Microsoft Key Management Service (KMS) [GWDG (2023)

Table of Contents

  • Microsoft Key Management Service (KMS)

    • Products for KMS activation

    • Installation media

    • How KMS works

    • Activation when installing

    • Manual KMS activation

      • Activation of Windows OS

      • Activation of Microsoft Office 2016, 2019 and 2021

        (Video) How to activate office 2016 [MICROSOFT KEY MANAGEMENT SERVICE (KMS)]
    • Changing the activation from MAK to KMS

      • Changing the operating system activation

      • Changing Microsoft Office activation

        • Changing Microsoft Office 2016, 2019 and 2021 activation

      • Frequent errors

After the installation of a Microsoft software product, the software has to be activated. In the past, the software activation had to be done directly by Microsoft by entering a so called “Multiple Activation Key” (MAK). This activation can also be done by the GWDG's KMS server for every computer of the University of Göttingen within the GÖNET. So it is no longer necessary to enter a license key to activate a Microsoft software product.

Products for KMS activation

These Microsoft software products can be activated by our KMS server:

  • Windows 11 Professional, Enterprise and Education

  • Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise, Enterprise LTSC and Education

  • Windows Server 2022

  • Windows Server 2019

  • Windows Server 2016

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  • Windows Server 2012 / 2012 R2

  • Microsoft Office LTSC 2021 for Windows

  • Microsoft Office 2019 for Windows

  • Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows

To make a KMS activation work you have to use an installation medium form Microsoft's Campus or Microsoft Select program. KMS is the default activation process for these installation media. If you do not have such an installation medium, you can download them as an iso image from the network share


You need a GWDG Account to log in.

Detailed instruction

How KMS works

without having to enter a license key, a KMS software product automatically looks for a local KMS server during the installation. The software activates itself for 180 days if a KMS server has been found. Every week the software contacts the KMS server to reset this timespan back to 180 days. When the KMS server can not be reached for 180 days you get a grace period of 30 days. Within this 30 days you get a warning message and you have to reconnect to our KMS server (e.g. by VPN if you are outside the GÖNET). Otherwise the software reduces its features to a minimum until you reconnect to our KMS server.

Activation when installing

The KMS server is found automatically in many cases. Then nothing more needs to be done, especially if a computer is part of an Active Directory Domain. If this does not work, you still can activate your software manually with our KMS server (see below).

Manual KMS activation

After the installation you should complete the steps described below within 30 days if automatic activation does not work. If you already have entered a MAK key please follow the instructions in the chapter “Changing MAK to KMS activation”.

Activation of Windows OS


  1. Log into your computer with an administrator account.

  2. Type into the search field

  3. Click with the right mouse button on cmd.exe and select “Run as Administrator”

  4. Enter
    slmgr /skms This tells your computer the name of our KMS server.

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  5. To complete the activation process enter
    slmgr /ato

Activation of Microsoft Office 2016, 2019 and 2021


  1. Log into your computer with an administrator account.

  2. Type into the search field

  3. Click with the right mouse button on cmd.exe and select “Run as Administrator”

  4. Change to the directory where Microsoft Office is installed.
    If you are running a 32bit Office on a 32bit Windows or an 64bit Office on a 64bit Windows, enter
    cd \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16
    if you are running a 32bit Office on a 64bit Windows, enter
    cd \Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16

  5. Enter
    cscript ospp.vbs / to connect to our KMS server

  6. Finally enter
    cscript ospp.vbs /act to complete the activation process.

Changing the activation from MAK to KMS

If you have already entered a MAK key and want to change to KMS activation, you have to replace the MAK key by a KMS key. This is the default key for every Microsoft software product that has been purchased via a Microsoft volume licensing contract (e.g. MS Campus or MS select).

Changing the operating system activation

To find the correct key for your Microsoft operating system, check the list at

KMS Client Setup Keys.

  1. Log into your computer with an administrator account.

  2. Type into the search field

  3. Click with the right mouse button on cmd.exe and select “Run as Administrator”

  4. Enter this command:
    slmgr /ipk <KMS-Key from Microsoft>
    For Windows 8.1 installations e.g. enter
    slmgr /ipk GCRJD-8NW9H-F2CDX-CCM8D-9D6T9

Now you can activate you Windows installation using our KMs server. If this does not work automatically, please see Manual KMS activation

Changing Microsoft Office activation

If you have activated your Office installation using an MAK key, you can still change to KMS.

For Office 2016, 2019 and 2021 see KMS key for Office 2016, 2019 and 2021

Changing Microsoft Office 2016, 2019 and 2021 activation

  1. Log into your computer with an administrator account.

  2. Type into the search field

  3. Click with the right mouse button on cmd.exe and select “Run as Administrator”

  4. Change to the directory where Microsoft Office is installed.
    If you are running a 32bit Office on a 32bit windows or an 64bit office on a 64bit Windows, enter:
    cd \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16 If you are running a 32bit Office on a 64bit Windows, enter:
    cd \Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16

  5. Enter
    cscript ospp.vbs /inpkey:<KMS-Key from Microsoft>
    e. g.:
    cscript ospp.vbs /inpkey:XQNVK-8JYDB-WJ9W3-YJ8YR-WFG99
    for Office 2016 Professional Plus.

Afterwards Office can be activated with our KMS server. See Manual KMS activation if this does not work automatically.

Frequent errors

For manual activation, you must run the Command-Line Interface (cmd.exe) as administrator. The option Run as administrator is available e.g. on right mouse click.

Error 0xC004F074 (“The Key Management Service (KMS) is unavailable”): In most cases it refers to incorrectly set time or the time zone.

Error 0xC004F035 and 0xC004F059: Especially for computers that were originally acquired with an OEM operating system, in this case the KMS activation is prevented by computer's BIOS. Such BIOS version contains an invalid ACPI_SLIC table. The KMS activation expect here a so-called “Windows marker” and fails if it is corrupted or not found. This error can usually be resolved by a BIOS update.

When the 30 day grace-period has expired, Windows is running in “Reduced Functionality Mode“, only the Internet Explorer can be called. In this case, to perform the KMS activation, enter the path into Internet Explorer:


This will start a command-line interface prompt without administrative rights. To run cmd.exe as administrator, enter the following command:

runas /user:administrator cmd.exe 

At the command prompt with administrative rights, you can continue with manual KMS activation.

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What is Microsoft Key Management Service? ›

The Key Management Service (KMS) is an activation service that allows organizations to activate systems within their own network, eliminating the need for individual computers to connect to Microsoft for product activation.

How do I find my KMS key for Microsoft? ›

You can download the appropriate Office Volume License Pack from the Microsoft Download Center. To get the KMS key, sign in to the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) and download the KMS key for each product and version of Office that you want KMS to activate.

How do I get rid of KMS DNS? ›

Step by Step Guide:
  1. Uninstall the KMS host key first by running the following command: slmgr -upk.
  2. Then, install the default kms key by running the following command: slmgr /ipk [KMS Client Setup Key] ...
  3. Delete the record from the DNS: Open DNS console: ...
  4. The KMS server is uninstalled.
Jun 29, 2010

Can I activate Office 365 with KMS? ›

The Office 365 edition of Office (downloaded from Microsoft) does not use KMS activation. Please DO NOT attempt to follow these instructions if you have the Office 365 edition.

What Microsoft services can I disable? ›

12 Windows 10 Services That Are Safe to Disable
  • Disable Windows Defender. ...
  • Windows Mobile Hotspot Service. ...
  • Print Spooler. ...
  • Fax Service. ...
  • Downloaded Maps Manager. ...
  • Windows 10 Security Center. ...
  • Certificate Propagation Service. ...
  • Universal Telemetry Client (UTC)
Sep 1, 2022

What does KMS mean on Windows 10? ›

KMS (Key Management Service) is one of the methods to activate Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. Activation ensures that the software is obtained from and licensed by Microsoft. KMS is used by volume license customers, usually medium to large businesses, schools, and non-profits.

Where are KMS keys stored? ›

No, only customer managed KMS keys can be stored and managed in an AWS KMS custom key store backed by CloudHSM. AWS managed KMS keys that are created on your behalf by other AWS services to encrypt your data are always generated and stored in the AWS KMS default key store.

What is the default KMS key? ›

A KMS default master key is used by an AWS service such as RDS, EBS, Lambda, Elastic Transcoder, Redshift, SES, SQS, CloudWatch, EFS, S3 or Workspaces when no other key is defined to encrypt a resource for that service. The default key cannot be modified to ensure its availability, durability and security.

What is KMS activation? ›

KMS (Key Management System) allows client computers to automatically activate Microsoft products without user intervention. Current products on the Software Center that allow KMS activation are Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 2016 Professional Plus and Office 2019 Professional Plus.

Is kms malware? ›

Short bio. HackTool. KMS is Malwarebytes' detection name for a Hacktool that allows the user to use Microsoft software illegally.

Should I delete kms? ›

You should delete a KMS key only when you are sure that you don't need to use it anymore. If you are not sure, consider disabling the KMS key instead of deleting it. You can re-enable a disabled KMS key and cancel the scheduled deletion of a KMS key, but you cannot recover a deleted KMS key.

How do I know which KMS server is being used? ›

vbs /dlv” on the server and it should return the name of the KMS Server. Additional options for the slmr. vbs command are located on Microsoft TechNet.

Is KMS activation good? ›

KMS is a legitimate way to activate Windows licenses in client computers, especially en masse (volume activation). There is even a Microsoft document on creating a KMS activation host. A KMS client connects to a KMS server (the activation host), which contains the host key the client uses for activation.

How long does KMS activation last? ›

KMS activations are valid for 180 days (the activation validity interval). To remain activated, KMS client computers must renew their activation by connecting to the KMS host at least once every 180 days. By default, KMS client computers attempt to renew their activation every seven days.

How do I permanently activate Office 365 for free? ›

  1. Activating your free Office suite via Microsoft. Open the Microsoft Office program of your choice. ...
  2. Step 1: open the Office program. ...
  3. Step 2: choose an account. ...
  4. Step 3: log in to Microsoft 365. ...
  5. Step 4: accept the conditions. ...
  6. Step 5: get started.
Sep 2, 2022

Is it OK to disable non-Microsoft services? ›

Disable startup items and non-Microsoft services

Ensure that you don't disable critical services that are important for your device to work properly. Disabling such services can also get you locked out of your device. Quit all applications.

Should I disable all non-Microsoft services? ›

However, when you disable non-Microsoft services, your chances of messing something up on your computer are greatly reduced. Most of these third-party services don't necessarily need to be enabled. They are usually there to check for updates in the background or something similar.

How do I stop unnecessary Windows services? ›

To turn off services in windows, type: "services. msc" into the search field. Then double-click on the services you want to stop or disable.

What are KMS servers used for? ›

KMS uses a client-server model to active Windows clients and is used for volume activation on your local network. KMS clients connect to a KMS server, called the KMS host, for activation. The KMS clients that a KMS host can activate are dependent on the host key used to activate the KMS host.

How do I know if KMS is installed? ›

On the client machine, from an elevated command prompt, type SLMGR. vbs /dlv. This will give you verbose output of the Software Licensing service. Refer to the "KMS machine name from DNS:" field for the FQDN of the KMS host.

How do I uninstall Microsoft KMS? ›

Then, follow these steps to remove an Office KMS host in your environment:
  1. Open an elevated command prompt.
  2. Run the following command to uninstall Office KMS host product key: ...
  3. Run the following command again to check the status of the Office KMS host:
Jun 28, 2022

Is KMS key a secret? ›

The data key is encrypted under a KMS key and stored in the metadata of the secret. To decrypt the secret, Secrets Manager first decrypts the encrypted data key using the KMS key in AWS KMS.

How do I read a KMS key? ›

To view the keys in your account that you create and manage, in the navigation pane choose Customer managed keys. To view the keys in your account that AWS creates and manages for you, in the navigation pane, choose AWS managed keys. For information about the different types of KMS keys, see AWS KMS keys.

Are KMS keys private? ›

An asymmetric KMS key represents a mathematically related public key and private key pair. You can give the public key to anyone, even if they're not trusted, but the private key must be kept secret. In an asymmetric KMS key, the private key is created in AWS KMS and never leaves AWS KMS unencrypted.

What are the 3 types of KMS keys? ›

AWS KMS supports several types of KMS keys: symmetric encryption keys, symmetric HMAC keys, asymmetric encryption keys, and asymmetric signing keys. KMS keys differ because they contain different cryptographic key material.

How secure is KMS key? ›

7. Secure: AWS KMS uses hardware security modules that have been validated under FIPS 140-2(Federal Information Processing Standard Publication) or are in the process of being validated, to generate and protect keys. Your keys are only used inside these devices and can never leave them unencrypted.

Is KMS activation harmful? ›

Yes… its safe but its depends upon you which windows activator you are using. some time we try to download windows activator from random source and there may be chances of viruses enter in your system. so follow best one. if you found in suspicious execution terminate your process and disconnect from internet.

What is KMS security? ›

AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) is a managed service that makes it easy for you to create and control the cryptographic keys that are used to protect your data. AWS KMS uses hardware security modules (HSM) to protect and validate your AWS KMS keys under the FIPS 140-2 Cryptographic Module Validation Program .

Does KMS require Internet? ›

To activate the system, KMS clients do not need access to the Internet or phone — network access to the KMS server is sufficient.

How do I stop KMS service? ›

In the navigation pane, choose Customer managed keys. Choose the check box for the KMS keys that you want to enable or disable. To enable a KMS key, choose Key actions, Enable. To disable a KMS key, choose Key actions, Disable.

Can you get rid of KMS? ›

Uninstall the KMS host key first by running CMD: Slmgr/upk < activation ID> Then, install the default kms key by running the following command: slmgr /ipk <KMS Client Setup Key> Delete the record from the DNS: The KMS server is uninstalled.

How do I remove key management from my computer? ›

Deleting all keys
  1. From the System Utilities screen, select System Configuration > BIOS/Platform Configuration (RBSU) > Server Security > Secure Boot Settings > Advanced Secure Boot Options > Delete all keys.
  2. Press Enter to delete all keys.
  3. Confirm the deletion.

Does KMS store data key? ›

AWS KMS generates, encrypts, and decrypts data keys. However, AWS KMS does not store, manage, or track your data keys, or perform cryptographic operations with data keys. You must use and manage data keys outside of AWS KMS. For help using the data keys securely, see the AWS Encryption SDK.

How do I remove key management? ›

  1. From the navigation pane, go to Manage > Security. The Security page appears.
  2. Click the Key management servers tile. ...
  3. In the Actions column for the key management server, click the action button, and then click Delete.
  4. In the Confirm delete dialog box that appears, click Yes.
Nov 7, 2019

Can a KMS server activate itself? ›

The KMS clients find the KMS host via a DNS SRV record (_vlmcs. _tcp) and then automatically attempt to discover and use this service to activate themselves. When in the 30 day Out of Box grace period, they will try to activate every 2 hours. Once activated, the KMS clients will attempt a renewal every 7days.

What ports does KMS use? ›

KMS TCP listening port – By default, the KMS host is listening on port 1688 (TCP). You can change the port if needed using this setting.

Can you activate Windows with KMS? ›

Installing a KMS host key on a computer running Windows Server allows you to activate computers running Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and Windows Vista.

How do I use Office 365 without paying? ›

Anyone can get a one-month free trial of Microsoft 365. However, it does require you to enter a credit card number. And if you don't cancel before the month is up, you'll be charged $100 for a one-year subscription to Microsoft 365 Family (formerly called Office 365 Home).

Can you still use Office 365 if you don't renew? ›

Admins and users no longer have access to the services or Office applications that came with the subscription. All customer data—from user data to documents and email—is permanently deleted and is unrecoverable. At this point, you can't reactivate the subscription.

Can I use Office 365 without paying? ›

Microsoft 365 for the web is a free version of Microsoft 365 that you can use in a web browser. All you need is to sign up for a Microsoft account with a new or existing email address. Try the Office for the web apps.

Can I disable Microsoft Management Console? ›

Expand User Configuration, and then expand Administrative Templates. Expand Windows Components, and then click Microsoft Management Console. Double-click Restricted/Permitted snap-ins, and then disable the setting for the MMC snap-in that you want to disable.

Can I delete Microsoft Management Console? ›

Stop Management Console. Start Installation Manager from the Windows Start menu. You must run Installation Manager on the Windows server or workstation that Management Console is installed on. In the Installation Manager interface, click Uninstall.

Why is my MS Office asking for a product key? ›

This can happen if you don't uninstall the pre-installed version of Office on your new PC before installing a volume license version of Office. To stop the prompts for activation, make sure your Office uses volume licensing and then update the registry.

Can I stop Microsoft Office Click to Run service? ›

Right-click on it and select the “Properties” option. Stay on the General tab. Under Startup type, select the “Disabled” option. Doing this prevents the Click-to-Run service from running when you start your computer.

How do I stop Microsoft spying? ›

How to protect your privacy from Microsoft
  1. Head to Settings by pressing the Windows key + I shortcut. ...
  2. In the Settings menu, click on Privacy & security.
  3. From there, scroll down to the App permissions section and select Location.
  4. Toggle off the Location services tab to turn off the location tracking of your PC.
Oct 24, 2022

Is it okay to disable non Microsoft services? ›

Disable startup items and non-Microsoft services

Ensure that you don't disable critical services that are important for your device to work properly. Disabling such services can also get you locked out of your device. Quit all applications.

How do I stop Microsoft from managing devices? ›

If you are using Windows 10 or if you can see this signed in email account under Windows 10 Settings > Accounts > Access work or school option, please select that signed in account and click on “Disconnect” account. It will not manage your email account on that device. After that, sign in again on Teams application.

What happens if I delete Microsoft Office Installer? ›

Tip: Uninstalling Microsoft 365 only removes the Microsoft 365 applications from your computer, it doesn't remove any files, documents, or workbooks you created using the apps.

Is it OK to delete Microsoft Installer package? ›

Rest assured, application installers, and update installers are no longer required after the installation, you can safely delete those, that will have no affect on your system, you so not need to worry about that . . . Power to the Developer!

How to activate Microsoft Office for free without product key? ›

Step 1: Go to or Step 2: Sign in with your Microsoft account, or create one if you don't have one. Be sure to remember this account so that you can install or reinstall Office later, without a product key.

Is my Microsoft Office product key stored on my computer? ›

Find from system registry: The Office serial key is stored on the hard drive where you install Office program. You can find it from the registry, but you can't read it normally, because it is encrypted with binary code.

How do I know if my Office product key has been used? ›

Did you redeemed the product key and associate to a Microsoft Account? You can go to to redeem. Them go to to check if it was already associated with a Microsoft Account.

What happens if I disable Microsoft Office Click to Run? ›

Note: After Disabling the office click to run service, Your MS Office version will no longer be updated automatically to the latest features and security patches. You have to manually check for updates through Microsoft Update.

How do I stop Microsoft Office from running in the background? ›

Stop most apps from running in the background
  1. Select Start , then select Settings > Privacy > Background apps.
  2. Under Background Apps, make sure Let apps run in the background is turned Off.

Why is Microsoft Click to Run running? ›

Click-to-Run is a feature that allows Microsoft products, including Office 2010, Office 2013 and Office 365, to be installed quickly. Traditional software downloads require a complete (and sometimes lengthy) download before the product can be unpackaged, installed and used on an endpoint computer.

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