Activation for Volume Licensing Products – KMS and MAK


All editions of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 now require activation. As part of Microsoft’s Genuine Software Initiative, Volume Activation (VA) 2.0 is a set of technical and policy-related solutions provided by Microsoft’s Software Protection Platform.

The new method of activation designed for volume license customers

VA 2.0 is a configurable solution that helps IT professionals automate and manage the product activation process of Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise and Windows Server 2008 systems licensed under volume licensing,

VA 2.0 helps manage and increase the protection of volume license keys in both managed and unmanaged environments. It also helps to optimize the deployment infrastructure through flexible deployment options that require no action or involvement from end users.

VA 2.0 eliminates the use of product keys at the time of software installation and enables better protection and management of customer-specific product keys through new and enhanced activation management tools.

Volume Activation 2.0 Options

There are two types of customer-specific keys, namely Multiple Activation Key (MAK) and Key Management Service (KMS) Key for each license enrollment the customer has under their volume licensing agreement, I touched on this in a previous blog on Server OS

  • The Key Management Service (KMS) key is used to establish a local activation service (the Key Management Service or KMS) that is hosted locally in the customer’s environment, managed by the customer/IT department
  • The Multiple Activation Key (MAK) is used for one-time activation with Microsoft’s hosted activation services. Each MAK key has a predetermined number of allowed activations dependent upon the volume license agreement that the customer has. Each MAK activation with Microsoft’s hosted activation service counts towards the predetermined activation limit.

Did you know: Customers can use any combination activation methods to activate machines in their environment, depending on the needs of their organization and network infrastructure.

Did you know: We have a team that can increase your MAK activations, just mail them on with the info on why they need increased

Volume Activation 2.0 Documentation

Comprehensive information covering Planning, Deployment and Operations of VA 2.0 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 is available at:

Notes on WGA

Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA):

  • Rewards customers for validating their software as genuine, by giving them exclusive benefits.
  • Is necessary for customers to receive services from the Windows Update site and certain downloads from the Microsoft Download Center.
  • Requires a brief online process to validate Windows Vista software as genuine.

For more information, see


1 Comment

  1. So if I use Key Management Service everything is activated locally. Will the tally count on the server transfer to Microsoft ? What if the hard drive crashes and I need to re-install windows and re-active; did I burn another license right there ?

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