Some days ago, I introduced KMS (Key Management Service) as one option to activate Vista in a corporate environment. Today, I'll summarize the most important facts about MAK (Multiple Activation Key), the second option.
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- You can use the MAK to activate as many Vista machines as you have licensed.
- The MAK key can only be used for volume editions of Vista.
- Usually, every organization gets one MAK from Microsoft.
Ways to deploy the MAK
- Use autounattend.xml for installation with DVD or unattend.xml for network share installations or imageunattend.xml for WDS installations.
- If you use ImageX to clone Vista, you can specify the MAK on your reference computer before imaging.
- You can also specify the MAK after the installation manually via Control Panel, using slmgr.vbs in a logon script (slmgr.vbs -ipk <MAK>), or with the VAMT (Volume Activation Management tool). (I'll have a closer look at the latter. soon.)
Ways to activate Vista using MAK
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- By phone. If you your network doesn't have an internet connection you have no other choice.
- By using a direct internet connection to Microsoft. You can do that manually using the Control Panel or by using the command slmgr.vbs –ato in a script
- Work with MAK Independent Activation using VAMT. (More about this soon,)
- By using a MAK Proxy Activation. The Vista machines will connect to your MAK proxy which will contact Microsoft's activation server over the internet on their behalf. You also need VAMT for this.
Have you already decided whether to use MAK or KMS? If so, please let me know about your choice and your reasons. I am thinking of writing another post regarding the advantages and disadvantages of using MAK or KMS.