer access to the Internet to Microsoft activation servers. KMS infrastructure is rather simple, reliable and easily scalable (a single KMS server can maintain thousands of clients).

In this article, we describe how to install and activate the KMS server on Windows Server 2012 R2 on the corporate network.

Installation and Configuration the Volume Activation Services Role

KMS requires installation and configuration of a separate role – Volume Activation Services. You can do it in Server Manage console or PowerShell:

Install-WindowsFeature -Name VolumeActivation  -IncludeAllSubFeature

Install Volume Activation Services role in Windows Server 2012 R2After the installation is over, start Volume Activation Tools console. An activation service installation wizard will start. Specify that you are going to install Key Management Service (KMS) server.

  Note. If all Windows OSs activated on this KMS server belong to one and the same Active Directory domain, you can use a special KMS extension — Active Directory Based Activation.

install key managment service win 2012 r2

Note. The account must have Enterprise Admin rights.

Next you need to get your corporate KMS key (GVLK – Generic Volume License Key) on Microsoft website ( You can find it in the section Downloads and Keys –> Windows Server –> Windows Server 2012 R2.

get gvlk key for kms service at Microsoft Site

Find the key with type KMS (not MAK) and copy it to the clipboard.

Paste the GVLK key in the corresponding field of the wizard (Install your KMS host key).

install kms key

If the system accepts the key, you will immediately be suggested to activate it. The system will define a product by the key you entered and suggest two ways of activation (by phone or online).

activating of kms server

After the key is activated, you have to configure Key Management Service options: activation and renewal intervals, port (by default, KMS listens on port 1688) and Windows Firewall exceptions. To automatically create a DNS record necessary to automatically search a KMS server in the domain (SRV record _vlmcs._tcp), check the option DNS Records – Publish.

publicate kms server in dns

Now the configuration is over. Make sure that a special DNS record pointing to your KMS server was created:

nslookup -type=srv

Then get the information on the KMS server status:

slmgr.vbs /dlv

check kms server status

Pay attention to the following fields:

  • Partial Product Key – the last 5 symbols of the key are shown
  • License status – license activation status (it should be Licensed)
  • Total requests received  – the number of activation requests (0 yet)

  Attention. Remember that a KMS server has so called activation threshold. It means that an activated KMS server starts to activate clients only when the number of clients that addressed it in the last 30 days exceeds the certain limit (activation count):

  1. The activation threshold for client OS Vista / Windows 7 / Win 8 is 25 clients
  2. In case of server OSs Windows Server 2008/ 2008 R2 / 2012 / 2012 R2 it is 5 clients

Now the KMS server can activate its clients.

  Some tips.

The same KMS server can activate  MS Office (details in article Activating MS Office 2013 VL

Public KMS keys for Windows 8.1 / Server 2012 R2 here.

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