Feeds

Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2: Quick start guide for sysadmins

What do you mean you forgot your key?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Sysadmin blog Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 are now officially available. New shiny toys for the kids, but how does a sysadmin license these new products?

This post assumes you're already up and running with Windows 8 and Server 2012, but I'll quickly go over the basic requirements:

You'll need to obtain your Server Key Management Service (KMS) key from Microsoft’s Volume Licensing Service Center.

Clients by default will have a Client KMS key, but if you want to check, here's the list from Microsoft.

To clarify how a KMS works - a client has a Client KMS key which is generic globally, and tells the client to check in with a KMS Server to be licensed. The KMS Server talks back to Microsoft, using its Server KMS key which is special to your Microsoft agreement to keep itself activated.

The KMS Server will manage the licensing side of things, but there's a minimum amount of clients that need to have requested activation before the server starts approving anything. Twenty-five Client Operating Systems (eg, Windows 8.1) and five separate Server Operating Systems are the minimums. KMS clients attempt to check in every seven days, but have up to 180 days before licensing becomes invalid.

Confused yet?

KMS also needs a DNS entry (which can be customised) so clients know how to get to the KMS Server; the settings required are listed here.

Instructions

If you're not using a brand new Windows Server 2012 R2 server as your KMS Server, you'll need to download the relevant update.

If you don't do this and try to activate, you'll see the following message:

slmgr.vbs /ipk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx

So trust me, you need to install the patch and reboot.

Make sure you're using the KMS Server key relevant to the OS you're putting the key on, not what clients you're planning to license (ie, KMS Server 2012 R2 key goes on any Server OS - 2008 to 2012, and will allow you to license both Windows Server 2012 R2 clients and Windows 8.1 clients).

Once you've successfully added the key with the slmgr.vbs /ipk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx command, you can force it to activate with the command slmgr.vbs /ato. Normally it takes a few seconds for the dialog box to show the results.

You can then see the stats on how many KMS clients are activated, as well as checking that you're ready for 8.1 and R2 with the command slmgr.vbs /dlv. Near the top of that dialog box will be a description which should end with VOLUME_KMS_2012-R2 channel.

You're now good to go with the exciting world of KMS licensing on the latest operating systems from Microsoft. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.