Activating windows server 2016

In this article we’ll consider the procedure of deployment and configuration of a corporate KMS server able to activate new Microsoft server platform Windows Server 2016. All major peculiarities of KMS activation described in the article FAQ on KMS Activation are fully applicable to Windows Server 2016 as well.

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Windows Server 2016 can itself be a KMS activation server (KMS host) if it has a configured Volume Activation Services role, or be activated on another KMS server (there are some additional requirements).

KMS Server Installation on Windows Server 2016

If there is no KMS server in your domain, the Volume Activation Services role implementing the feature of KMS activation can be installed on Windows Server 2016. We won’t consider the installation and configuration of the role in detail, since it is the same as it is in Windows Server 2012 R2 (Installation of KMS Server on Windows Server 2012 R2).

It’s enough to install Volume Activation Services role. You can do it either in Server Manager or PowerShell (faster and easier):

Install-WindowsFeature -Name VolumeActivation -IncludeAllSubFeature –IncludeManagementTools


Note. In my case when trying to configure Volume Activation Services role using the graphic wizard, the error “vmw.exe has stopped working” appeared. I couldn’t find a way to avoid it, so further configuration was performed in the command prompt.

Updating Current KMS Server to Support Windows Server 2016 Activation

If you already have a KMS server deployed in your enterprise and running one of the earlier Windows versions, you don’t need to deploy new Server 2016 with the KMS server role. You can upgrade the current server to support KMS activation of Server 2016.

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If your KMS server is running Windows Server 2012, install two updates following the links in these KBs:

If your KMS host is deployed on Windows Server 2012 R2, install the updates from the following KBs:


There are no updates for KMS role on Windows Server 2008R2. So you won’t be able to use KMS in Windows Server 2008 R2 to activate Windows Server 2016 or Windows 10 Enterprise 2016 LTSB.

KMS Server Activation Using CSVLK

After installation or update of your KMS server, activate it with CSVLK (so called KMS Host Key). You can get this key on Microsoft Volume License (VLSC) website. The key you need is called Windows Srv 2016 DataCtr/Std KMS and is located in License -> Relationship Summary -> Product Keys.

Then install the key using this command:

cscript.exe %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /ipk

and activate your KMS server

cscript.exe %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /ato

If you system is autonomous, you can activate your KMS server by phone. First, get the Installation ID

cscript.exe %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /dtiAnd call Microsoft Activation Center in your country (there is a list of phone numbers in %windir%\System32\SPPUI\Phone.inf) and get your confirmation ID


Apply the code:cscript.exe %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /atp

You can make sure that KMS server activation has been successful using the command:

cscript.exe %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /dlv


If the KMS host activation has been successful, you will see the values VOLUME_KMS_WS16 channel and License Status: Licensed.

Windows Server 2016 Activation Using KMS Server

After the activation, KMS server can activate computers running Windows Server 2016. To activate a client, it should have a special public KMS installation key (shown below).

You can enter the installation key as follows:

cscript.exe %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /ipk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxxSpecify KMS server address (not required if the domain already has a DNS record SRV (_VLMCS) by which the client can find the KMS server)

cscript.exe %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /skms activate the OS:

cscript.exe %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /ato

Public KMS Keys for Windows Server 2016

The list of public KMS keys for different Windows Server 2016 editions is shown in the table below:

OS EditionKMS Key
Windows Server 2016 DatacenterCB7KF-BWN84-R7R2Y-793K2-8XDDG
Windows Server 2016 StandardWC2BQ-8NRM3-FDDYY-2BFGV-KHKQY
Windows Server 2016 EssentialsJCKRF-N37P4-C2D82-9YXRT-4M63B

Activation of Windows Server 2016 Using Active Directory Based Activation

Like Windows 2012, Windows Server 2016 supports automatic activation in the domain using AD — Active Directory Based Activation (ADBA). As earlier, Volume Activation Services has to be configured for successful activation.