Following the recent release of the Microsoft Office 2019 final RTM version, corporate customers can initiate their migration to the newest MS Office platform. In this article, we will discuss the basics of MS Office KMS activation (this guide applicable to the volume editions of Office 2019 and 2016, including Project and Visio). This takes place after you have to install and activate the KMS (Key Management Service) host on Windows Server 2019/2016/2012 R2.
A corporate KMS server makes it easy to activate volume editions of Microsoft products (such as Windows and Office) in an internal or isolated enterprise network without the need to provide direct access to Microsoft’s Internet activation servers for clients, and without using phone activation.
Configure a KMS Host Server to Activate MS Office 2019 and 2016
Note. This guide applies only for Office 2019/2016 under volume license excluding Office 365 ProPlus.
Microsoft Office KMS Server Requirements
To activate the Volume License Office version (Project or Visio), you must have a configured KMS host.
Make sure the computer that is going to be used as a KMS server, meets the requirements on the supported Operating System versions:
- MS Office 2019 KMS – Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019;
- Microsoft Office 2016 KMS – additionally supports Windows 7 SP1 (with the KB2757817 installed), and Windows Server 2008 R2 (with the KB2757817).
Office 2016 KMS and Windows KMS service can run on the same server or a workstation with the Volume Activation Services role installed.
First step: find and copy your MS Office 2016 or Office 2019 KMS host key in the personal zone on Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) website.
Install Office Volume License Pack
Second step: download the Volume License Pack for your Office version, and install it on the KMS host server.
The Microsoft Office Volume License Pack is an executable file that installs all the necessary license files on the KMS server to activate specific Office version, including Visio and Project, and recognizes the KMS host key. You must download and install the version of Office Volume License Pack depending on the version of Office you are planning to use, and for which you received the KMS Host Key from the VLSC.
To activate Microsoft Office, you need to install an appropriate Office Volume License Pack, and KMS host key for each MS Office version you want to use (unlike Windows KMS activation, where the newest KMS Host key can activate older versions of Windows).
For example, you can’t activate Office 2013 on a KMS server with only KMS Host key for Office 2019 installed. In this case, you need to install two versions of Volume License Pack and 2 Office KMS Host keys on the KMS server.
You can download the latest Office Volume License Pack using the following links:
You need to run the downloaded file (office2016volumelicensepack_4324-1002_en-us_x86.exe or office2019volumelicensepack_x64.exe) as administrator on your KMS server. These license files allow your KMS host service to recognize KMS Host keys for Office, Project, and Visio. The activation files update script will be launched.
During the installation, the Volume Activation Tool windows will appear. You can choose one of the following activation methods: using the AD (ADBA activation), or with the KMS host.
There are two types of MS Office activation:
- Direct activation with KMS server;
- The Active Directory-Based Activation (ADBA) that requires Active Directory domain with Windows 2012 schema version, and with at least Windows Server 2012 as a domain controller.
MS Office KMS Activation Method
- If you are going to use the direct KMS activation, choose the Key Management service, set your KMS server FQDN name, and install KMS Host Key obtained earlier. You can install the KMS host key later by using the following command:
slmgr -ipk <Office-2019-KMS-Host-Key>)
- Select the activation method by either using a phone or online. During the initial stage, provide a direct Internet connection on your server. Or you should activate your KMS server by phone. To run the Windows phone activation wizard run the command:
- After you activated your Office KMS server, the window with your current KMS configuration will appear;
- There must appear Name:Office 16, VOLUME_KMS_channel or Name:Office 19, Office19KMSHost2019VL_KMS_Host in the list of products with Licensed status;
- Close the Volume Activation Tools. After this Software Protection Service will be restarted with new a configuration.
By default, the Software Protection Service that performs the KMS activation listens on TCP port 1688. You can enable an incoming Windows Firewall rule, that allows clients to access the KMS server using the command:
Enable-NetFirewallRule -Name SPPSVC-In-TCP
In this case, a new SRV _VLMCS._TCP_domainname record is created in your DNS zone, which allows clients to automatically discover your KMS server in the domain. You can find the KMS server in the current Active Directory domain using the nslookup command:
nslookup -type=srv _vlmcs._tcp
Press Enter key in the Volume License Pack Install console.
You can check KMS server connectivity using the PowerShell. Run the following command:
Test-NetConnection your-kms-server-name –Port 1688
In the case of “TcpTestSucceeded: True” response, you can point your computer to this KMS server.
The Active Directory-Based Activation for MS Office 2019/2016
If you want to use Active Directory-Based Activation, you need to choose this option in your Volume Activation Tools wizard (you can use the ADBA activation for the clients running Windows 10/8.1 or Windows Server 2012/2012 R2/2016/2019).
Then you need to specify the KMS host key (CSVLK), and enter display name for a new activation object (optional).
Your remaining task is to activate the KMS host.
After that, close the VAT windows, and press Enter. In order to obtain information only about the Office KMS host key that was installed, you need to execute a script with the specific SKU ID (the corresponding identifier could be seen earlier in the final stage of the Volume Activation Tools utility):
For Office 2016:
slmgr.vbs /dlv 98ebfe73-2084-4c97-932c-c0cd1643bea7
For Office 2019:
slmgr.vbs /dlv 85dd8b5f-eaa4-4af3-a628-cce9e77c9a03
Actually, now you are ready to start activating clients.
Manual KMS Activation of Office 2019/2016 Using Ospp.vbs
In order to activate Office volume copy on the client’s computer, you can use ospp.vbs (Office Client Software License Management Tool) tool. Run these commands in Command Prompt as administrator:
- For Office 2016: CD “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16”
(If you are using 32-bit MS Office version installed on 64-bit Windows, you need use this command:
CD “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16” )
- For Office 2019: CD “c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office19”
(or accordingly: CD “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office19” )
- Specify the KMS server name (in this case, the KMS server address will be stored in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Office\SoftwareProtectionPlatform\KeyManagementServiceName, and you can deploy this REG_SZ parameter via GPO):
cscript ospp.vbs /sethst:kms01.yourdomain.com
- You can change the KMS server listening port on the client using the command (REG_SZ parameter in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Office\SoftwareProtectionPlatform\KeyManagementServicePort):
cscript ospp.vbs /setprt:1688
- Activate your Office copy on the KMS server:
cscript ospp.vbs /act
- You can get the current status of activation using this command:
cscript ospp.vbs /dstatusall
For Office 2016:
License NAME: Office 16, Office16ProPlusVL_KMS_Client edition
License DESCRIPTION: Office 16, VOLUME_KMSCLIENT channel
Product activation successfully
For Office 2019:
License NAME: Office 19, Office19KMSHost2019VL_KMS_Host edition
License DESCRIPTION: Office 19, VOLUME_KMS channel
Product activation successfully
In order to activate your devices with the Office 2019/2016 installed on the KMS server, there must be at least 5 clients’ requests within the last 30 days (activation threshold). If there are not enough activation requests from clients on the KMS server (you did not reach a minimum number of copies to get the licensing working), an error will appear:
ERROR CODE: 0xC004F038
ERROR DESCRIPTION: The Software Licensing Service reported that the product could not be activated. The count reported by your Key Management Service (KMS) is insufficient. Please contact your system administrator.
The activation period is 180 days. The reactivation period is 7 days after which the activation period is being reset back to 180 days. If your computer cannot connect to the KMS server within 180 days, your copy of Office switches to 30-day evaluation mode.
You can display the activation history on the client:
cscript ospp.vbs /dhistorykms
In order to manage Office activation with current user credentials on remote computers, you can use the following command:
cscript ospp.vbs /act remotepc2
If during client activation you are facing an error 0xC004F074, this is a known problem that does not yet have a normal solution except for re-creating KMS on Windows Server 2012 R2, or creating a separate KMS for Office 2016 only.
Office 2019/2016: Generic Volume License Keys for KMS and ADBA Activation
By default, volume licensed versions of Office 2019 and Office 2016 are preinstalled with the Generic Volume License Key (GVLK). GVLK allows the installed Office copy to automatically discover and activate Office on the KMS server by using a special VLSC record in DNS.
Meanwhile, after you installed the KMS host or created ADBA object, the installed MS Office copy on the computer is activating automatically (as long as the computer has a GVLK installed, and the computer is joined to the Active Directory domain). Therefore, the GVLK key is not required usually (they are preinstalled in all Office 2019/2016 volume license products).
Note. You can install Office 2019 only on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016/2019.
Optionally, the Office product key can be changed to KMS from the command prompt (you can use such a command when moving from MAK to KMS channel and vice-versa):
cscript ospp.vbs /inpkey:xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx