Some good questions on Activation 2.0

Windows Vista Home Page As many of you know, or will know by reading this, Windows Vista (and future OS’s and Apps from Microsoft) requires Activation; and a new functionality that is very good, and very important to understand, is how the new “Activation 2.0” affects volume licenses of Windows Vista Business versions (Standard and Enterprise). 

CLICK HERE For more information about it. 

Seriously – If you’re an IT Pro who manages the licensing and deployment of your desktops, you’re going to need to understand this stuff.  It’s not rocket science, but there are many questions that can arise.  In fact, I was e-mailed a couple of them just today.

Chris says..

“I was reading an article in Windows IT Pro about KMS and it mentions you need have 25 licenses of Vista or 5 Windows server licenses.  Does that mean if I install Vista for only a handful of users initially that I can’t use KMS?  Or do I need to get 25 users up and running to use KMS?  25 users are half of my desktop licenses and I’d rather upgrade a smaller number of systems initially.”

Yes, KMS (the Key Management Service) is only available to use if you’re maintaining 25 or more activations.  The KMS service makes itself known in DNS (a special SRV record), and business clients automatically find this server when they start up if they need activation.  After the KMS sees the first 25, it then starts activating clients (including those first 25).  But not before.

So.. because clients have a 30 day grace period to get activated, you basically have that long to bring up at least 25 clients.

The alternative to KMS activation is MAK (Multiple Activation Key) activation, which activates to Microsoft rather than to a local KMS service.   If you have the KMS key, you also have the MAK key.  (You get one of each from the same Volume License key source.)

Chris also says…

“Also, the article mentioned I need a ‘Longhorn’ server to use KMS or I could use an add-on for Windows 2003, which isn’t out yet.  Am I understanding this correctly, or am I missing something?”

You understand correctly.  Support for the KMS isn’t available yet in Windows Server 2003 or earlier.  You can install it on a Windows Vista machine, or on Longhorn (which is only in beta now).  But yes, you should expect to see an update for Windows Server 2003 sometime in the first quarter of 2007.

Any other questions?

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