Not all Windows servers have a connection to the internet. To activate these offline Windows servers, we must perform an offline activation using the Windows Product Activation Center with a smartphone.

Before we get started, I'll be performing the offline activation on a Windows Server 2016 machine. The process may be different for activating the license for any other version of Windows Server.

To perform an offline activation, I'll open up PowerShell as administrator on the Windows Server to activate and use the command slui 4. This should give us a particular screen that asks us to select our country or region. Once we add this, it should provide us with a toll-free number and our product installation ID. This installation ID is going to be between six and seven characters long, and as you can see here, ours is going to be seven.

The Installation ID

The Installation ID

We'll dial the 800 number, provide my information, and receive a text message with the special activation link. On my smartphone browser, I'll see a screen that asks how many digits are in the installation ID. In our case, we're going to choose seven numbers.

Smartphone installation ID question

Smartphone installation ID question

It'll take us to another page where we'll enter nine fields of these seven digits as you see them on the screen. So we'll go ahead, and I'll type these in on my phone.

Confirmation code

Confirmation code

If you don't enter in these numbers precisely, the process will fail. Once I've registered all the numbers, I'll go ahead and hit the Submit button on my smartphone, and if all goes well, it should tell me, "Hey, here's another number for you to enter," which will be the confirmation ID.

Sometimes, it'll ask you how many computers the software's installed on. As long there's a proper key, I've never run into an issue where this actually would cause me to have problems. But I'm going to say I've got this installed on one machine right now. I believe the key that we're using is a volume license key.

Let's go ahead and get our confirmation ID, so now we can click on the next screen, and I can type in the confirmation ID.

Entering the confirmation ID

Entering the confirmation ID

Once I've input the confirmation ID, it'll then hopefully prompt me with a screen letting me know I was successful. If I get the "Thanks, you're all done" message, I'm successful!

At this point, you will no longer see the "Windows is not activated" message in the bottom-right corner. You'll also find in Server Manager that "Windows is now activated." You're all done!

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Fortunately, most Windows Servers won't need to be activated offline due to the additional steps required, but if you do run across this scenario, you should now have the know-how to get it done.

  1. Wirus 3 years ago

    You can open the link on PC and it will work perfectly. I added the first link to my bookmarks, and I use it to activate windowses withouth calling MS. Works fine. 

  2. John Williams 12 months ago

    When I tried to refresh my Activation link on 05/26/21, the smart phone option was no longer available. The phone activation wend directly to asking for the Product Id.

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