This article summarizes all important facts about Microsoft Office 2010 KMS activation. Among other things you will learn which software you need, how to activate the KMS host and what things you have to keep mind if you use KMS activation.
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Many admins who still haven’t upgraded to Vista or Windows 7 will first have to deal with volume activation when they deploy Office 2010. Microsoft's documentation about Office 2010 volume activation is quite comprehensive. Today, I will summarize the key facts about Office 2010 KMS activation. In my next post, I will cover MAK activation, and in the last post of this series I will compare Office 2010 KMS and MAK activation.

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Office 2010 KMS activation key facts

  • KMS, which stands for Key Management Service Host, is software for Windows that works as a proxy for Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Office 2010 activation.
  • Office 2010 volume editions are delivered with the KMS client, which doesn't have to be installed. KMS clients will find the KMS host automatically through DNS.
  • When an end user starts Office 2010 (no admin privileges required), the KMS client will contact the KMS host, which will then activate Office 2010 automatically. This means you don't have to enter a product key on the client side.
  • Windows 7 (volume editions) and Windows Server 2008 R2 are delivered with the KMS host that can activate Office 2010.
  • The KMS host for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 can't be used for Office 2010 activation.
  • Make sure that a DNS server that supports SRV records is available and that you have sufficient privileges. More information about KMS DNS configuration can be found here.
  • KMS 1.1 can be downloaded and installed on Windows Server 2003 SP1 or later: 32-bit or 64-bit. After you install KMS 1.1, you have to update to KMS 1.2. You need at least Windows Server 2003 SP2 for that.
  • For all Windows editions, you will need the KMS host license files for Office 2010, which are included in the Office 2010 KMS Host License Pack.
  • Make sure your firewall allows outbound connections for the server where the KMS host runs. The KMS host will contact Microsoft's activation service.
  • You also need the Office 2010 KMS host product key, which you can get at the Volume Licensing Service Center if you purchased Office 2010 licenses. You will also need the Office 2010 activation ID "bfe7a195-4f8f-4f0b-a622-cf13c7d16864."
  • The KMS host has to be activated with these commands:
    slmgr.vbs /ipk <Office 2010 KMS host key>
    slmgr.vbs /ato <Office 2010 activation ID>
  • You will need at least 5 Office 2010 installations before client activation starts (not 25, as for Windows Vista and Windows 7).
  • After installation, Office 2010 will work normally without activation for a grace period of 25 days. After this, users will see notification dialogs whenever they start an Office application. After the 30th day, the title bar will turn red, reminding you that activation has failed. There is no Reduced Functionality Mode like with the retail editions of Office 2010. Thus users can still continue with their work.
  • You can rearm Office 2010 5 times to extend this grace period to 180 days.
  • Every KMS-activated Office 2010 has to renew its activation after 180 days.
  • To verify which Office 2010 clients have been activated, you can use Microsoft's free Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT).
  • Additional reading:
    Configure and deploy volume activation of Office 2010
    Plan for volume activation of Office 2010

In my next post, I will cover Office 2010 MAK activation.

Articles in seriesOffice 2010 activation
  1. Ran 12 years ago

    I have been looking at the Microsoft documentation for an hour now and then I found your post – great work at summarizing and listing the need-to-knows.

    Also just a question: What would happen if I install Office 2010 on a PC before setting up a KMS host? When it prompts for a key can I just put in the KMS key and will this work? What I want to find out is whether it’s absolutely necessary to install a local KMS host or can I still choose to activate with Microsoft from each PC if I have KMS key?

  2. Harold Gale 12 years ago

    MS documentation states you can use the same host for Office 2010 and Windows 7/Vista

  3. Hans Romers 12 years ago

    Also just a question: I install Office 2010 on a laptop. After installing the software the laptop get it’s license from the KMS host. Now the laptop and it’s owner goes on a business trip for 200 days. VPN is not available. What will happen after 180 days? What will the user see? Will the user be able to use office 2010 untill he is back after 200 days?

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