Update Your KMS Service Key To Activate Windows Server 2012 R2 And Windows 8.1

It’s a great day as Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 bits have gone GA (“General Availability”). So it’s of to the Volume License Servicing Center to get the bits and the keys.


Before we start the roll out we need to either bring up a Windows Server 2012 R2 (or Windows 8.1) KMS host or upgrade the existing one that runs Windows Server 2012 or lower. In this example our KMS Service is running on Windows Server 2008 R2 so we need to do a couple of things.

Install the following update: KB 2885698: Update adds support for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 clients to Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2012 KMS hosts (see Windows Server 2012 R2 & Windows 8.1 KMS Service Activation).  If you don’t install this hotfix registering a Windows Server 2012 R2 KMS key will throw an error:

0xc004f015: The Software Licensing Service reported that the license is not installed.

So grab the hotfix and install it from an elevated command prompt. Just follow the instructions and you’ll be fine Smile


Once you’ve clicked “Yes” the installation will start



When the installation has finished you will be asked to restart the server. You need to do so. Just restarting the KMS service ("net stop sppsvc" and "net start sppsvc") doesn’t seem to suffice.

When your server comes back up you’ll be ready to install and activate the Windows Server 2012 R2 KMS key.

First we take a look at the current situation:

slmgr.vbs /dlv => clearly the Windows 2012 KMS key

Uninstall the current KMS key using slmgr.vbs /upk, please use an elevated command prompt Winking smile


Now you can install the new Windows 2012 R2 KMS key. If you run in to any issues here, restarting the KMS Service can help (("net stop sppsvc" and "net start sppsvc") . Try that first.


Be patient, it’s not instantaneous.


The key listed here is for all you wannabe pirates out there, sorry, this is the navy. If you’re, looking for illegal keys, cracks, keygens, activators or dodgy KMS virtual machine for Windows  8.1 activation and such this is not the place Winking smile.

You now need to activate your brand new KMS key running slmgr.vbs /ato


Show what’s up and running now by running slmgr.vbs /dlv again and as you can see we’re in business to activate all our Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 hosts. I’m happy to report that our users will be enjoying Windows 8.1 on the clients in 2014 & the infrastructure in the data center will be benefiting form the goodness Windows Server 2012 R2 brings.


45 thoughts on “Update Your KMS Service Key To Activate Windows Server 2012 R2 And Windows 8.1

  1. Pingback: Windows Server 2012 R2 & Windows 8.1 KMS Service Activation | Working Hard In IT

  2. I have a question… We have about 200 computers activated on Windows 8 ent and we are looking to start upgrading them to 8.1… We would like to do this in a staggered approach.

    If I change the key to a 8.1 key will that mean that all the win 8 machines will fall out of their activation?



  3. Hello, did you issue these commands on a Windows 2012 server ? I’m running a WIndows Server 2008 R2 KMS server, and after having applied the update, slmgr /dlv, I get “Windows Operating System – Windows Server(R), VOLUME_KMS_R2_B” and not “VOLUME_KMS_2012_B”.
    When I want to install my Win8.1 key (slmgr /ipk), I get an error message

  4. Pingback: Week of October 28: GA of Windows Server/System Center (and getting started) and new RDP clients for iOS, Android, and OSX - Server and Cloud Partner and Customer Solutions Team Blog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs

    • Not strictly needed, no. You can install the new one over the old one. But I have only once had an issue with KMS and that was when remnants of the old key were left and I had to clean it up. So do an uninstall to be thorough before I install the new one.

  5. I was unable to get this to work after installing the listed update. My system told me that the update had already been installed and I was getting a “license is not valid” error when trying to apply the 2012r2 license key. I was able to get it to work after installing the hotfix:


    Hopefully this will help someone else. I banged my head on the desk for 3 hours.


  6. I’ve followed all of the instructions and see the “2012-R2 channel” but now when I try to add a windows 8.1 KMS product key in the VAMT GUI it says the key is invalid.

  7. We want to update our existing KMS Server (Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise incl. SP1) to activate Servers with Windows Server 2012 R2 Enterprise.
    This time we use the KMS Key for Windows Server 2012 Enterprise.
    On this KMS Host, we also provide the KMS Keys for Microsoft Office 2010 and Office 2013.

    Is it necessary to at least install 5 or more Windows Server 2012 R2 that activation is working?

    Another question, if we uninstall the “current” KMS Key using: slmgr.vbs /upk
    do we uninstall the KMS Keys for Microsoft Office 2010 and 2013 as well or does this affect only the current KMS Key for Windows Server?

    • You need > 5 servers for KMS to start activating, don’t need to be W2K12R2
      Specify the KMS key of Windows if you use /upk, if you don’t specify a key, all keys will be uninstalled, including the office key. If that happens, just reinstall it but safe yourself some time by avoiding this.

  8. Thanks for your reply.

    I interpret it that if we have a “working” KMS Hosts (which means more than 5 Servers -> we have about 1200 activated W2K8R2 and WS2012 🙂 – it is not necessary to install at least 5 Servers with Windows Server 2012 R2, right?

    I think you mean “if you use slmgr.vbs /upk … all other KMS Keys will be UNinstalled, including the Office key(s)” – right?

    • That’s it. As long a you have more than 5 Servers (W2K8/WK12 …) that connect the KMS will start activating.

      Indeed, a typo, it’s UNINSTALLED, which I have corrected. Thx.

  9. Can a activateted KMS Server reseting his activation counter? We deploy 25 VMware View Windows 7&8.1 Machines to activate the KMS. The KMS works fine for weeks. Last week we delete 5 of this view machines. After this weekend the activation counter is 20?!

    • Well sure, read http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff793434.aspx

      Activation Count Cache

      To track the activation threshold, the KMS host keeps a record of the KMS client computers that request activation. The KMS host gives each KMS client computer a client machine identification (CMID) designation, and the KMS host saves each CMID in a table. Each activation request remains in the table for 30 days. When a client computer renews its activation, the cached CMID is removed from the table, a new record is created, and the 30-day period begins again. If a KMS client computer does not renew its activation within 30 days, the KMS host removes the corresponding CMID from the table and reduces the activation count by one.

      The KMS host caches twice the number of CMIDs that KMS clients require to help ensure that the CMID count does not drop below the activation threshold. For example, on a network with client computers running Windows 7, the KMS activation threshold is 25, so the KMS host caches the CMIDs of the most recent 50 activations. The KMS activation threshold for Windows Server 2008 R2 is 5. A KMS host that is contacted only by KMS client computers running Windows Server 2008 R2 would cache the 10 most recent CMIDs. If a client computer running Windows 7 later contacts that KMS host, KMS increases the cache size to 50 to accommodate the higher threshold. KMS never reduces the cache size.

  10. Hi,

    My KMS host is also licensing Server 2008 and Windows 7. Will this update and new KMS key activation code deactivate my existing client machines? I’m aware that my Server 2012 and Win 8 clients will be fine but what about the OS’ mentioned above?

  11. Hi I updated my KMS to server 2012 but I still can activate my windows….still same error NO KMS server could be contacted…what to do??help me

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