In order to reduce piracy and counterfeit software, Microsoft has implemented product activation on its operating system product. On Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, the original Software Protection Platform which was introduced in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 has been enhanced and expanded as Windows Activation Technologies (WAT). There are many options to activate installed Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2, and one of them is volume activation.

Volume Activation is a configurable solution that helps IT pros automate and manage the product-activation process on computers that are running the Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems licensed under a Microsoft Volume Licensing program and other programs such as Open License, Select License or Enterprise Agreements that provide Volume License editions of Windows.

With Volume Activation, corporate administrators can automate the activation process so that it is transparent to users. There are two models for completing volume activations: Key Management Service (KMS) and Multiple Activation Key (MAK). KMS allows organizations to activate systems within their network, and MAK activates systems on a one-time basis by using the hosted activation services provided by Microsoft. Customers can use either or both key types to activate systems in their environments.

For Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, the main change is that KMS requires a minimum 5 computers (physical or virtual machines) to activate Windows Server 2008 R2 and at least 25 computers (physical or virtual machines) to activate clients that are running Windows 7 in a network environment. Previously, only physical PC is counted for the activation thresholds. Besides, new version of KMS will also serve as activation server for Microsoft Office 2010 for the first time.

Administrators or users who want to know more about volume activation, various resources have been prepared by Microsoft. Users can view the following video clips and access various official guides to learn and understand more about Volume Activation.


Volume Activation Changes and Differences in Windows 7 from Previous Versions of the OS


Fundamentals of Volume Activation – Insights on the Volume Activation process while deploying Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008


MAK Activation for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2


KMS Activation for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

Microsoft also posted several guides for Volume Activation on TechNet. One of them is Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Volume Activation Planning Guide with the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Learn About Product Activation
  • Review Available Activation Models
  • Evaluate Client Connectivity
  • Map Computers to an Activation Method
  • Determine Product Key Needs
  • Determine Monitoring and Reporting Needs
  • Appendix A: Information Sent to Microsoft
  • Appendix B: Licensing Conditions

Another document is Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Volume Activation Deployment Guide, with the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • KMS Activation
  • MAK Activation
  • Reactivating Computers
  • Appendix A: Optional Configurations
  • Appendix B: Sample Unattended Installation File

Also available is Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Volume Activation Operations Guide with the following topics:

  • Introduction
  • Management Tools for Volume Activation
  • Volume Activation Troubleshooting
  • Managing License States
  • User Experience

While the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Volume Activation Technical Reference Guide provides the following information:

  • Introduction
  • User Experience
  • Slmgr.vbs Options
  • Registry Settings
  • Group Policy Object Settings
  • KMS Activation Timing
  • KMS Discovery Search Order
  • Activation Scenarios
  • KMS Host Keys to Products
  • Activation Policy Values
  • KMS Client Setup Keys
  • Activation Error Codes
  • Windows Event Log
  • WMI Properties and Methods
  • Glossary
  • Resource Links

More resources for Volume Activation for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 can be found at Technet.

Related Posts