Campus Microsoft Software Activation

Key Management Service (KMS) Overview:

As part of our Microsoft Campus Agreement, Oregon State University maintains a central Key Management Service (KMS) server to license and activate Microsoft software. This service provides a method for a transparent activation for the latest Windows Operating Systems and Office Suites. A new activation process called Active Directory-based Activation (ADBA) replaces the KMS server functionality for domain-joined workstations and will gradually supplant KMS as campus computers upgrade to newer Operating Systems.

Available Products ▸

The following products are available for activation through either the KMS server or Active Directory. A pre-requisite to all of these activations is that the system has to be joined to a domain within the Oregon State University Active Directory Forest. If the host cannot be joined to the domain or is away from the network for longer than 180 days, a separate Multiple Access Key (MAK) will need to be employed on that workstation instead.

Microsoft Office Activation

Office Professional 2010 / 2013 / 2016 (KMS Server Activation and ADBA Activation)

Microsoft Windows Desktop Operating Systems

Windows 7 Enterprise Edition (KMS Server Activation)

Windows 8 / 8.1 / 10 Enterprise Edition (ADBA Activation)

Microsoft Windows Server Operating Systems

Windows 2008 / 2008 R2 Standard Edition (KMS Server Activation)*

Windows 2012 / 2012 R2 Standard Edition (ADBA Activation)*

* - The KMS and ADBA processes will activate these products. A license will still need to be purchased for each installation to remain within licensing compliance.

Server Information:▸

Server Name: OSU-KMS

Server FQDN:

Server IP Address:

Server Port: 1688

DNS Service Record: Label: _VLMCS Domain: Target:

Firewall Information: ISSvcs Firewall Context

Firewall Ports Open: Campus -> OSU-KMS (TCP/IP 1688)

Active Directory Object Locations: Configuration <domain name>\Configuration\Services\Microsoft SPP\Activation Objects (replicated to all domains within the forest)

How the activation process works (KMS and Active Directory-based Activation):

Each host that needs initial activation or an activation renewal goes through this process. The timings and how often these processes are completed are dictated by network access and availability. More details about timing and specific windows of activation can be reviewed in the “KMS Activation Timing and Discovery for Volume Activation” article mentioned at the bottom of this page.

Windows 7 hosts:

  1. The domain-joined Windows 7 host will query DNS for the volume license server via the SRV record.
  2. The response will provide the new KMS server ( –
  3. The domain-joined Windows 7 host will query the server on port TCP 1688 for activation.
  4. The OSU-KMS server will respond and activate/renew the client.

Windows 8 and above hosts:

  1. The domain-joined Windows host will query Active Directory Activation Object on boot for Office and Windows.
  2. The response from the domain will activate/renew the client (Windows and Office Suite)

How the activation process works (MAK Keys)▸

Multiple Access Keys are a part of our contract. These are used for permanent one-time only activations for Windows and Office (you need a different key for each). Oregon State University has an pre-allotment of 500 MAK keys per Operating System/Office Suite available from Microsoft. These keys are to be used for specific cases only where the host is unable to check-in within 180-days. These keys are not to be used in imaging or cloning situations and should not be shared with any entity outside of your IT team.

Once an activation has been consumed there is no way to gain it back. The Software License Coordinator will handle issuing of MAK keys as well as the re-issuing of MAK keys if we ever bump into the 500 limit on the existing key(s). You can review more technical details about the MAK keys by reading over the “Understanding MAK Activation” document listed below.

Frequently Asked Questions:▸

  • Can my computer check in with the KMS server from off-campus?

  • No. You need to connect to the Oregon State University VPN service at least once in a 180-day period to renew your activation of Windows and Office. If this is not possible, or will create difficulties for the customer a MAK key may be a better solution.

  • Does this affect Microsoft Office 2011 for the Mac or 2016 for the Mac?

  • No. This activation is only necessary for Windows Operating Systems and Windows Office Suites. If you are running Windows and Office from a Mac via BootCamp, Parallels, or some other virtual host you will need to activate Windows and Office on the Windows side through the KMS or ADBA method.

  • Where can I get the software listed above?

  • You can find all of the software that Oregon State University is licensed for on the Software server. You can reach it here: \\\software.

  • I don’t seem to have access to \\\software or a file within there?

  • You can contact the Software Coordinator ( to obtain access to the necessary folders.

  • How do I get assistance with KMS activation problems?

  • Your first line of support should be this help document. Most of the commonly asked questions, issues, and troubleshooting steps are included. If these are unable to resolve your request, the OSU Computer Helpdesk can assist further with your situation. The OSU Computer Helpdesk can escalate the issue if they are unable to resolve it.

  • Will KMS or Active Directory-based Activation work for all situations?

  • No. In some cases where the computer is not attached to the network at least once every 180-days (field work, sabbatical, extended trips, etc.) a different activation can be used. Please review the section on MAK Keys to determine if that is the best solution for you.

  • Where can I obtain a MAK key for Windows or Office?

  • Contact the OSU Software Coordinator and let her know what you are looking for. The necessary codes will be provided. Please ensure that these keys are kept private.

Troubleshooting Steps:▸

There are several areas to look at when trying to resolve issues. A lot more technical detail can also be found in the “How to troubleshoot the Key Management Service (KMS) document listed below. This section assumes the following pre-requisites are in place:

  1. The computer is joined to a domain in the Oregon State University forest.
  2. The computer has a working IP address.
  3. The computer desktop operating system is the “Enterprise” version (7, 8, 8.1, 10) or Standard Server (2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2)
  4. The computer was installed using a KMS Client Setup key or has had its product key changed (see the “KMS Client Setup Keys” below for more details).
  5. The computer is fully patched and has been rebooted at least once since joining the domain.

Verifying that you can reach the KMS server:

  1. From an administrator-elevated command prompt, type “ping”
  2. You should see in the response “Reply from …”

Verifying DNS Service Records are correct and reachable:

  1. From an administrator-elevated command prompt, type “nslookup –type=srv _vlmcs._tcp”
  2. You should see a response from one of the name servers on campus.
  3. You should see in the response “port” being 1688
  4. You should see in the response “svr hostname” being

Verifying that there is no firewall blocking your access:

  1. Install the Telnet client on your Windows workstation if it isn’t already installed.
  2. From an administrator-elevated command prompt, type “Telnet 1688”
  3. You should connect to the server and be at a blank black screen.
  4. If you get an error (connection failed, etc.), it generally means there is a firewall blocking your path. Follow standard firewall troubleshooting processes.

Verify your computers operating system current activation status:

  1. From an administrator-elevated command prompt, go to the C:\Windows\System32 folder.
  2. Type “cscript slmgr.vbs /dli” to obtain the current license information.

Other most-used commands include:

cscript slmgr.vbs /? Provides a list of all the activation options for the tool.

cscript slmgr.vbs /ato Activate the Windows Product using the current KMS values (will query DNS if the OS has never been activated).

cscript slmgr.vbs /rearm This resets the licensing stats of the Windows OS. A reboot is generally needed for completion.

Verify your computers Office Suite current activation status:

  1. From an administrator-elevated command prompt, go to the C:\Program Files x86\Microsoft Office\Office XX.
  2. Type “cscript ospp.vbs /dstatus to obtain the current license information.

Other most-used commands include:

cscript ospp.vbs /? Provides a list of all the activation options for the tool.

cscript ospp.vbs /remhst Removes the KMS host name assigned to the computer.

cscript ospp.vbs /act Activate the Office Suite using the current values (will query DNS if the Office Suite has never been activated)

cscript ospp.vbs /rearm This resets the licensing status on all Office product keys. A reboot may be needed for completion.

Helpful links and web articles:▸

Understanding the Key Management Service (KMS):

Understanding MAK Activation:

How to troubleshoot the Key Management Service (KMS):

KMS Activation Timing and Discovery for Volume Activation:

KMS Client Setup Keys:

Helpdesk Requests:

DCA Support: