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Article ID: 929826 - Last Review: May 9, 2014 - Revision: 14.1

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Symptoms

When you try to activate Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008, you receive an error message that resembles the following:
Activation Error: Code 0x8007232b
DNS Name does not exist
When you try to activate Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows Server 2012, you receive an error message that resembles one of the following messages:

Error message 1
Windows could not be activated.
Key management services (KMS) host could not be located in domain name system (DNS), please have your system adminstrator verify that a KMS is published correctly in DNS.
Error: 0x8007232b
Description:
DNS name does not exist.
Error message 2
Error: 0x8007007B
"The file name, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect”
This issue may occur if the following conditions are true:
  • You use volume-licensed media to install one of the following operating systems:
    • Windows 8
    • Windows 7
    • Windows Vista Enterprise
    • Windows Vista Business
    • Windows Server 2012
    • Windows Server 2008
    • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • The activation wizard cannot connect to a Key Management Service (KMS) host computer.
If you use MSDN, TechNet, or MAPs, you likely have volume-licensed media, and you were likely given a Multiple Activation Key (MAK).

Resolution

To resolve this issue, use one or more of the following methods, as appropriate for your situation.

Method 1: Use a Multiple Activation Key instead of KMS activation

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If KMS activation will not be used, and if there is no KMS server, the product key should be changed to an MAK. For Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), or for TechNet, the stock-keeping units (SKUs) that are listed below the media are usually volume licensed-media, and the product key that is supplied is an MAK key.

Change the product key to an MAK. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start
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    the Start button
    , click All Programs, click Accessories, and then right-click Command Prompt.
  2. Click Run as administrator.

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    User Access Control permission
    If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press Enter:
    slmgr -ipk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
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    Note In this command, the placeholder xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx represents your MAK product key.
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Method 2: Configure a KMS host server for the clients to activate against

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KMS activation requires that a KMS host server be configured for the clients to activate against. If there are no KMS hosts servers configured in your environment, install and activate a KMS host server by using an appropriate KMS host server key. After you configure a computer on the network to host the KMS software, publish the Domain Name System (DNS) settings. For an overview of the KMS hosts server configuration process, go to
Set Up a KMS Host on a Windows Server 2008 R2 Machine video. (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/ff716620)


For more information about how to set up a KMS server and about how to publish the DNS settings, go to the following Microsoft websites:
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Method 3: The client cannot locate a KMS host on the network for activation

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If your network has a KMS host computer set up, and if the client cannot locate a KMS host on the network for activation, follow these steps:
  1. Verify that the computer that has the KMS host installed and that is activated by using a KMS key is registered in DNS. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start
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      the Start button
      , click All Programs, click Accessories, and then right-click Command Prompt.
    2. Click Run as administrator.

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      User Access Control permission
      If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
    3. At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER: nslookup -type=all _vlmcs._tcp>kms.txt
    4. Open the KMS.txt file that is generated by the command. This file should contain one or more entries that resemble the following entry:
      _vlmcs._tcp.contoso.com                            SRV service location:
                        priority       = 0
                        weight         = 0
                        port           = 1688
                        svr hostname   = kms-server.contoso.com
      
    5. If these "_vlmcs" entries are present, and if they contain the expected KMS host names, go to the "Method 4" section.
  2. By default, a KMS host server dynamically registers a DNS SRV record one time every 24 hours. Check the registry to determine whether the KMS host server is registering with DNS. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start, type regedit, and then press Enter.
    2. Locate and then click the following key in the registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SL
    3. If the DisableDnsPublishing subkey is present and has a value of 1, the KMS service does not register in DNS. If the DisableDnsPublishing subkey is missing, create a new DWORD value named DisableDnsPublishing. If dynamic registration is acceptable, change the subkey value to 0. To do this, right-click DisableDnsPublishing, click Modify, type 0 in the Value data box, and then click OK.

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    Note By default, this registry key has an undefined value that results in the dynamic registration every 24 hours.
If the DNS Server service does not support dynamic updates, or if dynamic updates are not occurring, the "VLMCS._TCP, SRV" record may be manually registered. To manually create a KMS SRV record in a Microsoft DNS server, follow these steps:
  1. On the DNS server, open DNS Manager. To open DNS Manager, click Start, click Administrative Tools, and then click DNS.
  2. Click the DNS server where you have to create the SRV resource record.
  3. In the console tree, expand Forward Lookup Zones, right-click the domain, and then click Other New Records.
  4. Scroll down the list, click Service Location (SRV), and then click Create Record.
  5. Type the following information:
    • Service: _VLMCS
    • Protocol: _TCP
    • Port number: 1688
    • Host offering the service: <FQDN_of_KMS_Host>
  6. When you are finished, click OK, and then click Done.
To manually create SRV records in a BIND 9.x Compliant DNS server include the following information when you create the record.

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Note If your organization uses a non-Microsoft DNS server, you can create the needed SRV records as long as the DNS server is BIND 9.x compliant.
  • Name=_vlmcs._TCP
  • Type=SRV
  • Priority = 0
  • Weight = 0
  • Port = 1688
  • Hostname = <FQDN or A-Name of the KMS host>
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Note The Priority and Weight fields are not used by KMS and are ignored by the KMS client. However, they must be included in the zone file.

To configure a BIND 9.x DNS server to support KMS auto-publishing, configure the BIND server to enable resource record updates from KMS hosts. For example, add the following line to the zone definition in Named.conf or in Named.conf.local:
allow-update { any; };
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Method 4: Manually assign a KMS server

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By default, the KMS clients use the automatic discovery feature and query DNS for a list of servers that have published the _VLMCS record within the membership zone of the client. DNS returns the list of KMS hosts in a random order. The client picks a KMS host and tries to establish a session on it. If this attempt works, the client caches the server and tries to use it for the next renewal attempt. If the session setup fails, the client picks another server randomly. We highly recommend that you use the automatic discovery feature. However, you can manually assign a KMS server. To do this, open an elevated command prompt on the KMS client. To open an elevated command prompt, click Start
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the Start button
, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.
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User Access Control permission
If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Use the following commands from an elevated command prompt:
  • To assign a KMS host by using the FQDN of the host, type the following command:
    cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -skms <KMS_FQDN>:<port>
  • To assign a KMS host by using the version 4 IP address of the host, type the following command:
    cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -skms <IPv4Address><:port>
  • To assign a KMS host by using the version 6 IP address of the host, type the following command:
    cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -skms <IPv6Address><:port>
  • To assign a KMS host by using the NETBIOS name of the host, type the following command:
    cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -skms <NetbiosName><:port>
  • To revert to automatic discovery on a KMS client, type the following command:
    cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs –ckms
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Method 5: The client cannot resolve the DNS name of the KMS server or cannot connect to the KMS server

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If the previous methods have not resolved the issue, the problem may lay in the ability of the client to resolve or connect to the KMS server. If the problem is the ability of the client to resolve the DNS name of the KMS server or to connect to the KMS server, follow these steps:
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Note The following steps are to be performed on a KMS client that has encountered the error mentioned in the title unless otherwise stated:
  1. At a command prompt, type the following command, and then press Enter:
    IPCONFIG /all
  2. From the command results, note the assigned IP address, the DNS server address, and the default gateway address.
  3. Verify basic IP connectivity to the DNS server by using the ping command. To do this, run the following command.
    ping <DNS_Server_IP_address>
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    Note If this command does not ping the server, this issue must be resolved first.

    For more information about how to troubleshoot TCP/IP issues if you cannot ping the DNS server, see the Microsoft TechNet topic Troubleshooting TCP/IP.
  4. Verify that the search list of the primary DNS suffix contains the DNS domain suffix that the KMS host registered.

    For the computers that have joined the domain, the DNS automatic discovery of KMS requires that the DNS zone contains the SRV resource record for the KMS host. This DNS zone is the DNS zone that corresponds to either the primary DNS suffix of the computer or to the domain of the Active Directory DNS.

    For workgroup computers, the DNS automatic discovery of KMS requires that the DNS zone contains the SRV resource record for the KMS host. This DNS zone is the DNS zone that corresponds to either the primary DNS suffix of the computer or to the DNS domain name that is assigned by the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). This domain name is defined by the option that has the code value of 15 as defined in Request for Comments (RFC) 2132.
  5. Verify that the KMS host SRV records are registered in DNS. At an elevated command prompt , type the following command, and then press Enter:
    nslookup -type=all _vlmcs._tcp>kms.txt
  6. Open the Kms.txt file that was generated by this command. This file should contain one or more entries that resemble the following:
    _vlmcs._tcp.contoso.com                            SRV service location:
                      priority       = 0
                      weight         = 0
                      port           = 1688
                      svr hostname   = kms-server.contoso.com
    
    Verify the IP address, host name, and port of the KMS host.

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    Note If the nslookup command finds the KMS host, it does not mean that the DNS client can find the KMS host. If the nslookup command finds the KMS host, and if you still cannot activate the KMS host server, check the other settings such as the primary DNS suffix and the search list of the DNS suffix.

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    Note The SRV records are registered in the DNS zone that corresponds to the KMS host domain membership. For example, assume that a KMS host joins the contoso.com domain. In this scenario, the KMS host registers its VLMCS._TCP SRV record under the contoso.com DNS zone. Therefore, the VLMCS._TCP.CONTOSO.COM record is created. If the clients are configured to use a different DNS zone, automatically publish KMS in multiple DNS domains. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Log on to a KMS host.
    2. Open an elevated command prompt. To do this, click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

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      User Account Control permission
      If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
    3. At the command prompt, type Regedit.exe, and then press ENTER.
    4. Locate and then click the following registry key:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SL
    5. In the tree pane, click SL. Right-click a blank area in the details pane, point to New, and then click Multi-String Value.
    6. Type DnsDomainPublishList as the name for the new value, and then press ENTER.
    7. Right-click the new DnsDomainPublishList value, and then click Modify.
    8. In the Edit Multi-String dialog box, type each DNS domain suffix that is published by KMS on a separate line, and then click OK.

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      Note For Windows 7 and for Windows Server 2008 R2, the format for DnsDomainPublishList is different.

      For more information, see the Volume Activation Technical Reference Guide
    9. Restart the Software Licensing service by using the Service administrative tool. This operation creates the SRV records.
  7. Verify that the host name that is returned in the last step can be resolved by using a typical method on the KMS client. When the name is resolved, also verify that the IP address that is returned is accurate. If either of these verifications fails, investigate this DNS client resolver issue.
  8. If we try to use the KMS automatic discovery feature, run the following command from an elevated command prompt to clear any previously cached KMS host names:
    cscript C:\Windows\System32\slmgr.vbs –ckms
  9. If you believe that you have an SRV record issue, you can troubleshoot the issue by using one of the commands that are documented in the "Method 4" section to statically specify a KMS host. The following commands can be used to determine whether this is a name resolution issue or a SRV record issue. If neither of these commands resolves the issue, you may be encountering a blocked port, or an inaccessible host that is discussed in the next step.

    First run the following commands:
    cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -skms <KMS_FQDN>:<port>
    cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs –ato
    If these commands resolve the issue, the issue is a SRV record issue and requires you to troubleshoot the SRV record.

    If these commands do not resolve the issue, run the following commands:
    cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -skms <IP Address>:<port>
    cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs –ato
    If these commands resolve the issue, the issue is most likely a name resolution issue.
  10. The 1688 TCP port is used for the activation communication between the KMS client and the KMS host. If the communication seems to be blocked, check the firewall configurations or anything else that may block the 1688 TCP port.
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More information

When you use volume-licensed media to install Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Business, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2008, the installation process uses a generic product key. When you try to activate Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Business, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2008, the activation wizard uses DNS to locate a Windows 8-based, Windows 7-based, Windows Vista-based, Windows Server 2012-based, or Windows Server 2008-based computer that is running the KMS software. When the wizard queries DNS and does not find the DNS entry for the KMS host computer, the wizard reports the error message. If you have a KMS host computer setup, the correct DNS entries are not seen by the client computer. If you do not have a KMS host computer setup, you must either set up a KMS host computer or switch to a MAK product key method to activate your volume license installation.

Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and Microsoft TechNet supply volume-licensed media for Windows Server 2008 stock-keeping units (SKUs), for Windows Server 2008 R2 SKUs, for Windows Server 2012 SKUs, for Windows Vista Enterprise SKUs, for Windows 8 Enterprise SKUs, and for Windows 7 Enterprise SKUs. The volume-licensed media will not prompt for a product key during installation. If you do not change the product key to the MSDN key, you receive the error message when you try to activate the operating system. If you use MSDN or TechNet media, you must change the product key to the MSDN product key. Use the "Method 1" subsection of the "Resolution" section to change the product key.

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Note The MSDN or TechNet product key for Windows Server 2012, for Windows Server 2008, for Windows Server 2008 R2, for Windows Vista Enterprise, for Windows 8 Enterprise, or for Windows 7 Enterprise is the MAK product key.

References

For more information about Volume Activation, see Microsoft Knowledge Base article 929712: Volume Activation information for Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7

For more information about volume licensing, go to the Microsoft Volume Licensing website.

For more information about how to activate copies of Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 that were installed by using volume-licensed media, go to the Product Activation and Key Information webpage.

Applies to
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows 8 Enterprise N
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2012 Foundation
  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 Standard
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Enterprise N
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard without Hyper-V
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise without Hyper-V
Keywords: 
kbsurveynew kbvolumelicensing kbactivation kbtshoot kberrmsg kbprb kbconsumer kbquadranttechsupp KB929826
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