Troubleshooting Windows volume activation

Product activation is the process of validating software after it's installed on a specific computer. Activation confirms that the product is genuine (not a fraudulent copy) and that the product key or serial number is valid and has not been compromised or revoked. Activation also establishes a link or relationship between the product key and the installation.

Volume activation is the process of activating volume-licensed products. To become a volume licensing customer, an organization must set up a volume licensing agreement with Microsoft. Microsoft offers customized volume licensing programs that accommodate the organization's size and purchasing preference. For more information, see the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center.

The Windows Server 2016 Activation Guide focuses on the Key Management Service (KMS) activation technology. This section addresses common issues and provides troubleshooting guidelines for KMS and several other volume activation technologies.

Best practices for volume activation

The following articles provide technical information and best practices for Microsoft's volume activation technologies.

Key Management Service (KMS)

Active Directory-based activation (ADBA)

Multiple Activation Key (MAK) activation

Subscription activation

Resources for troubleshooting activation issues

The following articles provide guidelines and information about tools for troubleshooting volume activation issues:

The following articles provide guidance for addressing more specific activation issues: