Microsoft includes product activation technology in some products sold through the Volume Licensing channel. A product key is required to activate these products. Activation is the process by which your Windows device is licensed and considered genuine. Activation helps verify that your copy of Windows is genuine and hasn’t been used on more devices than the Microsoft Software License Terms permits. See the following guide on how to find your Windows 10 Product key and how to replace your windows license via the Graphical User Interface (GUI), “check Windows 10 activation status and change your product key“. The Software Licensing Management Tool (
slmgr) commands are used to enable advanced Windows activation tasks (change, uninstall, or install) your product key. See this guide on other methods to find your Windows product key, how to activate DriveLock License on Windows Server, and how to find your Windows 10 Product key.
In this guide, you will learn the differences between KMS and MAK, and the various error code associated with them before showing you the steps I followed in resolving this issue. Here is a related error: Error code 0xC004F211, can’t connect to your organization’s activation service. In order to learn about the how to get the Volume licensing keys, and recent changes and to Volume Activation.
Key Management Service (KMS), like MAK, is an activation method for Microsoft products, including Windows and Office. The KMS server, called ‘KMS host’, is installed on a server in your local network. The KMS clients connect to the KMS host for activation of both Windows and Office. In order to activate clients, the KMS uses a KMS host key.
Multiple Activation Key (MAK): MAK is another activation method for Microsoft products, including Windows and Office. Unlike KMS, MAK activation is used for a one-time activation against Microsoft’s hosted activation services. This means that MAK does not require any server or services within your network.
Summary of error codes
The table below provides troubleshooting information to help you respond to error messages that you may receive when you try to use a Multiple Activation Key (MAK) or the Key Management Service (KMS) to perform Volume Activation on one or more Windows-based computers. More on these error messages can be found here. Here is an updated guide on this issue: How to activate, check activation status and troubleshoot Windows common activation errors [Part 1].
|Error code||Error message||Activation type|
|0x8004FE21||This computer is not running genuine Windows.||MAK|
|0x80070005||Access denied. The requested action requires elevated privileges.||MAK|
|0x8007007b||0x8007007b DNS name does not exist.||KMS client|
|0x80070490||The product key you entered didn’t work. Check the product key and try again, or enter a different one.||MAK|
|0x800706BA||The RPC server is unavailable.||KMS client|
|0x8007232A||DNS server failure.||KMS host|
|0x8007232B||DNS name does not exist.||KMS client|
|0x8007251D||No records found for DNS query.||KMS client|
|0x80092328||DNS name does not exist.||KMS client|
|0xC004B100||The activation server determined that the computer could not be activated.||MAK|
|0xC004C001||The activation server determined the specified product key is invalid||MAK|
|0xC004C003||The activation server determined the specified product key is blocked||MAK|
|0xC004C008||The activation server determined that the specified product key could not be used.||KMS|
|0xC004C020||The activation server reported that the Multiple Activation Key has exceeded its limit.||MAK|
|0xC004C021||The activation server reported that the Multiple Activation Key extension limit has been exceeded.||MAK|
|0xC004F009||The Software Protection Service reported that the grace period expired.||MAK|
|0xC004F00F||The Software Licensing Server reported that the hardware ID binding is beyond level of tolerance.||MAK|
|0xC004F014||The Software Protection Service reported that the product key is not available||MAK|
|0xC004F02C||The Software Protection Service reported that the format for the offline activation data is incorrect.||MAK|
|0xC004F035||The Software Protection Service reported that the computer could not be activated with a Volume license product key.||KMS client|
|0xC004F038||The Software Protection Service reported that the computer could not be activated. The count reported by your Key Management Service (KMS) is insufficient. Please contact your system administrator.||KMS client|
|0xC004F039||The Software Protection Service reported that the computer could not be activated. The Key Management Service (KMS) is not enabled.||KMS client|
|0xC004F041||The Software Protection Service determined that the Key Management Server (KMS) is not activated. KMS needs to be activated.||KMS client|
|0xC004F042||The Software Protection Service determined that the specified Key Management Service (KMS) cannot be used.||KMS client|
|0xC004F050||The Software Protection Service reported that the product key is invalid.||MAK|
|0xC004F051||The Software Protection Service reported that the product key is blocked.||MAK|
|0xC004F064||The Software Protection Service reported that the non-genuine grace period expired.||MAK|
|0xC004F065||The Software Protection Service reported that the application is running within the valid non-genuine period.||MAK|
|0xC004F06C||The Software Protection Service reported that the computer could not be activated. The Key Management Service (KMS) determined that the request timestamp is invalid.||KMS client|
|0xC004F074||The Software Protection Service reported that the computer could not be activated. No Key Management Service (KMS) could be contacted. Please see the Application Event Log for additional information.||KMS client|
Issue (reason for this error “0x8007232B”)
As you can see from the table, the error “0x8007232B” is a DNS-related error that shows that the name does not exist. This means the DNS client cannot find the KMS Server resource records (SRV RRs) in DNS. Here is the workaround guide I have written to help fix the following issue “Failed to run the action install Operating System: Lifetouch deployment failed, Return Code = -2147467259 0x80004005 when installing Windows image via MDT“. The following guide will show you how “how to find your Windows 10 Product key“.
As discussed, due to the DNS issues, even when you click on the
Troubleshoot button in the image above, Windows will still not be activated and the following window below will be displayed. Even when you click on troubleshoot
Before proceeding to show you the steps I followed to resolve this issue, there are other ways to activate your license key such as using a Multiple Activation Key (MAK) instead of KMS. All you need to do is click on the Change product key.
Select Start > Settings > System > Activation . Select Change product key, and then type your 25-character product key. You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.
In order to test for connectivity, you will have to launch the Windows commandPrompt as shown below. Here is a guide on how to use Software Licensing Management Tool (slmgr) to install and uninstall the Windows product key. By default, the KMS host is listening on port 1688 (TCP). You can change the port if needed using this setting.
Kindly verify that the KMS client is pointing to the KMS host by using
slmgr.vbs /skms <kms_host_name>. Below is a command that can be used. As you can see, we have set the Volume Licensing KMS server and the port used for KMS activation in the image below.
cscript.exe %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs -skms techdakms.local:1688
Next, run the following command to activate the Windows License only if you wish to manually resolve the issue. Note: Even when you do not run the command below, upon restart the Windows will be activated.
If these commands resolve the problem, this is most likely a name resolution issue as it is in my case.
cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ato
If none of these commands resolves the problem, check the computer's firewall configuration. Any activation communications that occur between KMS clients and the KMS host use the 1688 TCP port. The firewalls on both the KMS client and the KMS host must allow communication over port 1688.
In order to automate Windows Deployment, right-click on the Task Sequence and select
Properties. Under the OS Info, click on the Edit the Unattended.xml file as shown below.
This will open the Answer File. Under the OOBE System, expand the FirstlogonCommands and added the command in the following order. When you are done, check for errors and save the unattended.xml file. Ensure you update the deployment share again. For comprehensive steps of how this is done, kindly take a look at these steps: Install ADK, MDT, and WDS: How to deploy Windows images via Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and Windows Deployment Services.
cscript.exe %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs -skms techdakms.local:1688 cscript.exe %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs -ato
As you can see below, a new deployment of Windows 11 is run and as you can see, the deployment is still running and windows have been activated already.
It is worth mentioning that the Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant (SaRA) simplifies Windows KMS Activation troubleshooting. Download the diagnostic tool from link. This tool will try to activate Windows. If it returns an activation error code, the tool will display targeted solutions for known error codes.
I hope you found this blog post helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment session.