Download Key Management Service (KMS Host) for Windows Server 2003

Microsoft Key Management Service (KMS) is a part of Microsoft Volume Activation 2.0 which in itself a part of an anti-piracy feature of Software Protection Platform, first used in Windows Vista. KMS server allows corporate and enterprise users to easily manage the activation of Windows machine by using KMS key, and protect the volume license keys. When initially released, KMS host is only able to be setup in Windows Vista computer. Now, companies that do not want to build a Windows Vista server can opt to deploy KMS on a Windows Server 2003 machine.

Microsoft provides downloadable package of Key Management Service for Windows Server 2003 SP1 or later that turns a Windows Server 2003 machine into KMS server. The package supports Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition, Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition and Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition with Service Pack 1 or later. Both 32-bit and 64-bit are supported.

Download Key Management Service (x86) for Windows Server 2003 SP1 and Later
Download Key Management Service (x64) for Windows Server 2003 SP1 and Later

Install the KMS Package

Once downloaded, the KMS package for Windows 2003 Server can be easily installed. Simply double click to launch the Key Management Service for Windows 2003 executable (contained in the zip archive) and accept the License Agreement.

Enable a KMS Host and Activate Online

Unlike KMS in Windows Vista, there is no grace period in KMS on Windows 2003 Server. So, the KMS must be activated online as soon as possible after installation to enable the KMS function.

  1. Ensure your computer is able to connect to the Internet.
  2. Log on to the computer with administrator privileges and launch a command prompt.
  3. Run the following script to install your KMS key:

    cscript C:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /ipk <KMS Key>

  4. Run the following script to activate the KMS host with Microsoft using online activation:

    cscript C:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /ato

  5. If no error was reported, the KMS host is now ready to be used by KMS clients for activation. Additional configuration is optional and will usually not be required. You can confirm your KMS license state and settings by running:

    cscript C:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /dli

Inside the downloaded package, there is also a supplemental guide which contains information on how to activate the KMS offline.

Most of the functions and usage instructions for KMS for Windows Server 2003 are identical to KMS for Windows Vista. The supplemental guide will provide more details on deployment and configuration options available. There are only some minor differences between the two versions of KMS as listed below:

  1. The KMS for Windows Server 2003 service (sppsvc) is installed as a package over the existing operating system. Installation is based on the familiar Software Update Installer and is fast and easy. KMS can be removed using Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel. KMS is built-in in Windows Vista, no extra installation needed.
  2. There is no GUI support for the Windows Server 2003 service. Therefore, all interaction with KMS must be done using the built-in script, slmgr.vbs. Notably, SLUI.exe, which in Windows Vista is the recommended tool to map error codes to descriptive text, is not supported. Since nearly all KMS interactions require the use of the slmgr.vbs script, the lack of a GUI has little impact.
  3. The Windows Vista KMS key is used to activate the KMS host functionality only. This has no affect on the activation or other fuctions of the underlying server operating system. Windows Server 2003 may need to be separately activated. (Volume and OEM versions of Window Server 2003 do not require activation.) It is also important to note that the KMS service for Windows Server 2003 and the corresponding KMS key only support the activation of volume editions of the Windows Vista operating system.
  4. Although both online (Internet) and offline (telephone) activation of the KMS service are supported, offline activation of KMS for Windows Server 2003 can only be done using the slmgr.vbs script.
  5. The Windows 2003 version of KMS will be in the Unlicensed state immediately after it is installed. There is no out-of-box grace period, because the KMS host must be (and remain) activated in order for KMS clients to use it to activate. Once the KMS key has been installed and the KMS host has been activated, the license state will change to Licensed.

[Source: Zdnet]