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Activating Vista after time limit, when needing to use a corporate KMS server RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • A couple of new machines (the first Vista machines at that site) had been set up several weeks ago and I had not had time to get around to activating them.

    The users had not noticed or reported the activation warnings and had just continued to use them until they wouldn't work any more.

    Because the organisation has their own KMS server, it wouldn't be possible to simply go through the only option given, which was to go online to Microsoft to activate.

    The limited mode wouldn't let me run a command prompt with elevated privileges, even in Safe Mode, but another post here revealed a way around this problem, running it from Internet Explorer.

    1) Open Internet Explorer

    2) A Browser will open, type: %windir%\system32 into the address field

    3) Find the file cmd.exe

    4) Right Click on the cmd.exe and select Run as Administrator


    I ignored the rest of his steps, because, having got an elevated privileges command prompt I could do what I wanted to do in the first place, which was the following:


    slmgr -upk

    slmgr -ipk *****-*****-*****-*****-*****  ' (self-censored for obvious reasons)

    slmgr -skms kms.example.com     ' (likewise)

    slmgr -ato


    This step went without a hitch, but I had previously booted from the Windows Vista Enterprise DVD and chosen to use System Restore to restore to a date before the system had been totally disabled, and I had removed the network cable until I was ready to talk to the KMS server. Of course, I was also logged in with the local administrator account and authenticated with the local administrator account, in particular, I typed the account name in the username field in the format as follows theactualmachinename\adminaccountname, which others may not have followed, who were following up that other post claiming it doesn't work.

    Thanks to the Microsoft moderator in that other post for the steps 1 to 4 above, although it would have been nice if  there had been some built-in help to that effect. All of the rest of the Google results I got for this problem were people with hacks to extend the evaluation period, obviously on systems that hadn't already expired.

    For those people not so familiar with the Microsoft / DOS / Windows command line, you can see what the bits after the "slmgr" on the above lines mean by typing in "slmgr /?". (Uninstall the product key, install the correct product key, change the KMS server, and activate.)

    Friday, June 27, 2008 8:58 AM