With Windows Server 2019, Microsoft included a lot of cloud-based functionality, but administrators who have issues with server OS activation may find it difficult to make the transition to the cloud at first.

After 180 days, Windows Server 2019 must have its license activated; otherwise, the operating system will crash. Logging in to each computer and manually activating them is not efficient when there are numerous servers handling workloads.

Sometimes, inserting a legitimate key obtained from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) won't work. Key rejections and errors can occur frequently with no obvious cause. It's helpful to understand how to activate the Windows Server 2019 license using alternate ways, including the command line or Key Management Services (KMS), to prevent getting frustrated with the server GUI.

Why use Windows Server 2019?

While Windows Server 2016 might not have the more sophisticated capabilities that some businesses want, a move to Windows Server 2022 might be a little too soon for many firms that might prefer a more tried-and-true server OS.

Significant improvements and a few years of upgrades are included in Windows Server 2019, which should satisfy even the most cautious administrators who value reliability over cutting-edge functionality. The following are some benefits of Windows Server 2019 over Windows Server 2016:

  • scalable, expanded storage up to 64 TB with replication for disaster recovery;
  • enhanced performance in Storage Space Direct—up to two times faster, according to Microsoft—through advancements in mirror-accelerated parity;
  • and cloud-based file witness sharing are just a few of the features.

Essentially, Windows Server 2016 was not designed for hybrid settings, which makes data management more difficult for administrators.

AI and IoT support are two more cutting-edge technologies that have been baked into Windows Server 2019. Artificial intelligence is used by Windows server 2019 KMS key to make more intelligent predictions based on analytics. Microsoft included this function to assist administrators in reducing overhead. Servers and other connected IoT platforms' devices may easily share and backup data.

Microsoft improved the capability of Remote Desktop Services, enhanced support for Linux virtual machines (VMs), modified subsystem containers to facilitate development, and upgraded the security aspects of Server 2019. Windows Admin Center is also integrated with this most recent version.

However, in order to prevent problems after deployment, Windows Server 2019 must be activated in order to access all of its capabilities.

KMS is an alternative activation method: Server 2019 KMS Key

Using KMS, a client-server volume activation mechanism, is an additional method for managing VLSC activation.

For activation, KMS clients connect to a KMS server—also referred to as the KMS host—on the network. A KMS host may be a physical or virtualized computer. In order to activate a Windows Server 2019 machine, the KMS host needs to be running one of the following operating systems: Choose from Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server 2016 or 2012 R2.

How to locate and utilize the license key for KMS Host

Getting the KMS Host key is necessary in order to configure a KMS host. The KMS host can be activated by following these steps:

  • 1. Navigate to License > Relationship Summary > on the VLSC website. Copy the Windows Srv 2019 DataCtr/Std KMS from the keys list by clicking Current Active License ID > Product Keys.
  • 2. Launch the command prompt, enter the 25-digit KMS host product key, then type slmgr /ipk and hit Enter. After that, to activate the host key, execute slmgr /ato.

The Volume Activation Services server role must also be installed on the server, either through Server Manager or by using the following PowerShell command:

IncludeManagementTools -Name VolumeActivation -Install-WindowsFeature

The KMS host should then notify KMS clients—like a Windows Server 2019 computer—of its existence on the network. The KMS client should automatically activate; once activated, it will stay active for 180 days until it renews through the KMS host.


Installing and activating the KMS client key manually

  • Step 1: Get the appropriate product key from the Microsoft article that is official.
    Win Server 2016 Standard's KMS Client Setup Key is "WC2BQ-8NRM3-FDDYY-2BFGV-KHKQY." I'll apply it in the following action.
  • Step 2: Installing the key on your server.
    Click the Windows button, type "cmd," then select "run as administrator" to launch the command prompt. In the command box, type "slmgr /ipk CLIENTKEY" after that.
    Note: Pressing Enter comes after each command.
  • Step 3: Set the KMS server.
    In the window, type "slmgr /skms kms8.msguides.com."
  • Step 4: Activate the KMS client key.
    Finally, activate Windows by using the command "/ato."
  • The error code 0xC004F074 indicates that either the server is busy or your internet connection is erratic. Please confirm that your device is online before attempting the command "ato" one more till it works.