Volume licensing customers for Microsoft Office 2010 requires KMS or MAK for Activation

Volume licensing customers for Microsoft Office 2010 suites and applications who install volume editions of Office client software will require activation, even with a volume license key (VLK). The change to Office 2010 is closely resembled the change made starting from Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 and continue in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, where all volume edition of operating system has to be activated.

How do I activate volume editions of Office 2010 client?

There are two models available for activating volume editions of Office 2010 client. The default method is KMS, which is a local activation service. A KMS host needs to be set up, and that’s the only computer that activates with Microsoft. The other is Multiple Activation Key (MAK), which is similar to the retail activation method: a key needs to be entered, and the computer will need to connect to Microsoft to activate.

Thing set to change starting from Office 2010, according to Microsoft On the Issues, with introduction of Software Protection Platform (SPP), which first found in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 operating system. As a result, all Office 2010 license acquired through volume licensing channel has to be activated, via KMS host (Key Management Server) for local activation of more than 25 licenses, or MAK product key (Multiple Activation Key).

Microsoft Office 2010 Engineering blog also provides more insight into volume activation of Office 2010. Activation technologies for both Windows and Office 2010 is now almost similar. The same Key Management Service (KMS) host can be configured to activate Office 2010 clients as well as Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, with the following items to take note on:

  • KMS hosts configured to activate Office should be installed on Windows Server 2003, volume editions of Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2.
  • If you want your KMS host to activate multiple products (e.g. Office 2010 and Windows 7), you will have to install the Windows KMS host key in addition to the Office KMS host key and activate both of them.
  • Office KMS clients are activated when five or more computers with Office attempt activation with the KMS host. For Windows client operating systems (Windows Vista and Windows 7), activation occurs after 25 or more computers with Windows client request activation.

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