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Using KMS Manually to Activate Software

This article applies to: Software Licensing


This page is intended for technical support providers and network administrators. If you're not one of those, you should talk to your TSP or net admin before proceeding. The concept behind the procedure on this page is explained on our main KMS page.

This page describes how to manually activate products. With this method, you'll need to run commands on each machine - and for each software package - during the 30 day grace period after installation. If you are using virtual machines for testing and cross-compatibility on Macintosh computers, you'll need to use the manual method in those circumstances.

KMS activation can be blocked by a firewall. Please be sure that any firewalls between the client machine and the KMS server are open to incoming and outgoing traffic on TCP port 1688.

To use this method, first install the software (Windows or Microsoft Office). As part of that process you'll be informed that you have 30 days to activate the product. Complete the steps below during that 30-day period.

This method assumes that Windows or Office has never been activated on this machine before. If your machine had previously been activated with the earlier MAK activation method, please instead follow the instructions to switch from MAK to KMS activation.

Activate a Windows Operating System (All Supported Versions)

  1. Open an Elevated Command Prompt window. For instructions, please see our guide How To Open an Elevated Command Prompt.
  2. In the elevated Command Prompt window, verify that the current directory is C:\Windows\System32. If it is not, type
    CD \Windows\System32
    and press Enter.
  3. Type the following command:
    cscript slmgr.vbs /skms kms01.cit.cornell.edu
    and press Enter.
    (Note: The url in the command above begins with kay-emm-ess-zero-one.)
  4. Type the following command:
    cscript slmgr.vbs /ato
    and press Enter.
  5. Close the Command Prompt window.

And you're done for that installation of Windows on that computer.

Activate Desktop Edition of Microsoft Office 2016

These instructions only apply to the Desktop (Volume-Licensed) Edition of Microsoft Office, which is distributed as a disk image via CU Software Licensing. The Office 365 edition of Office (downloaded from Microsoft) does not use KMS activation. Please DO NOT attempt to follow these instructions if you have the Office 365 edition.
  1. Open an Elevated Command Prompt window. For instructions, please see our guide How To Open an Elevated Command Prompt.
  2. Type 
    CD \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16
    then press Enter.
    This assumes you installed Office in the default location.
    Note: If you installed the 32-bit version of Office on a 64-bit system, use this command instead:
    CD \Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16
  3. Type
    cscript ospp.vbs /sethst:kms01.cit.cornell.edu
    ​​​​​​​then press Enter.  (Note: The url in the command above begins with kay-emm-ess-zero-one.)
  4. Type
    cscript ospp.vbs /act
    then press Enter.
  5. Close the command prompt window.

And you're done for that installation of Office on that computer.

About this Article

Last updated: 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 - 6:49am

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