KMS (Key Management Service) is the activation server for volume license Windows Vista product, a new feature for Volume Activation 2.0 (VA2.0) that allows business entities or organizations to centrally manage volume license key (VLK) for Windows Vista computers, where each and every of them has to be activated, even the Business/Enterprise volume licensed editions. However, pirates have found out a way to crack Windows Vista activation process, by installing and setting up a KMS server yourself, and use the unauthorized pseudo KMS server to spoof as real KMS server to activate your Windows Vista client. A single KMS is capable of handling activation for all Windows Vista PC and clients locally, without the need to connect back to Microsoft every single time.

Step-by-Step Guide and Tutorial to Install and Deploy KMS Server

  1. Download Windows Vista VL edition, or purchase a volume edition of Vista DVD.
  2. Install Windows Vista Business or Enterprise Edition. Do not enter any product key or volume license serial key during installation. If you don’t have extra computer, simply set up a virtual machine by using VMWare Server or Microsoft Virtual PC 2007.
  3. After installation, use the following command to enter KMS key at Command Prompt with administrative rights (right click on Command Prompt icon and choose “Run as Admin” if you’re not administrator):

    cscript C:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ipk <volume license key>

  4. Activate the KMS key input above by execute the following command:

    cscript C:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ato

The simple steps to create a Vista KMS activation server yourself is completed. Some notable points are:

  • Contrary to popular belief, this is the legitimate way to setup a KMS server, although it intends only for corporate and business customers.
  • The KMS key (or volume license key) that you entered may be genuine (valid) or non-genuine (invalid), as Microsoft has not yet actually validate the key with WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) or any other method (but once validation begun, the KMS will likely fail if you use any VLK that can be found on Internet today, unless you skip or bypass the validation).
  • The KMS host doesn’t validate a key with Microsoft when it activates a Vista client, thus if the KMS host remains no contact and no WGA check from Microsoft, it will continue to validate the Vista clients connected. Vista machines doesn’t contact Microsoft for activation, however, still subject to genuine Windows validation.
  • The KMS server can only activate Windows Vista Business or Enterprise editions.
  • When the KMS server been used to activate Vista clients/computers for the first time, at least 25 clients or computers (n count > 25) are needed to activation to be done. When the number of clients of computers connected to the KMS reached or exceed 25 pcs, all Vista clients and machines waiting to be activated will be activated at one go.
  • You can install Windows Vista on the virtual machine or virtual PC, and request activation from KMS. However, it won’t increase the number of clients (n count) calculation.
  • After activation, each Vista clients must be re-activated within 180 days as the key will be hosted on the KMS, else the client’s operating system will go back to trial mode with 30-days activation grace period.
  • After activate a Vista client, the CMID of the client will be kept on the KMS server. If within 30 days, the Vista client doesn’t connect to the KMS to renew the activation, the CMID will be removed and deleted from the KMS, and the n count (total number of clients for the KMS) will be reduced by 1.
  • Each KMS key (VLK) can be used to activate 2 servers for up to ten times each. After exceeding over the limit, users need to contact Microsoft for approval.

After that, users can use the local KMS server to activate their copy of Windows Vista, as the simple workaround. You most likely need to find or ask other Vista addicts and share with them the KMS server so that you will have enough 25 machines needed to activate the activation ability of the KMS server.

If you want the fast way to setup the KMS server, on the BitTorrent BT P2P network, there is also a torrent named Microsoft.Windows.Vista.Local.Activation.Server-MelindaGates that contains pre-installed and activated Windows Vista KMS server as a VMWare image. Once downloaded, user can install the free download VMWare Player, VMWare Server or VMWare Workstation, and load the VMWare image to boot up the spoofed or pseudo KMS server in a virtual machine, without any installation or configuration hassles mentioned above for self installation. The VMWare image also contains some VBS script provided by Microsoft that can be used to have the client Vista machine get its activation from the local server. Download the KMS VMWare image (Microsoft.Windows.Vista.Local.Activation.Server-MelindaGates.3572011.TPB.torrent) from any torrent sites. You will need BT clients such as BitComet to download the image.

For tutorial and step-by-step guide on how to using the Vista KMS VMware image file to activate your copy of Windows Vista, visit this article.