You must have a KMS host available on your local network in order to use KMS. A particular product key is required for computers to activate using a KMS host. This key is officially known as a Microsoft Generic Volume License Key (GVLK), although it is also commonly referred to as the KMS client key. Volume licensing editions of Windows Server and Windows client on these computers make them KMS clients by default because the necessary GVLK is already installed. No additional configuration is required.

However, in some cases, such as the following, you will need to install the GVLK on the computer you want to use to activate against a KMS host:

  • Changing a computer's activation method from using multiple keys (MAK).
  • Transforming a Windows retail license into a KMS client.
  • If the system was once a KMS host.

Key Management Service in a Windows client version

When a KMS host key is installed on a Windows client computer, the following scenarios can be performed against this KMS host:

  • Activation of additional PCs with the same client Windows version.
  • Activation of additional PCs with older Windows client versions.
  • DNS resource records are used by clients to find the KMS server, hence some DNS setting is necessary. If the company employs MAK-based activation for fewer servers and volume activation for clients, then this scenario may be advantageous.

A KMS host must install a KMS key in order to activate KMS capabilities. Next, utilizing Microsoft activation services, the host is activated over the phone or over the Internet.


Free Key Management Service in Windows Server: Activate Windows Server 2022

Computers running the same or previous versions of Windows Server can be activated by installing a KMS host key on a Windows Server machine. It also permits the activation of Windows client versions.

  • 1. Set up KMS on a Windows server.
  • 2. Access a Windows Server server by logging in using a local administrator account.
  • 3. Launch the Server Manager.
  • 4. In Server Manager, choose Add Roles and Features from the Manage menu. The window for the Add Roles and Features Wizard opens.
    • Within the wizard to add roles and features:
    • Click the Next > button on the Before you begin page.
    • Choose between role-based and feature-based installation on the Choose installation type/Installation Type screen, then click the Next > button.
    • Verify that the option to "Select a server from the server pool" is chosen on the "Server Selection" page. Choose the server to install KMS on under Server Pool, and then click the Next > button.
    • Choose Volume Activation Services under Roles on the Select server roles/Server Roles screen, and then click the Next > button.
    • Choose the Add Features button, followed by the Next > button, in the Add features that are necessary for Volume Activation Services? window that displays.
    • Click the Next > button on the Select features/Features page.
    • Click the Next > button located on the Volume Activation Services page.
    • Click the Install button on the Confirm installation selections/Confirmation screen.
    • It may require several minutes to finish the installation. Click the Close button after the role installation is finished.
  • 5. Select Volume Activation Tools by going to Start Menu > Windows Administrative Tools. The window for Volume Activation Tools opens.
  • 6. Within the window of Volume Activation Tools:
    • Click the Next > button on the Introduction to Volume Activation Tools/Introduction page.
    • Choose the Key Management Service (KMS) option and identify the machine that serves as the KMS host on the Select Volume Activation Method/Activation Type screen. This machine may be a different server or client machine, or it may be the server where the KMS role was installed. Click the Next > button once the server or PC has been mentioned.
    • Enter the KMS host key in the text field located under Install your KMS host key on the Manage KMS Host/Product Key Management page. Then, click the Commit button.
    • Choose Yes if prompted to confirm replacing an existing key.
    • Once the product key has been installed, make sure Activate Product is chosen on the Product Key Installation Succeeded/Product Key Management page, and then click the Next > button to start the activation process.
    • Make that the current product is visible under the Select product menu on the Activate Product/Product Key Management page, then choose the preferred activation method. The approaches that are available are:
    • Active online: To complete the product's online activation, choose this option and then click the Commit button.
    • Active via phone: If this option is chosen:
    • From the Select your location drop-down menu, choose the desired place, and then click the Next > button.
    • To activate the product by phone, follow the instructions on the Activate by Phone/Product Key Management page.
    • When you're done, click the Commit button.
  • 7. Review the setup options on the Activation Succeeded/Product Key Management page:
    • Click the Close button if all setting options are as intended.
    • If it's necessary to make configuration changes:
    • Click the Next > button.
    • Make the necessary configuration adjustments on the Configure Key Management Service Options/Product Key Management page, and then click the Commit button.
    • Click the Close button on the Configuration Succeeded/Configuration screen.

The KMS host starts to wait for activation requests when it has been configured. Nevertheless, until the activation threshold is reached, clients cannot be successfully activated.