13 February 2020

Window 2019 KMS key and VAMT

Was beginning the introduction of Windows Server 2019 to a work environment and ran into some hurdles that were easily cleared, but want to share…

To begin with, you need to have a Volume Licensing agreement with Microsoft. We did and so I jumped into the MS Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) portal to grab our Client Specific Volume License Key (CSLVK) Key Management Service (KMS) key.

The CSLVK KMS key is what gets loaded into the KMS server. It’s basically your volume license key that gets hosted internally. The servers and desktops then use a Generic Volume License Key (GVLK) which let the machine know it needs to find and activate against an internal KMS resource and not go out to activate against Microsoft’s servers.

FWIW – you can find all of the GVLK product keys here – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/kmsclientkeys

Apparently even if you have the Volume Licensing agreement, MS doesn’t automatically issue the CSLVK KMS key to you in your portal. You actually have to call them, verify some info, and have them generate a key for you which will then show up in your portal. The whole process took just under 5 minutes for me, and I was able to verify that I saw the key in my portal while I was still on the phone with MS.

To contact them I called 1-866-230-0560, option 4, option 1. That got me directly in contact with a representative that was able to issue the key. (Note: Menu options may change, I called in February 2020)

Jumping back into my KMS server, i tried to import the key directly into VAMT, also known as the Volume Activation Management Tool. This failed. I tried a couple more times, I even reinstalled the VAMT tool from the ADK toolkit. Nothing worked. Apparently though, I found out that this is a know issue. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/volume-activation/vamt-known-issues

The workaround was to the slmgr.vbs tool. Entering the command below, allowed it to get added successfully. Replacing <CSVLK> with my actual key issued by MS. After entered, you’ll see a pop-up message stating that the key has been successfully added.

slmgr.vbs /ipk <CSVLK>

Once I had added my CSLVK, I was able to jump back into a new Windows Server 2019 virtual machine that I had created and use the slmgr.vbs command below to successfully activate the new virtual machine against my KMS server.

slmgr.vbs /ato

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Posted February 13, 2020 by IT.G.c in category "Microsoft", "Windows 2019


  1. By somethignsomethin on

    Thank you good sir. I spent the past hour trying to figure this out and I had to find this to get the KMS key generated. Stupid that this is a thing. According to the support, “it is to decrease the confusion on what key customers need to use for windows 10”.

    1. By IT.PWWF on

      You’re welcome!
      It was definitely more confusing as it’s total change to the process Microsoft has had in place for years. I know I wasted more time then I want to admit trying to figure it out. Glad I was able to help you out.

  2. By randomitfeller on

    I should’ve found this article sooner, I’m going to try calling Microsoft to generate that CSVLK.

    I’m migrating the KMS services from a 2008 server to a server 2019, we went in to volume licensing center and used the key labeled KMS but did not work via slmgr. I’ve already got volume activation services installed.

    1. By IT.PWWF on

      Yeah, it had thrown me for a loop too. I feel that MS did not do a great job of communicating that change to the masses, thankfully you found my article about it. Happy it was helpful!


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