Microsoft Key Management

Microsoft Key Management provides a way to activate volume license editions of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. It is designed to allow Volume Licensing customers to automate the activation process in a way that is transparent to end users. Volume Activation applies to systems that are covered under a Volume Licensing program.

Only Desktop Support and IT techs can use Microsoft Key Management by submitting the Microsoft Product Request form.

How Microsoft Key Management (KMS) Works

When a supported version of Windows or Office is installed, the computer will attempt to discover the KMS Server on the network.This is accomplished by checking for an SRV record in the DNS Zone of the computer. If that record is present, the computer will contact the KMS server and automatically activate the license. KMS activations are valid for 180 days. The computer will periodically check in with the KMS server to renew the computer’s activation.

Wired Connection Required

The initial KMS activation process requires network connectivity to the campus network through a wired connection. Computers must also connect to the campus network at least once every 180 days to re-activate.

Alternate Activation Method

KMS is not a suitable activation method for computers that do not have network access or do not connect to the campus network at least once every 180 days. In these cases, there is an alternate activation method, Multiple Activation Key (MAK).

Set Up Automatic Discovery

For automatic discovery to work, the KMS SRV record must be present in the DNS zone of the computer. For example:

  • A computer with the DNS address would check the zone
  • A computer with the DNS address would check the zone

Determine if Required Record Present in a Domain

Follow these steps:

  1. Run this command using command prompt for windows:
    nslookup -type=srv _vlmcs._tcp
  2. If the correct record is present, you should see something like this: SRV service location:
    priority = 0
    weight = 100
    port = 1688
    svr hostname =
  3. If this test fails, you will need to have the following DNS record added to the DNS zone:
    _vlmcs._tcp.<domain>. 3600 IN SRV 0 100 1688

Note: Replace the <domain> with your domain such as

Activate KMS Manually

In cases where automatic discovery doesn’t work, Windows and/or Office can be manually pointed to the KMS server.

Manual Windows Activation

  1. Open a command prompt with elevation (Right click and run as administrator)
  2. Run the following command to point Windows to the KMS server:
    cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs
  3. Run the following command to activate Windows:
    cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ato

Manual Office Activation

To manually activate Office, use the following steps:

  1. Open a command prompt with elevation
  2. Navigate to the Office installation folder using the cd command. These are the typical folder locations:
    Office 2010 32-bit: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14
    Office 2010 64-bit: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14
    Office 2013 32-bit: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15
    Office 2013 64-bit: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15
    Example: cd C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15
  3. Run the following command to point Office to the KMS server:
    cscript ospp.vbs /
  4. Run the following command to activate Office:
    cscript ospp.vbs /act

Problem Solving Steps

If you are experiencing difficulties with the KMS activation process, follow these steps to troubleshoot and get help.

1. Is your computer’s time correct?

Yes: Good. Proceed to step #2
No: Since the KMS relies on your computer’s time, it must match what is set on the KMS. Proceed to step #2

2. Can you ping

Yes: Good; proceed to step #3
No: This mostly likely means that you are not on the SJSU network. This isn’t always the case as some network administrators have disallowed ping. Proceed to step #3

3. Are you connected to a supported campus network area?

Yes: The following areas are supported in KMS:

  • All wired academic/administration buildings
  • 4th Street
  • South Campus
  • King Library
  • Student Housing Network

No: The following network areas are not supported in KMS:

  • Housing Administration
  • Campus Wi-Fi
  • Other network outside of SJSU


Open a Help Ticket or submit the Microsoft Product Request.