KMS can activate both physical computers and virtual machines (VMs) To qualify for KMS activation, a network must have a minimum number of qualifying computers, called the activation threshold. KMS hosts activate clients only after meeting this threshold. To ensure that the activation threshold is met, a KMS host counts the number of computers requesting activation on the network.
The Windows Server operating systems (starting with Windows Server 2008) and Windows client operating systems (starting with Windows Vista) are activated after meeting different thresholds . The Windows Server activation threshold is 5 computers, and the Windows client activation threshold is 25 computers . The threshold includes Windows client and server operating systems running on physical computers or VMs .
A KMS host responds to each valid activation request from a KMS client with the count of how many computers have contacted the KMS host for activation. Clients that receive a count below their activation threshold are not activated. For example, if the first two computers that contact the KMS host are running Windows 7, the first receives an activation count of 1, and the second receives an activation count of 2. If the next computer is a Windows 7 VM, it receives an activation count of 3, and so on. None of these computers is activated because computers running Windows 7 must receive an activation count greater than or equal to 25 to be activated. KMS clients in the grace state that are not activated because the activation count is too low will connect to the KMS host every two hours to get the current activation count and will be activated when the threshold is met .
If the next computer that contacts the KMS host is running Windows Server 2008 R2, it receives an activation count of 4, because activation counts are a combination of computers running Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. If a computer running Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 receives an activation count that is greater than or equal to 5, it is activated. If a computer running Windows 7 receives an activation count greater than or equal to 25, it is activated.
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