Windows Server 2016 KMS Server

<![CDATA[Windows Server 2016 KMS – Office 2016 & Server16/Win10 KMS
Recently, we found that Server 2016 standard was having issues using the volume activation tools that are built in.  Instead of using the VAT role, we elected to build our KMS server through command line.  In this tutorial, I will walk you through the steps necessary to complete your new KMS install using Server 2016 Standard.
We are installing a KMS server for Server 2016, Windows 10, and Office 2016 Pro Plus clients.  (Other versions also activate as it is backwards compatible.)
Note:  We are using VMware Hypervisor 6.5 (Free), and our KMS server is running as a VM using Windows Server 2016 Standard (with desktop experience).  Screen capture images can be browsed here. -> Steps


  1.  Create a Windows Server 2016 Server (any edition).
    • Set the timezone, name (and join) your server with your Active Directory.
    • Enable Remote Desktop and set a static IP address (optional)
    • Check for, and install, all windows updates.
    • Reboot the server
  2. Install the Volume Activation Services Role through the server manager.  Click next through the entire process leaving the defaults.  (This GUI is what crashes for us, which is why we are using command line.)
    • Reboot the server once the installation completes.
  3. Visit the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center and obtain your KMS keys for Office 2016 and Server 2016.  Keep these for future reference.  While on the volume site, download “Office Professional Plus 2016 Key Management Service Host”.  It will be an ISO file.
    • Extract the ISO to C:\kms or an appropriate location.
  4. Use an elevated command prompt for all of the following steps
    • Install the Office 2016 KMS Host pack (What we extracted to C:\kms)
      1. cd c:\kms
      2. cscript kms_host.vbs
      3. After the VAT popup appears, close VAT and hit enter twice to return to a standard command line.
    • Install the KMS keys for Windows and Office, one at a time, waiting for the confirmation that the key has been installed prior to continuing to the next.
      1. slmgr.vbs -ipk <insert Server 2016 key here>
      2. slmgr.vbs -ipk <insert Office 2016 key here>
    • Export the licensing information.  This is for two reasons.  First, to make sure both keys have been inserted correctly, and to obtain the activation ID.
      1. cd c:\windows\system32
      2. cscript slmgr.vbs -dlv all >C:\kms\export.txt
        • cscript must be used to export the information into a txt file.
    • Open the recently created export.txt file, and scroll to the licensed products.  Copy the Activation ID‘s for both products and keep for the next step.  NOTE:  The Activation ID and Application ID are NOT the same, so make sure you obtain the correct ID.  The easiest way to find the correct product is to locate the Installation ID.  It will only be present on the two products that we have installed a key on (even though we will not be using the Installation ID.)
    • Activate your product keys.  Do each command one at a time, waiting for the confirmation before moving to the next.
      1. slmgr.vbs -ato <insert Activation ID for Server 2016 here with the dashes>
      2. slmgr.vbs -ato <insert Activation ID for Office 2016 here with the dashes>
    • Confirm that your products are activated and licensed.
      1. cscript slmgr.vbs -dlv all >C:\kms\export2.txt
        • Confirm that the two products identified before have “licensed” as their licensing status.
  5. Now your server is licensing clients.  There are thresholds that will determine when activation starts.
    • Windows Server will activate after a count of 5.
    • Windows 10 will activate after a count of 25.
    • Office 2016 will activate after a count of 5.

Additional Information about KMS:
A Server 2016 KMS key will activate all server editions up to 2016.  It will also activate all Windows Client editions up to Windows 10 including 7, 8 and 8.1.  The Office 2016 Professional Plus key will activate both Pro Plus and Standard Office 2016 installations.]]>

1 thought on “Windows Server 2016 KMS Server

  1. This is a very handy little guide. I did all this back in 2012 days but obviously didn’t remember how exactly to do it, this made life much easier.

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