Windows 7, just as its precursor, Windows Vista, comes with different activation options for end users and for business customers. The plain vanilla activation process offered for retail or OEM versions of the operating system, with a single product key per license, doesn't meet the requirements of corporate infrastructures, where multiple copies of Windows 7 need to be activated and managed. This is where Microsoft Volume Activation comes in, with its two technologies, Key Management Service (KMS) and Multiple Activation Key (MAK). The Redmond company has published the Volume
Activation Deployment Guide for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 on TechNet
, offering examples of Windows 7 KMS Client Setup Keys (included at the bottom of this article), in addition to a detailed insight into Volume Activation.
At the bottom of this article you will be able to find an embedded video focused on what exactly Microsoft brought to the table in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in terms of Volume activation compared to older releases of Windows. The video features Ram Rathnam, the director for product marketing for Windows activation, and Kalpesh Patel, Microsoft lead program manager on activation.
“KMS activation works with minimal administrative intervention. If the network environment has Dynamic Domain Name System (DDNS) and allows computers to publish services automatically, deploying a KMS host can require very little effort. If the organization has more than one KMS host or the network does not support DDNS, additional configuration tasks may be necessary,” Microsoft explained.
By contrast, “MAK activation is used for one-time activation through Microsoft’s hosted activation services, with no renewals required. A MAK key can be installed on a reference image of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to make all installations from that image use MAK activation instead of the default KMS activation. Doing so alleviates the need to specify a MAK in an unattended installation file,” Microsoft added.