Windows Download and Activation

Updated 16 Dec 2020 -- Mike Gore - 2020-05-28

Campus Version of Windows 10 activation

  • Can be used on university-owned computers only
  • Requires that all clients be connected to the University in order to activate
    • Must also connect at least TWICE a year to stay activated
    • VPN resources for remote users
      • vpn.cs.uwaterloo.ca
      • vpn.uwaterloo.ca
  • Summary: all the ISO images we download from IST or Microsoft must be configured to activate via a KMS servers (discovered by DNS lookups)
  • The windows client will hopefully find the IST license server and activate - if not follow these notes

Where to Get Windows 10

Note: when working remotely from the University you MUST be connected with a VPN to the Campus to be able to activate - and - must connect at least twice a year to stay activated
  • VPN resources: vpn.uwaterloo.ca or cs.vpn.uwaterloo.ca
  • Download via Microsoft
    • https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10
      • The Windows 10 download program can create a USB key image or ISO - but it requires a Windows 10 computer running using any version of Windows 10
        • Note: Program will ask if you want the image optimized for the current machine - say NO unless you are targeting the same computer
    • You must activate Windows 10 against the campus KMS server using the publicly available KMS server activation KEY
      • The KEY just tells Windows to look for any KMS server willing to activate Windows and is not sensitive
      • To find a list of the published keys (these are publicly available from Microsoft) consult the Microsoft document here
  • Download via IST Web Store

Activation

Summary Method

  • Activating Windows 10
    1. ) Open an elevated command prompt
      • Search: "command" -> right click on "command prompt" -> Run as Administrator
    2. ) c:\windows\system32\cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /ipk NW6C2-QMPVW-D7KKK-3GKT6-VCFB2
      • Sets Windows to activate against a License Server - this key is published by Microsoft (ie public) and is the same for all license sever activation's everywhere
    3. ) c:\windows\system32\cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /skms officelic.uwaterloo.ca
      • Tells Windows who to talk to
    4. ) c:\windows\system32\cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /ato
      • Activates

Basic Testing

  1. ) slmgr.vbs -dli (will display the current activation state - and the last 5 digits of the KEY )
  2. ) nslookup -type=srv _vlmcs._tcp (will show you if it knows about the Campus KMS servers )
    • ( This should return three licensing servers from IST - if not try the commands below)

Checking if a client can find any KMS servers

  • nslookup -type=srv _vlmcs._tcp

Activation Detail

Key type Terminology

  • Note: KEY type controls the activation process - be sure you know WHICH key is in effect - see Testing below
  • KMS = Key Managment Server: controls license ( For the University IST runs several of these )
  • Notes:
    1. ) To use KMS client MUST be able to connect to a KMS server it lease TWICE A YEAR - otherwise use MAK KEY!
      • KMS lookup via DNS is DEFAULT on ALL Microsoft Windows Educational images - it is NOT hard coded

      • This process can FAIL if the client can NOT automatically find the IST license servers via DNS lookups * If KMS fails it will ask a license key - this is likely because of not seeing the KMS - see Testing below * All KMS client keys are all PUBLIC since activation status is done on the KMS server NOT on the client * KMS key list: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/kmsclientkeys
    1. ) Our Campus Windows 10 Educational public KMS key is: NW6C2-QMPVW-D7KKK-3GKT6-VCFB2
      • Sets Windows to activate against a License Server - this key is published by Microsoft (ie public) and is the same for all license severs everywhere*
      • MAK = Multiple Access Key: controls license ( Used rairly at the university - may be need for some laptop installs only )
        • * MAK keys are PRIVATE for the Campus use only *
        • Link to Key access restricted Windows 10 Educational private MAK key for University of Waterloo )

Manually specifying KMS or MAK key activation (KMS is default):

  • KMS is default a computer must be able to connect to KMS twice a year to work otherwise use MAK laptops
    • Open an elevated command prompt
    • For KMS run: slmgr.vbs /ipk NW6C2-QMPVW-D7KKK-3GKT6-VCFB2 ( Windows 10 Educational public KMS key )
      • * Note: You only need this if you have previously specified another KEY type - otherwise it is default
    • For MAK run: slmgr.vbs /ipk Link to Key access restricted Windows 10 Educational private MAK key for University of Waterloo )
      • * Changes to MAK key activation

Testing

  1. ) Open an elevated command prompt
  2. ) slmgr.vbs -dli (will display the current activation state - and the last 5 digits of the KEY )
  3. ) nslookup -type=srv _vlmcs._tcp (will show you if it knows about the Campus KMS servers )
    • ( This should return three licensing servers from IST - if not try the commands below)
    • If the FAILS try MANUALLY specifying the KMS - see next section before manually activating
  4. ) Try manually activating: * Open an elevated command prompt
    • run: C:\Windows\System32\cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /ato
      • If this FAILS check the status by running: slmgr.vbs -dli * ( question: Do you have the right key type for the activation you are attempting ??? - check last 5 digits of the KEY )

Manually specifying the KMS server: - If a client does NOT auto-discover

  1. ) Open an elevated command prompt
  2. ) c:\windows\system32\cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /skms officelic.uwaterloo.ca
    • (or slmgr.vbs -skms officelic.uwaterloo.ca[:1688] where *:1688 *is optional and either / or - work as option character ))
  3. ) Repeat testing steps
  4. ) If client STILL FAILS to activate
    • in elevated command prompt
      • run: cd \Windows\system32\drivers\etc * run: notepad hosts ( and add the following lines )
                 129.97.128.170   licsrv4  #PRE
                 129.97.128.166   licsrv5  #PRE
                 
        * run command: copy hosts lmhosts * reboot and retest

Windows UPDATES - optional setup with IST servers

  • We all should use IST WSUS servers for windows updates
    • - normally when a host is joined to the CS-GENERAL domain this is done automatically but NOT for stand alone machines

  • Peter Sechepers gave me these notes:
          reg.exe add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate /v WUServer /t REG_SZ /d "https://wsus.uwaterloo.ca" /f>NUL
          reg.exe add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate /v WUStatusServer /t REG_SZ /d "https://wsus.uwaterloo.ca" /f>NUL
          reg.exe add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU /v NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f>NUL
          reg.exe add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU /v UseWUServer /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f>NUL
          reg.exe add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU /v RescheduleWaitTime /t REG_DWORD /d 5 /f>NUL
          reg.exe add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU /v NoAutoUpdate /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f>NUL
          reg.exe add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU /v AUOptions /t REG_DWORD /d 4 /f>NUL
          reg.exe add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU /v ScheduledInstallDay /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f>NUL
          reg.exe add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU /v ScheduledInstallTime /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f>NUL 
       
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Topic revision: r5 - 2021-01-05 - MikeGore
 
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