Converting KMS Clients to MAK Activation

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 install automatically as KMS clients. To convert a KMS client to MAK activation, install a MAK. A MAK can be installed during or any time after operating system installation.

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.

Installing a MAK During Operating System Installation

Administrators can convert a KMS client to a MAK client during the initial installation of Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 by including a MAK in an unattended setup (Unattend.xml) file. The Unattend.xml file can be used with Setup.exe or Windows Deployment Services. For more information, see the Unattended Windows Setup Reference help file in the Windows AIK at For a sample unattended installation file, see “Appendix B: Sample Unattended Installation File.”

Note   The MAK is stored in clear text in the Unattend.xml file. During an unattended installation, the file Unattend.xml or AutoUnattend.xml is copied to the %SystemRoot%\Panther folder of the target computer. However, at the end of the Setup process, the Setup program replaces it with “SENSITIVE*DATA*DELETED.”

Installing a MAK After Operating System Installation

A volume edition of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 can be configured to use MAK activation by using the Control Panel System item or by running the Slmgr.vbs script:

  • To install a MAK by using the System application, click the Change your product key link, and then type the MAK in the Change your product key for activation dialog box.

  • To install a MAK by using Slmgr.vbs, run the following command at a command prompt:

    slmgr.vbs /ipk <MultipleActivationKey>

    where MultipleActivationKey is the MAK.

    If users install a MAK by using the UI, the MAK client attempts to activate itself over the Internet one time. If the users install a MAK key by using the Slmgr.vbs script, the MAK client does not try to activate automatically.

Disabling Automatic Activation

To disable automatic activation on any MAK client, set the DWORD registry value Manual to 1. This value is in the registry subkey HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SoftwareProtectionPlatform\Activation.