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Key Management Service

Activating Microsoft Products via KMS

The following activation information applies to:

  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows 8.1 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Microsoft Office 2010 Enterprise
  • Microsoft Office 2013 Enterprise

Activating Windows Products

Once you have installed the Microsoft product on your departmental computer, you'll need to activate your license using the university's Key Management Service (KMS). If you are on the university network (wired or 'utexas' wireless network), this should happen automatically. If you are not directly connected to the UT Austin Network, you will need to connect to the UT Austin Network by VPN once every 180 days.

Verifying Activation

To check the activation status of Windows operating systems:

  1. Click on the Start Menu icon. In the search field, search for and open Activate Windows.

  2. In the Windows Activation window, make sure it says "Windows is activated."

Note: If you see "X days to activate. Activate Window now," select the link to open the activation wizard, then follow the steps to activate your license.

Once activated, the operating system will regularly check in with the university's KMS server to keep activation up-to-date.

If you do not activate your Windows operating system immediately, the software will attempt to contact the Key Management Service (KMS) every few days to activate itself. After 30 days, Windows stops trying to contact the KMS, but notifies you each time you turn your computer on that the license needs to be activated. If you still have not activated the license after 210 days, some functionality — including Aero, Windows-ready boost (USB memory), and optional updates (critical updates will still be allowed) — will stop working until the license is activated. In addition, you will only be able to use the product for one hour at a time. After 240 days, all of the operating system's functionality, except Notepad, will stop working until the license is activated.

Note: If you have questions about activating any of the listed applications using the KMS, please address them to

Last updated March 16, 2015 @ 8:40 am

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